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The ABCs of Purchasing Shoes That Really Fit

By Lucas Wetzel

Purchasing Shoes That Really FitAt most of the nation’s 30,000 shoe stores, the goal is to sell the most shoes in the least amount of time, boosting commissions while minimizing returns. But at a tiny fraction of stores, such as Comfort Plus in Leawood, licensed professionals work carefully with consumers to evaluate shoe fit and comfort — not just on the carpeted floor of the store, but for the actual function of the product in real life.

Certified Pedorthists On Site
At Comfort Plus, which opened in 1984 and is located at the Camelot Court shopping center at 11715 Roe Ave., an experienced team of shoe professionals use a series of evaluative measures and technology to make sure shoe buyers select the proper orthotic and orthopedic shoes without sacrificing foot comfort. Comfort Plus’s certified pedorthists and shoe fitters specialize in assisting those with foot discomfort, swelling, or foot issues related to diabetes.

Evaluative Measures
Before customers even enter the store, a quick series of self-evaluation measures can help them examine their current shoe fit and identify ways in which they can find a better-fitting shoe.

First, check to see that the widest part of your foot corresponds to the widest part of the shoe. If the shoe is too short, your foot will be too far forward in the shoe and the shoe will flex in the wrong spot and exert undue pressure on the foot. Keep in mind that your feet are far less forgiving than your shoes.

Over time, the pressure may actually re-form the shoe, trying to force it into the shape of the correct last. This hurts! Over time it can change the bony alignment of your foot’s joints, cause the soft tissue to become inflamed and even create sores. (While it may seem helpful, there is no purpose served in pushing the end of the shoe to see how much room you have for your toes.)

Second, check your heels to see if the back of the shoe is too deep. There needs to be adequate space between the lower edge of your ankle bone and the top edge of the shoe. This part of the shoe will not change over time, but your ankle will suffer the painful consequences.

Finally, run your hand over the ball of your foot to make sure there is ample but not excessive width. If the shoe is too wide or too deep in the front (the vamp) the leather will unduly crease and pressure the top of your foot. Where proper fitting is a priority, a wide range of specific widths is available.

Because the shoe industry has no standards for shoe length and width, a size nine in one shoe may be much longer/shorter or narrower/wider than another size nine —even from the same manufacturer. It is all determined by the last.

The Essential Starting Point
“Lasts” are the wood or plastic forms that give the shoes their shapes, contours and proportions. Finding a shoe that is “lasted” closest to your foot’s own shape is the essential starting point. Some shoes are longer than others from the heel to the ball (the widest part of the foot).

Some shoes are more tapered in the toe, some have wider-based heels, and some are deeper than others. So finding a properly fitting shoe is not as simple as asking for the size that you have always worn before. In fact, as we age, our feet change becoming wider, and shoes in the closet that once fit are now very tight. If the last is correct, however, your toes will be situated properly.

Get Fitted By a Pro
Proper fitting footwear is basic to good footcare. Our experienced Pedorthists and Certified Shoe Fitters will assure a style, size and fit appropriate to the unique needs of each individual.

Our Goal: Your Comfort!
The experienced, accredited Pedorthist will always measure both feet (they are not the same length!) and check that the above standards are met, as well as many others. Their goal is to make your feet comfortable — not to sell based on a commission.

Utilize their knowledge. Expect to spend evaluation time with them. Enable them to provide their best efforts for you. Because when your feet hurt, your whole body hurts. For a Free Foot Assessment, call Comfort Plus at (913) 451-4494.
Future articles will address a variety of topics including specific foot problems as related to footwear, including accommodation of foot deformities, pressure redistribution, heel pain, and finding proper footwear for diabetes health.

Free Foot Assessment!
Call (913) 451-4494 to Schedule an Appointment.

Comfort Plus Shoes
11715 Roe Ave. Leawood, Kansas

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