5 ways to know that the shoes you’re buying won’t kill your feet

Only a couple of weeks ago, I was with my boys at the local mall. Our mission was to simply stock up on groceries, pop into the library to return and borrow books, and get some new school shoes.

Over an hour of waiting in line to fit little one’s feet for new school shoes. Agggh!

 

Instead, we left the shopping centre with a bunch of CDs and DVDs from the library, a pair of school shoes, two pairs of little boy runners, a couple of milkshakes and an awesome pair of new shoes for me. Both the milkshakes and my shoes were rewards for getting through the tediously long wait to buy school shoes.

Yet when I wore my new shoes the next day, I ended up with a big blister and red, raw marks criss crossing my feet.

 

So how can you tell if the shoes that felt comfortable in the shop will stay comfortable when you’re out? Are there certain things to look for that will indicate whether a shoe and your foot will be a marriage made in heaven?

And are there warning signals that the two of you are only destined for a fling, the kind that will leave you with an unsightly souvenir – kinda like that cold sore you picked up from a pash & dash back in your uni days?”

 

Luckily, on a recent trip to Copenhagen to attend Fashion Week and the ECCO Walk in Style Awards, I was able to sit down with shoe designer Niki Taestensen – the creative brains behind all of the women’s shoes for ECCO to ask him these burning questions. Here are his top tips.

Outside the ECCO shoe store in Copenhagen where I chatted their head shoe designer.

 

5 things to look for in a pair of shoes so they’ll stay comfy long after you’ve left the store.

1.       When you try on the shoe, close your eyes to diminish distractions and really think about how your foot feels. Is it comfortable or is there pressure at certain points?

2.       Try both shoes on, and go for a walk around the store. It’s important to try the shoes on different terrain, so walk on carpet and bare floors to get a feeling for how your foot feels on impact with these surfaces.

3.       Ensure there is about ¾ cm between your longest toe and the front inside edge of the shoe. Otherwise, your toe nails will press into the shoe and hurt.

4.       Check the width of the shoe by standing up, then squeezing the sides of the shoe together. Snug is good, but be sure that the leather has some give. If it is too rigid, the shoes are simply too tight, and after wearing them for a short time you’ll feel like your foot is wedged into a vice.

5.       Make sure that the shoes are lined in leather, especially if the shoe is to be worn in direct contact with your skin, like a sandal or a pair of killer pumps. Leather will allow your skin to breathe and remain comfortable. To check that they are fully lined, simply put your hand into the shoe and feel all the way down to the tip.

 

Ever had a tawdry fling with a shoe that left your foot in tatters? Did you stick it out and see whether it’d improve, or did you see the writing on the wall and kick it to the kerb, stat? What are your tips to finding a shoe that will go the distance with you?

baby hanger

 

  • ThegenuineBron

    What – you mean that if the shoe is too narrow there isn’t a magic ‘stretching machine’ out the back of the shoe shop????!?!?!?!?

    • malika

      hello,
      if the insole (the thing your foot rests on) is too narrow, no amount of stretching from a cobbler will make the shoe fit.  the insole (also called midsole) needs to fit your foot so it proparly wears.  If the insole size is fine, and the shoe is leather and too tight, it can often be stretched at a cobbler.

      • FoxInFlats

        I wish I knew this when I bought the heels I wrote about in the article. I took them to one of these key cutting/shoe resoling places to stretch them. Didn’t work – and I can now see why, the insole is waaaay to narrow for my foot! My friend is now the owner of some brand new fab 4 inch black pumps (yes, I sometimes wear heels!) x A

    • FoxInFlats

      LOL! I forgot all about the shoe store we worked at while at uni that had a “shoe stretching machine” out the back. We were meant to take too-small shoes to the back of the store, hold them under the hand dryer and ‘stretch’ them with a broom handle. We didn’t quite see eye-to-eye. Oh yeah that’s right, I got fired! ha ha ha! 

      • ThegenuineBron

        Bahaha – I’ll never forget the customer who insisted on trying on her wedding dress to see how it looked with a potential pair of shoes. Could she not SEE the state of the  ‘staff bathroom’????

        • FoxInFlats

          Lol that’s too funny. X

  • Sally

    If you failed to follow these tips and you have a pair of shoes that do give you blisters, I have found a product that is really amazing at preventing them.
    It is called Blistop and you can get it in most chemists.
    It is a spray that you spray over any part of your foot that you get rubbing o. It dries to a clear silcone film that lasts for a few days. It really does work and I have been able to start wearing some of my shoes again that I used to get bad blisters from. I have even used it before wearing a pair of shoes for the first time and NO BLISTERS!!!
    *Note, I do not work for the company I am just really impressed with this product

    • FoxInFlats

      Wow! Thanks for the tip Sally, I will try that for sure (I’m a repeat offender for buying uncomfortable shoes!) 

    • Oh I love this tip, and bizarrely not just for myself! The boys of my house constantly get blisters from new soccer boots. 

      I have been a repeat offender of poorly fitting shoe purchasing in the past, lately my shoe choices are more sensible, and there are much bigger gaps between my blistery bandaid wearing days! Great tips for making sure they actually fit properly in the first place

  • Brilliant tips. Next time I try a pair of shoes on, I am totally going to concentrate on how they FEEL…not just how they LOOK!!

    • FoxInFlats

      So much easier said than done though….

  • coastalchic

    As a rule of thumb, the very first time you try the shoes on and they are uncomfortable/pinching at all, dont buy them. If they hurt now, they will always hurt

  • Nicola

    I don’t wear leather (vegetarian, blah blah blah) and vinyl shoes can be DISGUSTING! Get awesome, comfortable, breathable, synthetic shoes online from places like Beyond Skin.

    Here’s my tip if you DO wear leather (discovered inadvertantly in my teens) try submerging your shoes, with feet inside, in water till soaked through – let them dry on your feet as you walk around for the day. My shoes went from torture devices, to fitting like a glove. I would only try this as a last resort for shoes you just can’t wear otherwise!

  • Lou Ann Schafer

    I have shoes that need to be worn several times to break them in. Best advice I have received is to put deoderant on the spots that tend to rub. Since I started doing that, absolutely no more blisters.