Footwear advice from Geelong podiatrists

Footwear plays an important role in protecting your feet as well as offering support. We believe a lot of foot conditions can be alleviated if the right footwear is chosen. It is vital children have the correct-sized shoes to avoid further complications down the track.

Some important points to remember when buying shoes:

  • Have your feet measured before buying shoes. Changes to the internal structure of the foot and swelling can affect the length and width of your foot. The length should be approximately one thumb’s width beyond the longest toe.
  • Lace-up shoes with good retaining straps are recommended. These prevent the foot from sliding around or moving forward in the shoe by holding the heel firmly in place and preventing foot fatigue.
  • Thongs and slip-on shoes should be avoided or worn only for short periods of time.
  • Shoes should be comfortable when you first try them on and should not have to be “worn in” for them to be comfortable.
  • New shoes should be worn for short periods, possibly only a few hours per day at first, increasing the wearing time gradually each day.
  • A lower-heeled shoe is better – ideally no greater than 2½ centimetres. The higher the heel, the more weight is distributed forward on to the ball of the foot, causing pain.
  • Shoes should have firm heel counters to stop excessive foot movement.
  • The shoe should have adequate flexibility along the metatarsal break area, at the ball of the foot. When holding the shoe between the hands and pushing, the shoe should bend along the metatarsal break. The shank (mid-sole) should be firm.
  • Leather uppers help ventilate the foot and prevent excessive perspiration.
  • Avoid pointy or narrow-toed shoes. A wider, squarer toe will accommodate your foot better. Make sure the toe box is deep enough to allow room for the toes.
  • A thicker rubber-type sole will provide better cushioning and shock absorption for the foot.
  • Abnormal wear patterns on the sole of the shoe, heel or in the upper can indicate problems with your foot posture and the way you walk. Your podiatrist can help to analyse and rectify these problems. They can also guide you in purchasing the correct shoe for your needs.

Footwear assessment – running shoes

With many people hitting the pavements now and taking up running, we often get asked when you should change your running shoes. We recommend you have a gait analysis with one of our podiatrists, especially if you have any symptoms. How long your shoes last will depend on a number of factors including surfaces, weight and your running style.

If you require any footwear advice, please contact podiatry@belmont and we can assess your situation so you have the best footwear for your needs.