Custom Foot Clinic & Orthotic Centre

Guelph & Milton

How to Buy Shoes That are Good for Your Feet

  • How do I know if a shoe fits?
  • What type of shoe do I buy for work?
  • What type of shoes will help me with my running
  • What kind of shoe is best for me?
  • What are the best shoes on the market right now?
  • Do I have to always buy expensive shoes or are cheap ones ok?

The answer to these questions depends on many factors. Your health, activities, occupation and many other considerations go into determining what is the best shoe for you. In short, there is no easy answer.

With all of those bright colours, flashy signs, and promises of “the best shoe ever” it can be hard to determine exactly what you need. The truth is the answer is different for every person.

A little bit of knowledge goes a long way. Having the right information makes trying and buying shoes easier. The reward is comfortable and well-fitted shoes that will last.

As a foot specialist, I can help you determine what type of shoe is right for you.

Proper Footwear Can Reduce Foot Problems

From ancient Egypt, medieval times and down through the centuries, footwear has been designed to meet humankind’s real and perceived needs such as protection, support, comfort, sturdiness and style.

Today, there are almost as many different kinds of footwear as there are pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. An almost endless variety of shoe styles and materials make buying a pair of shoes a significant dilemma. You can reduce this dilemma if you concentrate on the health of your feet. A well made, properly fitting shoe will help a great deal in the reduction of foot problems.

Our daily routine causes a great deal of pressure on our feet. An average day of walking brings a force equal to several hundred tons to bear on your feet. Your feet are more susceptible to more injury than any other part of your body. So this is why we need to protect them with proper footwear.

Everyone, including men, women, children, athletes and people in every profession, for example, police officers, firefighters, postal workers and construction workers have different shoe requirements, and such requirements will vary considerably across a wide range of activities.

Women's Shoes

Fashion footwear inflicts a great deal of punishment on women’s feet. Chiropodists believe heels of more than two inches are orthopedically unsound. Such footwear contributes to medical, postural and safety problems.

Women can lessen these negative effects by wearing good quality sneakers or flats for part or all of the day. They can also vary heel height. There are comfortable shoes for work and social activities.

The amount of activity you do also has a bearing on the considerations. Wearing the right shoe for a particular activity is very important.
Perhaps the best shoe for women, from an orthopedic viewpoint, is a walking shoe with laces – not a slip-on. The shoe should have a wide heel with a rigid and padded heel counter. The heel should be no more than a half or three-quarters of an inch in height.

Problem with High Heels Diagram

Men's Shoes

Men (and women), should buy shoes for work, leisure, and special activities — match the shoe to the activity, in other words.

Male (and female) office workers should have cushioned-sole shoes which give good support.

There is no question about the need for foot protection for those who work in heavy industry. Safety shoes and boots that are waterproof or water-resistant, with insulated steel toes and soles, help prevent and/or reduce the severity of foot injury.

Children's Shoes

When a child begins to walk, shoes generally are not necessary.  Allowing an infant to maneuver indoors without shoes helps the foot grow normally.  It also develops  muscle,  and strength and dexterity in the toes.

 As children grow more active, and their feet develop, the need for shoes becomes apparent. It becomes necessary to change shoe sizes at a pace which frequently surprises parents. Proper fitting shoes allow room for growth. Though fit is the most important consideration, function is also pertinent. For youngsters who have reached the stage of walking unassisted, footwear with crepe or rubber soles is best.  Dressier thin soled shoes do little to cushion the impact of growing feet.

Shoes for Athletics

Different sports activities call for specific footwear to protect feet and ankles. Sports-specific athletic shoes are a wise investment for serious athletes, though perhaps a less critical consideration for the weekend or occasional athlete. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to use the correct shoe for each sport.

Athletic footwear should be fitted to hold the foot in the position that’s most natural to the movement involved.

For example, a running shoe is built to accommodate the impact on the forefoot, while a tennis shoe is made to give relatively more support to the ankles, and permit sudden stops and turns. Because of the many intricate maneuvers involved in such events and the added strain they put on the feet, athletic shoes ought to be fitted for comfort and support.

It is widely accepted that a regular regimen of walking is physically rewarding. Here again, footwear with proper support is most important. Choose a good quality, lightweight walking shoe with breathable upper materials, such as leather or nylon mesh. The heel counter should be firm and the heel positioned close to the ground for walking stability. The front or forefoot area should have flexibility, and plenty of room for the toes to move around.  

You should consider cushioned soles for resilience on hard surfaces and tread for traction on slippery surfaces.

Top 8 Tips for Buying Shoes That are Good for Your Feet

  1. Have your feet measured while you are standing.
  2. Always buy for the larger foot; feet are seldom precisely the same size.
  3. Don’t buy shoes that need a break-in period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately.
  4. Don’t rely on the size of your last pair of shoes. Your feet get larger, and shoe sizes vary.
  5. Shop for shoes later in the day; feet tend to swell during the day, and it is best to be fitted when they are at their largest.
  6. Be sure that shoes fit well – front, back and sides – to distribute weight. Be sure the widest part of your foot corresponds to the widest part of the shoe.
  7. Select a shoe with a leather upper, stiff heel counter, appropriate cushioning and flexibility at the ball of the foot.
  8. Buy shoes that don’t pinch your toes, either at the tips or across the toe box.

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Trina Scarrow, BSc, DCh - Chiropodist & Foot Specialist
Trina Scarrow, BSc, DCh - Chiropodist & Foot Specialist

I am a registered chiropodist and foot care specialist and have been helping patients for over 20 years.

Are you confused about whether you should choose a chiropodist vs. podiatrist? There are 600 registered chiropodists in Ontario and only 60 podiatrists. The College of Chiropodists of Ontario stopped using the name podiatrist in Ontario in 1993, over 26 years ago — but the name is still used in other provinces in Canada, also USA and UK.

Chiropodists today must complete 7 years of post-secondary education. We do complete case management of foot problems, assessing and treating the entire foot and its complications.


Chiropodist Trina Scarrow Treating Feet

Chiropodist Trina Scarrow, BSc, DCh treating a patient with foot pain — for proper foot functioning and overall well-being.

Let's Connect

Are you ready to get your feet taken care of by an experienced foot care specialist and a professional chiropodist? I have two locations in Guelph and Milton.

I provide full biomechanical exams and gait analysis — I will be able to help address your foot discomfort by foot care treatment, custom orthotics and orthopaedic shoes, surgery, medication, laser or physical therapies.

Chiropodists and podiatrists are the only regulated health professionals in Ontario who can legally prescribe orthotics. 

I want to help get your feet functioning better so you can feel better.