When you look for a new pair of shoes, you probably face the same scenario we all do. You return to the outlet where you bought your last great pair, thinking you will buy another, and they’ve been discontinued.
You try on every other pair in the store and nothing compares; they’re not even close! You need shoes, so you settle for whatever you find that doesn’t pinch your feet. It’s not exactly what you wanted, but it’ll work until you find the good shoes you had before.
How do you find those good shoes?
Nearly everyone walks around and trains with shoes on their feet, but they share a common problem: Too often, they can’t find good shoes. When there so many shoes available in stores and through the Internet, how is it possible that so many of us have a difficult time finding good ones?
The definition of “good” varies between people. Not everyone is looking for the same thing when they say they want “good shoes.” The ways in which we qualify “good shoes” include:
- Level of comfort. If a shoe feels good when we slip it on, regardless of whether appropriate support is provided, it’s a good shoe to most of us.
- Currently in fashion. Some of us largely ignore the physical aspect of comfort and support, and regard shoes as good when they’re socially prized.
- Color to match your wardrobe. Like putting fashion before comfort, good shoes to some people means whatever matches our other clothing and elicits compliments. We might come home with blisters and heels rubbed raw, but looking good is the top priority.
- The price tag. Some people shop for shoes with the motto: “If the shoe fits, and it’s affordable, wear it.”
- The brand. Some people haven’t figured out that rarely does anyone else care what brand of shoes we wear, but advertisers have convinced them otherwise. They’re happy to pay hundreds of dollars for name-brand shoes that tear up their toes and squeeze the tops of their feet.
- Width of the shoe. People with wide feet can’t find shoes that fit well in general, so they consider any shoe that accommodates their wide feet to be good.
- Type of closure. Laces, Velcro, straps, snaps, buckles, and slip-ons: Some people have a preference for the way a shoe closes, and will judge how good it is based on that.
- The material they’re made from. For those who shop for shoes with durability in mind, no matter how comfortable or supportive it is, if a shoe is not made from a material such as leather, they’ll pass it up.
- How long they last. If a shoe provides excellent support and comfort, but doesn’t hold up long, some people won’t bother. They’d rather have slightly uncomfortable shoes that survive a decade than have to buy comfortable shoes every few years.
- Emotional attachment. Sometimes people are attached to the shoes they’ve been wearing for ten years even though they’re covered with holes. If you throw them away, they’ll ask, “Why did you throw away my good shoes?”
So the concept of “good shoes” is clearly subjective. But one fact remains undeniable: Unless your shoes provide proper support, you could be causing long-term damage to your feet and your overall health.
Selene Parekh, an orthopedic surgeon in the Duke University Health System, told the Washington Post, “What are the best shoes to wear? I hear this question 20 times a day.” He says the best shoes are both supportive and comfortable for your feet, and “if you don’t have pain, your walking pattern is fine.”
However, if you are experiencing pain, it’s time to support your feet.
Support matters more than comfort
Since comfort is a somewhat subjective condition, support and comfort aren’t synonymous. Shoes that provide comfort for certain people may feel uncomfortable to others.
For example, thousands of people find flip-flops comfortable, but for people who need arch and ankle support, flip-flops aren’t an option. Many podiatrists advise against wearing them in general, but flip-flops aren’t always bad. They’re just not ideal for people who need good arch support.
Your feet have three arches that need support
Lack of full arch support creates pain for many people. Full arch support includes all three arches: the one that runs toward the inside of your feet, your outer arches, and the one beneath the ball of your foot.
It’s difficult to find shoes that support all your arches, not because they don’t exist but because everyone’s feet are different. Each arch requires a different level of support. People with high arches aren’t going to get the right support from a shoe that supports lower arches or flat feet.
Remember, shoe manufacturers have a marketing department
It’s useful to remember that shoe manufacturers have a marketing department because their end goal is to sell shoes. When you’re browsing aisles of shoes, you’ll see many labeled “comfort shoes” but when you try them on, they’re not necessarily a good fit.
Advertising shoes as “comfort shoes” isn’t intentionally deceptive. The label is based on the fact that the shoe provides cushioning and main arch support: two elements that provide the best support when customized.
Custom orthotics provide full arch support and more
You could spend a lot of money having custom shoes made, but then you’d be limited to wearing that one pair of shoes when you need support. If you opt for custom sneakers, your feet won’t be supported when you have to wear dress shoes to work.
Custom shoes aren’t immune to getting worn out like regular shoes, so when they do wear out, you’ll be on the hook to purchase another pair. Custom orthotics, however, solve this problem by providing affordable support and portability.
Orthotics are lightweight and slip right into your everyday shoes. When you wear out your old sneakers, you can slip your orthotics into your new pair. They also help with balance and posture.
Custom, affordable support from Step By Step
At Step By Step, we offer three levels of custom orthotic support to match your needs and your budget. When you purchase your first pair of orthotics, you’ll get a second pair at a significant discount, which will enable you to be fully supported at work and at home.
Contact us to today find out how you can get a pair of custom orthotics to improve your foot health and overall well-being.