The month of December can be change to your weekly routines, which can mean a change to your shoes. You could be spending more time on your feet when shopping and cooking, in the house more often in your slippers or barefoot, or at parties in your dress shoes you bring out a few times a year. Even if one instance doesn’t seem like a problem for your feet, it can add up over time and lead to pain by the end of the month. Especially if you plan to use exercise as a new year’s resolution, it’s important to keep your feet healthy for the month of December! To keep them healthy, there are a few tips that may seem small, but will be important to your feet in the long term.
Proper Fit and Support
Before diving into different scenarios during the holidays, it’s important to know what a good shoe is. A good shoe will have the proper fit and support for your feet.
To make sure the shoe fits well, there should be about a thumb width (1/2”) space between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. For the width, the foot should not be budging out the sides of the shoe. The last part to look at is the volume or the depth inside the shoe. The shoe should be snug against the top of your foot, but not enough to cause pressure marks. It is also important to note that the shoe should not taper too much at the toes. If you look at your bare feet, they have a rounded shape at the front. If you try and put your foot into a pointed shoe, it can cause pressure and pain to the toes.
To check the proper support, make sure the shoe doesn’t bend through the middle when trying to fold the shoe in half. It should also have a solid heel, which resists the pressure of your thumb when pushing at the back of the heel.
Shopping in Stores
If you plan to complete any of your shopping in a physical store, it is good to always be prepared with the proper shoes. A five-minute errand could turn into a two-hour shopping trip.
One good tip is to have a go-to shoe for shopping. This could be a running shoe, walking shoe or a very comfortable boot. This way, if you are running out the door in a hurry, you know which shoe to grab. This shoe should fit well on your foot and have the proper support. If you wear orthotics or an over the counter insert, make sure this shoe can accommodate this support.
If you are the kind of person that tends to make a few trips after work, keeping a good pair of shoes in your car may be a good idea. This way, you can change into your comfortable shoes without making a stop at home first.
During the holidays, you may be at home more than normal which could include more cooking and baking. At home, make sure you have a pair of indoor shoes to wear. This could be a supportive slipper, supportive sandal or a running/walking shoe.
When looking for a supportive slipper, the best option is to find a slipper with a removable insert, and add extra support with either a custom foot orthotic or an over the counter insert.
There are lots of sandal brands that have supportive footbeds built into them. You can either use this on its own or find a sandal with a removable insert and insert your own support.
A running or walking shoe will provide the most support. This is a great option if you are currently trying to decrease pain, or if you will be on your feet all day and need extra support.
Holiday parties can be a common place to develop pain because of the more frequent dress shoes, or barefoot inside a home.
If you are going to be wearing dress shoes the entire night, be aware of what you will be doing. If you will be sitting down the entire night, you may be able to get away with a less supportive shoe. Do make sure it fits properly though, because a tight-fitting shoe can cause pressure and possible numbness by the end of the night. Be especially aware of the shoes that point too much at the front.
For the parties that require standing most of the night, look for a comfortable, well-fit and supportive shoe. There are dress shoes available that can be comfortable to wear for an entire night. Look for dress shoes with multiple widths, a removable insert, and a thicker sole to provide some extra cushioning.
When the party takes place inside a home, bring a separate pair of shoes to wear indoors. As long as they are clean, there should be no problem with wearing shoes inside another home!
As a final note, try to be more aware during the holidays and plan ahead when leaving your house! A comfortable shoe can help you feel more comfortable into the new year!
For more information about your feet and the appropriate shoes, talk to your local Canadian Certified Pedorthist.
Written by Julia Hayman, C. Ped (C)