Believe it or not, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go shoe-shopping. Board-certified podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center says that if you want to give your feet the best all-around experience, you’ve got to follow some specific rules when shopping for shoes.

Here are the most common mistakes you want to avoid while searching for that perfect shoe or boot:

  1. Shopping at the wrong time. Lunch hour might be convenient, but you’re better off waiting until after work to shop for shoes. That’s because when you’re active all day, your feet tend to swell. Trying on shoes when feet are at their largest ensures that they’ll be comfortable all day.
  2. Skipping the trying-on part. You may think you know exactly what size to buy. But even within brands that you know, sizes may vary. Certain styles may not work for your foot shape. Shoes that are too tight can cause blisters. Don’t be tempted to grab a box off of the shelf and head to the register. Shoes that are too big can cause you to fall and get an ankle sprain. Try before you buy.
  3. Counting on a break-in period. If you try on a shoe and it isn’t comfortable right away, resist the temptation to tell yourself that all will be fine. They probably won’t stretch. The pinching probably won’t go away.
  4. Choosing fashion over function. A shoe may look fantastic. It’s exactly the right shade of blue! Well, if it’s got a narrow box that cramps your toes, wicked high heels that put your full weight on the balls of your foot, or offers no arch support whatsoever, put it back on the shelf.
  5. Forgetting that feet change over time. Our feet don’t remain the same size throughout our adult life. They can get bigger or wider. Have your feet measured each time you shop to make sure you’re getting the correct size.

Ill-fitting shoes are famous for causing or aggravating foot problems like toe deformitiesbunionscorns, and blisters. Diabetics have special shoe needs and should take extra care to get an excellent fit. For advice about shoes, or for treatment of foot pain (whether caused by shoes or not), contact our foot doctor, Dr. Wilhelm, for an appointment or call our office in Centreville, Virginia at (703) 996-3000.

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