While shopping for new shoes can be fun, it’s sometimes hard to find pairs that are both stylish and comfortable. Those heels or sandals may look cool, but how are they going to make your feet feel once you’re out walking?
“Finding the best shoe for you individually can be difficult and depends on many factors, including your foot type, occupation and daily activities,” he says.
Dr. Jones shares these do’s and don’ts for finding the right shoes for your feet.
DO: Test them out
When trying shoes on at the store, it may be hard to tell how they will feel once you’re out hiking, running or just standing. Luckily, there are some ways to test your level of comfort. Try the shoes on and take a couple of laps around the store. See how they fit and take note of how they make your toes feel.
DON’T: Wait too long for shoes to break in
Avoid purchasing shoes that hurt your feet from the start. While some shoes take time to break in, that discomfort should not last long.
“Shoe break-in should take about two weeks under normal circumstances. If pain continues, a new shoe may be necessary,” says Dr. Jones.
DO: Know when to see your doctor
If you experience extreme pain on a regular basis, it may be more than a matter of just changing your footwear. If you notice any deformities on your feet or you start to lose foot function, contact your doctor immediately.
“If there are no signs of foot deformity, I recommend RICE therapy, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation,” says Dr. Jones. “If symptoms do not improve in 10 to 14 days, you should contact your primary care physician.”
DON’T: Wear shoes that lack support
When it comes to shoes that cause the most pain, it can depend on your specific foot type. However, Dr. Jones says flip-flops, sandals, ballet flats and flimsy shoes in general tend to be the worst culprits.
This may sound like bad news in always-sunny San Diego, but there is hope: the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) recommends wearing cushioned inserts on your flip flops for shock absorption and selecting sandals made of natural materials, such as leather, to prevent irritation.
“Try to avoid prolonged use of flip-flops. When you do buy them, choose models and brands that have a bit of support,” says Dr. Jones.
Although there are ways to minimize discomfort from sandals and flips-flops, it’s best to stick to shoes that are always comfortable and supportive. According to the APMA, you should look for pairs that are stiff in the middle, but bend at the ball of the foot. The best shoes support your foot from front to back.
They may not be right for every occasion, but Dr. Jones says that in general, supportive, high-end running shoes are usually the best choice.