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Shopping For Shoes No Small Feat

Proper footwear essential for foot health

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

SUNDAY, Aug. 24, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Pity your poor feet.

During an average day of walking, you subject them to a force equal to several tons. They're also more subject to injury than any other part of your body.

That's why well-made and properly fitted shoes are so important. Looking good isn't enough. Your shoes need to offer your feet comfort, support and protection, too.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has some advice about proper footwear. First, remember that different activities require different shoes.

If you work in an office, you should have three to five pairs of business shoes, the APMA says. General oxfords and loafers are the best choices for male office workers while pumps and oxfords are best for women.

People who spend most of the work day on their feet need cushioned-sole shoes that provide good support.

Anyone working in industry, construction or other potentially hazardous areas needs safety shoes and boots. They should have steel toe caps, non-conducting soles, and be waterproof or water resistant.

When you're buying athletic shoes, buy footwear specifically designed for your sport or activity. And don't let athletic shoes get too worn out before you decide it's time to buy a new pair.

The APMA offers the following tips for buying shoes:

  • Have your feet measured while you're standing.
  • Try on both shoes and walk around the store.
  • Feet are seldom the same size. Buy the shoe size that fits the larger foot.
  • There is no such thing as a "break-in" period for shoes. Good shoes should be comfortable immediately.
  • You shouldn't go out to buy the size of your previous shoes. Your feet may be larger, and different shoes fit differently.
  • Shop for new shoes later in the day when your feet are swollen.
  • Shoes should fit well in the front, back and sides. The widest part of your foot should be in the widest part of the shoe.
  • Buy a shoe with a leather upper, stiff heel counter, appropriate cushioning, and flexibility at the ball of the foot.
  • Shoes shouldn't pinch your toes.
  • When trying on shoes, wear the same type of socks that you'll wear with the shoes.
  • If you have prescription orthotics, take them with you when shopping for shoes.

More information

Don't get caught flat-footed. There's much more information at the American Podiatric Medical Association.

SOURCE: American Podiatric Medical Association
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