DEAR DOCTOR K: You've often advised readers to buy supportive shoes that fit properly. Can you be more specific about what to look for in a good shoe?
DEAR READER: Buying the right shoe is an investment in your foot health. But how do you identify the “right” shoe? The bottom line is how you feel when you put them on.
For women, the best shoes are low-heeled but not flat, with a wide, padded heel, a wide toe box and a sole that provides sufficient cushioning. In general, the higher the heel, the worse for the foot.
Men tend to feel most comfortable in athletic shoes, sturdy oxfords, wingtips, loafers or low-heeled boots. Look for sturdy sole construction that provides support and cushions against shock.
Buy shoes made from breathable materials that keep feet dry and less susceptible to foot fungus.
Here are some useful tips when you shop for shoes:
Wait until the afternoon to shop. Your feet naturally expand during the day.
Wear the same type of socks that you intend to wear with the shoes.
Ask the salesperson to measure both of your feet. Get measured every time you buy new shoes, because feet change with age. If one foot is larger or wider than the other, buy a size that fits the larger foot. (If you can afford it, buy two pairs of shoes of different sizes, and use the proper size for each foot.)
Stand in the shoes. Make sure you have at least a quarter- to a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Wiggle your toes to make sure there's enough room.
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