The average woman walks more than 118,600 kilometres in a lifetime. Every walking step you take exerts pressure up to three times your body weight on your feet. Running exerts up to ten times your body weight.
We cram our feet into tight fitting, stiff shoes, subject them to the unnatural angles of high heels, pound them on pavement and asphalt, smother them in airless socks and shoes, or simply stand on them for hours on end.
Sometimes the skin, 26 bones, and intricate webbing of muscles and ligaments in each of our feet can’t stand up to the pressure.
Is it any wonder that your feet hurt?
Many common foot ailments are related to choice of shoes. Footwear that is too tight, too loose, excessively airtight, or shaped in unnatural ways can cause or aggravate problems.
High heels and pointy-toed fashion shoes are natural adversaries to your feet. Although the angle of high heels may make your legs look long and graceful, it also increases pressure on the toes and upsets your balance. Keep your use of high heels to a minimum, and opt for flats instead.
One good pair of cross trainers will suffice for every sport you participate in. Sports shoes can be worn every day for cushy comfort. However, they lose their cushioning effect over time and should be replaced if the lining no longer bounces back when you press on it. Remember to check shoes for air flow—do they have porous fabric or air holes so that your feet won’t swelter inside?
Do your shoes fit?
When did you last have your feet measured? Your feet may well have increased in size, as commonly happens as women grow older. Be sure to shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are 5%-8% larger than in the morning. Measure both feet, since they are often different sizes, and always fit to the larger size.
Allow 1/2″ of room between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Feel along the sides of the shoe while it’s on your foot to check that the widest part of your foot corresponds with the widest part of the shoe.
Take a test stroll across the store to verify that the shoe flexes when you walk, and that your heel doesn’t slip in and out. Wear the hosiery or socks you expect to wear with the shoes.
The most important test of all is completely subjective. Are they comfortable? A particular pair of shoes may look great, but if they’re going to leave you sore or limping, leave them in the store.
Be kind to your feet—they’ve got to carry you a long way.