How to be a savvy shoe-shopper
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists claims that in the last rush of sales more than a third of British woman bought shoes they knew didn’t fit right. The society also reported on an incredible fact from an American study that as many as 88% of women in the US wear the wrong size shoes!
We all love a bargain, and with sales all year round, there’s rarely the need to bust the budget when you buy a new pair of shoes these days. However, whether you pay £20 or £200 for your heels, pumps or boots, there are a few essential rules that will help you buy shoes that you will always get your money’s worth from.
The savvy shoe-shopper’s top tips
1. Don’t skimp. Is the bargain you hold in your hand really a bargain? Sometimes you will stumble on a great sales find, but cheaply made shoes that were always intended to be sold on the cheap are rarely good enough quality. Even if they feel like a good fit, run your fingers around the inside for any rough seams as even the smallest ridges will quickly start hurting.
2. What is the sole like? If they are very thin they will cause you grief even on regular pavements and they won’t offer your joints the right level of shock absorption. Also, the sole of a shoe should be made from strong yet flexible material so that your toes can move as you walk.
3. Shoe-shop after lunch. Try shoes on in the afternoon as this gives your feet a chance to spread a little. Also through the day our feet swell a bit and if you buy new boots earlier in the day, once you start wearing them you’ll find them a squeeze later in the day.
4. Heel wisdom. Really high heels might look fabulous but it’s no surprise that many office workers commute in their trainers with that pair of stunning heels tucked away in their bags. For daily wear, try to avoid anything higher than four inches maximum, and try to go for heels that offer good support inside the shoe, fitting comfortably around your heel. Once the back of the shoe is out of shape, it won’t be offering you the right support any more.
5. Shoes should fit straight away. If your new shoes pinch when you try them on in the shop, look for something else. The idea that they will loosen up with wear isn’t a good principle for shoe shopping. Certainly trying on a more snug style if you’ve walked into the shop with trainers on is going to make a difference, but don’t rush to buy the new pair if they feel uncomfortable anywhere around your foot.
6. Toes, heels and ankles too. If you are trying on new ankle boots and you have trousers on, make sure you get a good look at how they fit around the ankle in case you want to wear them with an office skirt too. If they end at the wrong point on your ankle they might feel comfortable and seem great under trousers but they might make your legs look too squeezed or stocky with tights on.
7. Walking shoes should do the hard work. If you do a lot of walking and either want work shoes or walking boots to suit your needs, invest in ones with leather uppers to allow for comfortable movement. Also it is better to buy ones with laces rather than Velcro fastenings as you will be able to tighten them more efficiently to the right size rather than leaving them loose to shift around too much as your feet move.
8. Don’t presume a perfect fit. Don’t just scoop up a pair of shoes that appear to be your regular size. Different brands and even different styles within the same brand might vary, so always take them for a considered test run round the shop before you buy.
9. Toes should twinkle – and wiggle. Although you might like shoes that point elegantly, your toes shouldn’t do the same! Buy a size where your toes inside are allowed to wriggle around and to sit properly like they would if you didn’t have any footwear on.
10. Pregnancy support. For women who are expecting a baby, high heels are not a great idea because of the extra weight bearing down on feet, but completely flat shoes are not a good idea either. Supportive trainers are a better option.