7 Steps to Better-Fitting Shoes

  • author name Christopher Dupkanick, DPT, OCS
Jogger tying shoes

You want to put your best foot forward, and while style is certainly a consideration when buying shoes, the right fit matters more. Shoes that fit well help prevent pain and a variety of health issues.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, shoes that are too tight, too loose, or lack enough support can lead to stress on the feet, ankles, lower leg, hip, and spine, resulting in pain and injuries. Fortunately, many of these problems can be prevented.

Follow These 7 Steps When Purchasing Your Next Pair of Shoes

  • Never assume you’ll take the same size as your previous shoe, even if it’s the same type or model.
  • Spend adequate time when shopping for shoes. You may not find the right shoe in the first store you visit.
  • Try on both shoes. First, try on the size you think would fit best, and then walk on a hard floor. Even if that size feels fine, try on a half-size larger. If that one feels the same or even better, try on a half-size larger. Many people don’t realize that a larger shoe may actually feel or fit better.
  • Continue trying on larger half-sizes until you find the shoes that are obviously too large. Then go back to the previous half-size. More often, that’s the pair that best matches your feet. There should be at least a half-inch between your longest toe and the front of the shoe for most shoes.
  • Try different widths, if available, to get the best fit.
  • Use comfort as the main criteria. The best shoes are the ones that feel good right away.
  • Fit the larger foot if the difference between your feet is less than a half-size. If the difference between your feet is more than a half-size, consider wearing two different-size shoes. How you accomplish this is up to you.

Having applied these guidelines in my last few shoes purchases, I found I was wearing ill-fitting shoes by almost a half-size (too small).

So, the next time you’re searching for a new shoe, regardless of the function the shoe will play in your footwear collection, applying these principles may help you find a better-fitting shoe and avoid unwanted aches and pains and a possible visit to the doctor.

author name

Christopher Dupkanick, DPT, OCS

Christopher Dupkanick, DPT, OCS, is a physical therapist at Lancaster General Health Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, Chris received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at SUNY Upstate Medical University. He enjoys working with runners and athletes, and is an avid endurance athlete.

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