Miscellaneous Topics

Choosing the Right Shoes


Wearing suitable and comfortable athletic/ walking shoes helps protect against foot problems (e.g. blisters and corns). Good shoes should be relatively lightweight, and ensure good shock-absorption (when the foot hits the ground). Walking shoes are multiple and diverse to meet the various needs.

Choosing the right shoes:
Choosing the right shoes varies according to the person's needs, advantages of the shoes, and type of exercise. The good shoes are expected to:
  • Be lightweight and well-ventilated (breathable); 
  • Have stiff soles;
  • Have fixed soles to hold the feet firmly;
  • Be fairly flexible rather than rigid (and be easily bendable when bent by both hands);
  • Provide excellent support to the feet;
  • Be supported with a comfortable padding (arch support or footbed);
High-sole shoes are not necessarily good comfortable.

What to consider when buying a pair of shoes?
  • Foot type: 
    • Foot shape: The shapes and sizes of feet are multiple. Close attention should be paid to the shoe shape and size to avoid the foot problems that subsequently become painful.
    • Foot curves: The curves help distribute the body weight evenly on the feet while walking, and play an important role in adapting to the various surfaces while walking.
  • Shoe size: 
    • A footwear that are too tight or too loose may result in the development of blisters, ulcers or corns, as well as foot abnormalities (e.g. distortion or enlargement of the toe bones). Such abnormalities may occur as a result the shoes that are too tight to leave sufficient space for the toes.
  • Walking type: 
    • Walking types include regular walking, jogging, or walking in the jungle and mountainous areas.
  • Weather:
    • Dry weather: requires breathable shoes.
    • Rainy weather: requires waterproof shoes to keep the feet dry.
    • All weather conditions: require shoes that are waterproof (non-breathable) without warming the feet up in dry weather.

  • Foot-size can change with age. Foot-size grows larger during pregnancy.
  • Feet should be kept clean, by washing and drying them, especially between toes, to reduce the risk of growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • Trim your nails regularly.
  • Choose cotton socks; since they allow your feet to breathe.
  • Change socks on a daily basis.
  • Check the shoes before putting them on, to make sure that there are no pebbles, etc.
  • Dry your shoes after use, by placing them in the open air.
  • Keep your feet warm, and exercise to improve the blood circulation.
  • Seek medical attention if you feel persisting, abnormal pains.

Shoe parts:
  • Shoe upper: is usually made of leather, canvas or synthetic fabric. Shoes with an upper made of canvas are lighter and better ventilated.
  • Toebox: is the section of the footwear that surrounds the toes. Good shoes have a good toebox: providing a sufficient space for toes, and preventing pressure on them.
  • Footbed: supports the foot palm curves. It may be removable, so as to be removed for drying or washing every now and then.
  • Air-sole unit: reduces the impact of shocks when the foot hits the ground.
  • Outsole: The outermost layer of the sole of a footwear. Its designs and patterns can help resist slipping and maintain balance.
  • Heel counter: The part of the shoe that supports the heel, and determines the shoe size.

Guidelines to consider when buying a pair of shoes:
  • Put on a pair of exercise shocks when fitting the footwear.
  • Make sure to walk with the shoes before buying them; it's during walking that the feet become larger, and this should be taken into account when fitting shoes.
  • You may consider measuring your feet, to get a more accurate size. 
  • Walk with the new shoes on before buying them, to check how appropriate for the feet they are.
  • If one foot is larger than the other, get a pair of shoes with a size appropriate for the larger foot.
  • Fit both shoes to make sure they are good for walking. 
  • Make sure you are able to move your toes, by bending and moving the toes freely. A space of no less than half an inch or 1cm (almost the width of a finger) should separate between the big to and the inner end of the shoe, so as to protect the toes against pressure.
  • Make sure that the width of the footwear is appropriate, comfortable, and not too tight.
  • Make sure the heel height is max. 4cm.
  • Make sure that the shoe sole is appropriate and comfortable, and that the design of the outsole is slip-resistant.

Replacing shoes:
All shoes wear away, after all, even though they are still comfortable, and do not show many signs of atrophy. Nevertheless, they may not provide adequate support of shock absorption. Shoes should be replaced in the following cases:
  • If the outsole of the shoes wears away;
  • If the current pair of shoes has been used for 300-400 miles of running or walking; since it loses much of its ability to absorb shocks or resist slipping after this distance.

Tips to avoid blisters:
  • Keep your feet dry.
  • Make sure not to put shoes on without socks.
  • Choose the right shoes, and use them appropriately.

Tips for diabetics:
  • Examine your feet everyday (use a mirror to examine your foot palm).
  • Wash and dry your feet (especially between toes) everyday.
  • Be careful when trimming your nails.
  • Don't wake barefoot at home; your palm may be injured without taking notice.
  • Keep your socks and shoes on whenever possible.
  • Protect your feet against coldness and heat.
  • Avoid too tight shoes or socks.
  • Exercise to ensure blood flow to the feet.

Clinical Education General Department
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Last Update : 28 April 2020 04:00 PM
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