A great shoe is about more than gorgeous looks - it's about the sole, too
Tips for Finding a Comfortable Pump
Hold the shoe at the heel and the toe area. The sole should be flexible and bend at the front of the arch but have a stiff bottom through the arch.
Choose a pump with a high heel that is directly underneath the center of your heel. If it is too far forward or at the back of the shoe, you'll have balance problems.
Look for false fronts. "A pointy-toe shoe with an area that is much longer than your toes has a false front. It keeps your toes from being squished," says Suzanne Levine, a podiatric surgeon in New York City.
Make sure the toe area is wide enough through the ball of your foot.
Note that a wedge shoe distributes your weight more evenly and offers support all the way through the foot. Be aware, however, that the limited sole flexibility of a wedge increases the risk of rolling your ankle over the side.
Test a shoe for cushioning by pressing a finger into the ball area. It should have a little give or a slightly padded feel.
Avoid synthetics. Wear shoes with leather, suede, or fabric uppers. These materials breathe, which lessens the chance of blistering.
Tips for Finding a Comfortable Flat
Look for sturdy construction. "Try to push in the area around the heel," says Meghan Cleary, author of The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You (Chronicle Books, $13, amazon.com). "If the heel collapses enough to touch the insole, the shoe is not supportive."
Hold each end of a shoe and try to twist it. If the shoe bends too much, it won't be supportive.
Look for flats with a little bit of a heel if you have high arches. Heels provide relief from foot pain.
Buy shoes with leather or rubber soles for optimum shock absorption.
Wear only shoes that have leather or suede insoles. Breathable and pliable, they help prevent chafing and blistering, and they mold to the feet.
Search for round-toe flats. They follow the shape of the foot and allow the toes to move.
Avoid slippage and cuts on your heel by finding a shoe with a back that fits snugly and holds your foot securely.
Tips for Finding a Blister-Proof Sandal
Avoid wobbly shoes. Examine a shoe's quality by looking at how it sits on a table. A well-built one will be balanced and look stable when standing on its own.
Find stack heels that have a broad heel tap (base), which allows for better shock absorption. You will also be steadier on your feet.
Stay away from backless shoes, such as thongs and slides, because they cause pain in the balls of the feet, says Suzanne Levine. Instead, look for a sandal with straps that hit just below the ankle (not encircling it). These will help stabilize the foot and hold it securely.
Wear only sandals that have leather or suede-lined straps to prevent chafing.
Make sure the toe-box area is wide enough for the broadest part of your foot.
Look for platform shoes that give the illusion of a higher heel without the feel of it.
Examine the insides of straps for seams and other construction details that might dig into feet.
A Guide to Making Shoes Last Longer Are you tired of buying new shoes frequently because your old shoes keep falling apart? With a little effort and some proper care you can extend the life of your shoes and save yourself money. Dress shoes can be expensive and without proper care they may not look good for very long. It is possible to keep your shoes looking good for a long time if you just follow some simple steps.
1. Buy a good pair of cedar shoe trees. Shoe trees are form fitting inserts that go inside your shoes when you are not wearing them. They maintain the shape of the shoe which will eliminate creases from forming in the leather. Preventing creases will keep the leather looking good and keep it from cracking or developing a hole. Shoe trees will also help keep the soles flat so the sole will wear more evenly. Shoe trees are made in both plastic and cedar. The cedar shoe trees are better because the wood absorbs moisture and perspiration from the inside of your shoe. After a long day of wearing your shoes, the inside of your shoes can become damp. This moisture, if left inside the shoe, will eventually eat away at the lining of your shoes and cause them to smell. Cedar shoe trees will absorb this moisture, keeping the lining dry and your shoes smelling fresh. It is important to insert shoe trees into your shoes anytime you are not wearing them, but especially after you have just worn them.
2. Buy a good horsehair shoe brush. A shoe brush will help to brush off dust, dirt, and debris that has found its way onto your shoes. Horsehair is the best material to get because it is durable yet gentle, so it will effectively brush your shoes without scratching the leather. If you buy a lesser quality shoe brush, the bristles may be too coarse and it could scratch your shoes and ruin the leather. Lightly brushing your shoes with a side to side motion will help keep your shoes dirt free.
3. Buy good shoe polish and shine your shoes regularly. It is important to buy a good shoe polish that is right for your pair of shoes. Since all shoes are different and there are different forms of leather, it is a good idea to ask the salesperson what shoe polish is best at the time you purchase your shoes. You may not think there is a big difference between shoe polishes, but some shoe polishes can actually harm your shoes. A leather creme polish that matches your shoe color will generally help keep the leather properly conditioned so it does not dry out. Some less expensive products that advertise a "quick shine" actually do more harm than good. They may give your shoes a quick shine, but the alcohol and other chemicals will eventually dry out the leather prematurely. Again, it is important to check with your salesperson to see which product is right for your particular pair of shoes. A good process is to wipe your shoes with a clean cotton cloth, apply and rub in some polish, and then shine with the horsehair shoe brush.
4. Treat suede and nubuck differently than regular leather shoes. You do not want to use polish or leather creme on suede shoes. Using these products will ruin the material by matting it down. Generally, simply brushing these shoes gently should keep them dirt free. It is important to get a special suede brush and to be very gentle because the material is more delicate than leather. You can also spray them with a water proofing spray to keep them from getting ruined in the rain. Suede shoes are more difficult to care for than regular leather shoes, so check with your shoe salesman to make sure you get the right products for it.
5. Keep leather and suede shoes dry. Wearing your shoes in the rain or in the snow will ruin the material. If you live in a city or a climate where it frequently rains or snows, it may be a good idea to purchase a pair of rubber galoshes to slip over your shoes. They are easy to put on, by simply stretching them over your shoes, and will help make your shoes last longer. If your shoes do get wet, it is a good idea to dry them as soon as possible by wiping the surface with a soft, dry, cotton cloth.
6. If you take proper care of your shoes, the soles should wear out before the leather uppers do. If this happens, you may not need to replace the shoes. If the leather uppers still look good, it may be worth it to have your shoes resoled. By replacing the soles on your shoes, you may extend the life of your shoes by another two to three years. It all depends on the condition of the leather upper and the cost of resoling versus purchasing a new pair. If the price is too high to resole your shoes, it may be worth it to invest in a new pair. Leather shoe soles will wear out quickly if worn on concrete and asphalt. These hard surfaces will actually chew away at the leather soles. If you live in a city and walk daily on concrete, it is a good idea to buy shoes that have either rubber soles or soles with a rubber heel and a rubber strip underneath the ball of your foot. This will greatly extend the life of the sole. A cobbler can also add this rubber strip when resoling your shoes.
With proper care, you can get your shoes to look better for a longer period of time. You will save money by shining your shoes yourself and not having to buy new shoes every year. These simple maintenance tips will keep your shoes comfortable and your feet happy.
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