When it comes to comfortable footwear, nothing beats the heat of summer better than a pair of sandals. Whether for fashion or function, sandals are a great option for keeping feet cool on hot days. However, not all sandals are equal. Some are only for fashion, and can leave feet tired and aching. Poorly designed or ill-fitting sandals often lead to painful blisters and soreness. The best sandals successfully combine function with style to keep feet protected, cushioned, and comfortable. They are sturdy and durable, yet are flexible enough to allow free movement of the foot.
With the number of choices available, shopping for comfortable sandals can at first seem a daunting task. Many sandals are for a specific type of activity and are available in a variety of materials and colors. Consider the seven tips listed below when shopping for comfortable sandals to find a pair that gives the right amount of protection without sacrificing style.
Tip 1: Wear the Right Sandals for the Activity
Most people head outdoors in warm weather for exercise and fun. Hiking, trips to the beach, picnics in the park, and weddings are just a few of the activities that are associated with warm, sunny days. For those who prefer to wear sandals over any other type of shoe, there is a sandal designed for just about every type of summertime activity.
There are many more styles of sandals available, but this overview of the most basic styles is a good starting point when searching for a comfortable pair based on an intended activity.
Tip 2: Get the Right Fit
When it comes to finding comfortable shoes, how well they fit is the deciding factor. The foot should be smaller than the sole of the sandal and should not hang over the front, sides, or back. Make sure the toe box is large enough to accommodate the widest part of the foot. Straps should be comfortably snug without pinching or rubbing on the foot, toes, or back of the heel. If sandals are too big, feet can slide around, causing blisters on the toes, the back of the heels, or even the bottom of the foot.
Tip 3: Choose Quality Materials
The most comfortable sandals consist of high quality materials. Leather, suede, or fabric straps let feet breathe and prevent blistering, while straps made from nylon webbing or polyurethane are great for water activities. The foot bed should have an absorbent, breathable fabric covering to reduce sweating and slipping. Top soles, mid soles, and out soles made from materials such as memory foam, ethylene-vinyl acetate, and durable rubbers last longer and give more protection and support.
Tip 4: Watch the Placement and Design of Straps
Poorly placed straps can cause irritation, blisters, and even corns. Sandals with back straps that hit just below the ankle provide the most comfortable, secure fit. Avoid straps that rub against the top of the foot, between the toes, or around the ankle. Straps lined with soft leather or suede prevent chafing. Watch for seams and other design elements that may rub or dig into feet and cause discomfort.
Tip 5: Look for Arch Support
Adequate arch support prevents muscle fatigue, cramps, and even back pain. Few sandals are ideal for all-day walking and most do not offer the necessary arch support for extended wear. Sandals with spongy, supportive mid soles cushion the foot and support the arch, keeping the wearer comfortable for a longer period of time.
Tip 6: Test for Flexibility
When it comes to flexibility, there is such a thing as too much. Every type of shoe needs to pass the same flexibility test. Place one hand inside the sandal and use the tips of the fingers to hold the ball of the sandal down on a table or other flat surface. Use the other hand to try to lift the toe tip of the shoe off the table. The sole should flex through the ball area and allow the toe to lift easily off the table. Additionally, the arch area should remain stiff and un flexed when the shoe is twisted. If the entire shoe twists and bends easily, it is unlikely to provide the support needed for comfortable extended wear.
Tip 7: Check for Sufficient Cushioning
For all-day comfort, a sandal should offer plenty of Fama for both the heel and ball of the foot. Look for sandals with mid soles made from a high-quality, dense foam. Press a finger into the foam where the heel and the ball of the foot rest. If there is too much give in these areas, or no give at all, the sandals may not provide sufficient cushioning.
When the weather starts to warm up, many people decide it is time to break out the sandals. Sandals offer a fun alternative to the heavy, protective shoes worn during the colder months of the year. Despite their open, light design, sandals still must be substantial enough to provide comfort and protection for the feet that are wearing them.
Shopping for sandals involves identifying the occasions or activities for which the sandals are worn and then matching the sandals to that activity. Sandals vary widely in construction and design, and many sandals are only for light, occasional wear. High-quality sandals offer the support and comfort necessary for all-day wear, and some are sturdy enough for hiking and other strenuous activities. By following the tips offered above, any shopper can quickly and easily find a pair of comfortable sandals to wear all summer long.
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