1. Insist on Comfort
Sure, you want your shoes to look great. But they also need to fit you just right. You’ll feel better in them and your feel will be happier when they do. When you’re shoe shopping and fall for a gorgeous but crazy-making pair, walk away, no matter how much you like the style. Don’t count on them “breaking in.”
2. Take the Wet Footprint Test
This simple test will help you pick the best shoes for you. Get your foot a little bit wet. Stand on a paper bag and then step off. Look at the image your foot left behind. If you see half of your arch, you have a normal foot or a neutral arch. If you see almost your entire foot, you have a flat foot. If you see just a thin line connecting the ball of your foot to your heel, you have high arches. Remember your type when you choose your shoes.
3. Choose the Proper Shoe for High Arches
Shoes with laces, buckles, or straps are best for this type of foot. Look for extra cushioning and a soft platform. Shoes with good arch support and a slightly raised heel can help keep your feet in fine form.
4. For Flat Feet Get the Right Insert
See a foot doctor to set you up with custom inserts for your shoes. They can be pricey, but they may really help. “They’re like eyeglasses for your feet,” Reid says.
5. There’s a Shoe for That, So Wear It
Do you run or play a specific sport three or more times a week? Treat your feet to a shoe made just for that activity. Good running shoes, for example, can help prevent heel pain, stress fractures, and other foot problems that runners sometimes get. Replace your sports shoes when they start to wear down.
6. Kick the High Heel Habit
“A 5-inch spike heel isn’t going to do anybody any good,” Bowman says. “It forces all the weight to the front of the foot and will cause pain.” High heels also put you on the fast track to bunions, corns, and other problems. If you love heels, try a shorter one. A two-inch heel is better than a four-inch heel. Don’t wear them every day, and don’t wear them when you will be on your feet for a long time. Choose chunky heels instead of skinny ones if you have flat feet.
7. Forgo Flip-Flops
Flip-flops are a good choice to protect your feet in locker room showers, pool areas, and the hot sand at the beach. But they can cause big problems, like heel pain, tendinitis, and stress fractures, especially if you have flat feet. Don’t wear flip-flops on a long-distance walk, for sports, or for yard work. They don’t give you enough shock absorption, arch support, or protection. Does the thong between your toes cause irritation? That can lead to blisters and infections. When they wear out, replace them.
8. Ease the Stress
Extra weight can lead to muscle fatigue as well as heel, arch, and muscle pain. Extra pounds can change your foot structure. You can develop spurs — bumps that grow on your foot bones — which can be painful. And they can make your feet and ankles swell.
9. Slip on a Shoe
Don’t go barefoot. It puts a strain on your foot and can lead to plantar warts and athlete’s foot. “If you’re walking in bare feet, you’re exposed to the elements. You can cut the skin on your feet,” Reid says.
10. Don’t Cut Corners
Do you know the best way to trim your toenails? Cut them straight across. If you clip them in the corners, that will lead to an ingrown nail, which becomes extremely painful over time. Like for any other part of your body, see your doctor if you have pain or notice anything unusual. With that kind of care, your feet will flourish.