Shoe shopping can be a painful experience, quite literally. Get it wrong and you end up with painful sores until they fit just right, or worse, never worn again.

Shoe size varies store to store, brand to brand. So although you have a good idea of what size you can wear, it can still be a bit of a guessing game. To help you find the best fit every time, we share 5 tips to help make shoe shopping a breeze.

Take a template of your foot

Before heading off to the shops, step onto a piece of paper and draw around your entire foot. When in store test the shoes against the paper before putting them on your feet. If they’re not wide or long enough, don’t even bother giving it a go.

Always allow about a ½ an inch between the top of your toes and the end of the shoe. It’ll save you a lot of time and potentially discomfort.

Never go shoe shopping in the mornings

shoe shopping

Your feet can swell throughout the day. So, going shoe shopping in the morning is less than ideal as it won’t give you a realistic expectation of fit. It is always better to go shoe shopping as late in the day as possible to give you the best idea of how the shoes fit you.

Additionally, always take socks that are as thick as you intend to wear with the shoes you’re buying.

Flexible shoe means comfort for you

An important aspect of the shoe is how flexible it is. If there is no movement, the chances are it’s not going to be the most comfortable shoe.

To test the flexibility, holding the heel and toe of the shoe attempt to twist it from side to side and up and down. You want some resistance as too much give and they’ll not give you the support you need.

Consider any heel padding in your analysis too. If there is no cushioning or groove for your Achilles tendon, or there’s simply no movement in the material, they’ll not serve you well.

Natural materials have more to give

Wherever possible always go for a shoe in suede, leather, or in fabrics that promote breathability. These materials are more likely to move with you, stretching slightly in time and are also less likely to cause blisters or long-term foot problems.

Additionally, you want soles that are made of rubber or leather for optimum comfort and support.

Adjusting for perfect fit

Without shoes being personally made, you’re unlikely to find a perfect fit. But there are ways to make sure the shoes you get give you the best fit possible and therefore comfort.

Break them in

If you plan on a lot of walking, standing or moving about, you want to make sure the shoes have moulded to your feet. You can do this by making sure you break them in. To break shoes in, all you need to do is wear them around the house in slightly thicker socks than you intend to wear.

Insoles and cushions

Additionally, kitting your shoes out with some appropriate insoles or cushions will help make a difference to fit and feel. Just make sure that the insoles you buy are not stretching them in a bad way (making them wider for example).

As a final note, don’t ever go down a size assuming they’ll stretch as this can cause all sorts of problems even if they only feel slightly tight. Likewise, you don’t want anything too large as they’ll only fall off your feet and no amount of cushioning or insoles is going to make it fit.

Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Leave us a comment in the box below.

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