Adults Foot Health and Buying Tips

The basics

Making sure your feet don’t ever let you down begins with treating them to the right shoes; shoes that are the best possible fit, no matter what the type or style.

Good things to remember are:

  • Your feet tend to swell a little during the day, so bear this in mind if trying on shoes in the afternoon
  • Try on new shoes wearing socks, stockings or tights similar to those you’ll be wearing with them
  • Even new shoes should feel comfortable straight away. If they feel like they need breaking in they’re not the shoes for you
  • If you are unsure of your shoe size ask to be measured. And remember, that your width fitting is just as important as your shoe size

What to look for

When setting out on a shoe shopping expedition, you’ll typically be spoilt for choice. But there are certain things to look out for when you’re trying and buying new shoes.

The upper

The main part of the shoe covering the top of the foot. Ideally, it should be made from a natural material, e.g. leather, which will allow your skin to breathe and mould itself to fit the unique features of your foot.

The fastenings

These hold the foot in the shoe and ideally should be either laces or straps (which could be elasticated or fasten with buckles or rip-tape).

The heel

This takes a large proportion of your weight and for maximum comfort should have a broad, supportive base. For women especially, the height is often dictated by fashion, not by the needs of the foot. But for all-day wear the height should ideally be no more than 4cm.

The heel counter

This is the inside part of the shoe that grasps your heel at the sides and back, preventing it from sliding up and down while walking. It should complement the shape of your own heel. This part softens with wear, losing shape and support with time.

The lining

Found inside the shoe. This should be smooth and without seams or obtrusive stitching.

The sock

The material inside the shoe that your foot sits on. Also known as the insole, look for a soft, smooth sock from breathable material. Some socks include cushioned areas for extra comfort.

The midsole

The layer above the outsole (and underneath the sock). Look for lightweight cushioning which will help absorb the shock when you walk on hard surfaces.

The outsole

The bottom of the shoe. This should be flat, except for a gentle slope upwards under the toes, and made from a flexible, durable material.

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