How to Pick the Right Shoes
Finding the right pair of shoes seems like a simple thing, but with the advent of specialized footwear for a host of activities, and new technological advances in material and production methods, this is not necessarily true anymore. Here are some ideas that may help you select the best shoe for your particular needs.
- Identify the activity you will be engaged in while wearing your shoes.
- Cold-weather outdoor activities: Look for traction again, and consider insulated and possibly water repellent boots, especially if you expect to be walking in snow or slushy ice. Be sure the boots are large enough for a good pair of thick socks. You may want to consider more than one pair of socks, instead of insulated boots, since multiple layers will keep your feet warmer, but if the temperature rises during the day, you can remove a layer so that your feet don’t sweat too much.
- Athletic shoes: This is one of the most diverse lines of footwear, with specialized shoes for almost every sport, such as tennis, golf, basketball, soccer, skateboarding, and even bowling,so you will probably be better off talking to a knowledgeable sales person at a shoe store to find the most suitable type for a specific need.
- Dress shoes: Here, style may be the primary concern, but you should consider how much walking will be involved in your plans, and choose shoes that are comfortable. For men, generally black or brown shoes will work with most business or evening attire, but ladies will most likely want to find a color and heel height which compliments their apparel.
- Don’t let price be the sole criteria for your selection.
- Look for shoes that offer sufficient arch support. Our feet carry a load with each step we take, day in and day out, and the arch of the foot is a mechanical marvel that acts as both a shock absorber and balancing mechanism, and being sure to keep it supported will help maintain its health.
- Think about the material the sole is made from. Soft soled shoes are generally quieter and more comfortable than stiff, inflexible soles. Some very hard soled shoes will mark hard surfaced flooring like vinyl composition tiles, and in some instances, such as hospital environments, the tapping of hard soles can be disturbing to people in the workplace, as well as patients.
- Look at the material the uppers are made from. Most shoes are traditionally made from leather, but there are many grades and types of leather, and each has its own distinct characteristics. Suede don’t require polishing, as do patent leathers, and very fancy shoes may be made from exotic animal skins, even alligator or ostrich skin. Many people are reluctant or refuse to wear any shoes or clothing made from animal products, so synthetic materials or natural fibers will be their preference.
- Have your feet properly measured for shoes to fit correctly. This means looking at the length and width, and here, there is no substitute for the help of an experienced shoe salesman. Not all feet are created equal, and many people find that their feet are not symmetrical, which may even mean buying a different sized shoe for each foot.
- Examine the stitching and construction methods for your shoes. Double row stitching on the uppers, sealed seams with gussets, reinforcing rivets, and Goodyear Welt construction are indications of well made, durable shoes or boots.
- Consider the heel height of your shoe carefully. Heels of women’s shoes are often raised in the thought that the lift will make them look more graceful, or thinner, but if this is accomplished at the expense of comfort, or even the health of her feet, it may not be a wise choice.
- Choose the style and type of shoe you are interested in, and try them on in the store. Put both shoes on, lace them up, and stand in them for a few moments. Wiggle your toes to make sure they have sufficient space to keep them from being cramped. Walk around a little bit to get a feel for the balance. Look at them critically to see if they are right for you. Get the opinion of the salesperson and any friends who may be accompanying you on your shopping trip.