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Shoes, shoes, shoes!

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

If the shoe fits, wear it. Right?

Well, not really.

As a Podiatrist, a conversation I have with my patients, my friends and my family on an hourly basis is about footwear. I thought I would share a few insights.

The key take home here guys is that not all shoes will be right for your feet. Blah! Not what you wanted to hear; I know. Sometimes we so desperately want a certain pair of shoes to be comfortable or to fit us, even if it is the wrong size or shape. I have been there too, and my poor feet have been subject to some very questionable scenarios! So, it is I am afraid, a case by case (shoe by shoe) situation. Be kind to your feet, they take you where you need to go. You need them functioning as well as possible until the very end. 

Let us not be all gloomy here, but I deal a lot with the elderly and if your feet hurt, well, you are going to be grumpy. How long until you turn 90? 60 years, 40 years? So, that is how many more years you need to be on your feet. At least! Just have a look at the Queen, ah what woman. 95 years old, still going strong. I do wonder who her Podiatrist is. Anyway ... 

"Sometimes the biggest problem for feet is footwear. Sometimes the best medicine for feet is footwear!"

Get your footwear correct and it can change your life!

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.
~ Marilyn Monroe.


Top tips for footwear:


  • Always try shoes on.

Unfortunately, with this online world, I get a lot of people in the clinic who have bought shoes online and they have caused a lot of issues because they are not right for their feet. I then must be the bearer of bad news and tell them the shoes are no good :-( If you buy online, make sure you can return them. If you are in the shop, make sure you try them on and walk around. Get them checked by your Podiatrist if you are not sure.

Brand sizes and shapes will vary and just because you are one size in a certain shoe, it does not carry through all styles and brands.

Fit your shoes to your largest foot and try to buy shoes at the end of the day as this when your feet are at their biggest.


  • Match your shoe to your activity. This is VITAL.

Brands spend a lot of time, money, and research on ensuring footwear is made for exactly their activity to increase your efficiency and help reduce injuries. i.e., netball. Asics specifically made a shoe for this sport. To help with pivoting and to reduce lateral ankle sprains. They also make shoes larger in the southern hemisphere because we have bigger feet. Go figure.

Whilst I should not advocate for high heels - there is a time and a place. And a night out with the girls is it. (I will do a separate post on high heels).

If you need to wear heels for work, wear Podiatrist recommended heels or just wear the heels when you are at work but before and after, if you walk the dogs or to the train etc., wear specific athletic joggers or appropriate, supportive casual shoes. Limited your time in pointy heels. Your feet will thank you for it in the future. 

When it comes to athletic/ sports shoes – don’t just buy any ones because they are a nice colour. Again, there are aspects to the shoes which are built in for certain problems. For example, If you over pronate when running, you might feel benefit from a stability shoe. * a stability shoe has built in support features to help correct the over pronation. However, if you have a supinated foot posture, this type of shoe may cause more issues in your feet and legs while running.

- Not sure what foot type you have? Visit your Podiatrist and they can help! 

  • Get shoes correctly fitted. Especially sports shoes.

Ensure they are wide enough; tight shoes will cause several issues with your feet over time. Both externally causing callouses/ corns and internally causing neuromas, bursas, bunions etc.

Ensure they are long enough (front and back); a thumb space at the front from your longest toe when you are standing. Also, one of my biggest pet peeves is when somewhere is wearing backless shoes with an inch of their foot hanging off the back of the shoe. Urgh. Make sure the back of your heel is either flush with the back of the sole of the shoe or even has 5mm of the sole showing. Better to be a tiny bit big than small. 

Your body exerts 3-4 times your body weight on your feet during activities, make sure your feet have the adequate space for this force to occur so they can function at optimum with limited negative impact on the anatomy.

Ensure the shoes are not too soft; some athletic shoes can be very cushioned which might feel nice, but it is not always particularly good for your stability. Countering that, make sure the shoes are not too hard either. 


  • Shoe construction:

- The base / sole of the shoe must be firm and only bend at the toe box. If the shoe twists easily, is too soft and is very flexible, it may cause issues for your feet.

- Attachment; it is ideal that the shoe attaches to your foot to prevent your foot from clawing to hold onto the shoe. The best options are laces, straps/ Velcro, or buckles.

- Arch support; try to ensure adequate arch support if you do not wear orthotics. Many brands include a footbed in their shoes.


  • Custom orthotics

It is of utmost importance that an orthotic sit flush in your shoe. If the orthotics buckle or sits at an angel, do not wear them in that shoe. Always take your orthotics with you when you go to buy new shoes so they can be fitted in.

Always consider a neutral shoe for your orthotics. Stability shoes can double up the correction and cause other problems. 


  • Off the shelf Footbeds and inserts

If you have shoes that you absolutely love but they do not have sufficient support, do not fear; footbeds are here! There are several fantastic footwear additions and footbeds which are extremely useful and effective. They can be applied to your shoes to give you that extra support.

These are: 

Emily Braidwood:

The Well Heeled:

Good Luck! 

Some Brands to consider:

Frankie4 :

Bared Footwear:

Vionic Shoes:

B Store:


The Athletes Foot:

Ascent Footwer:

Two Soles:



Love, Paula xx


Jane Ironside

Thanks for all the info. Will investigate soon.

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