The Best Shoes for Problem Feet

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If your feet are flat, injured, painful or oddly shaped, finding comfortable shoes can be challenging. And, of course, even normal feet can be damaged by shoes that don't go with your feet's natural flow. Everyone wants great shoes, but those with problem feet shouldn't risk paying the price of their health.

Correct Fit

  • Sometimes, pain and discomfort from shoes is caused by improper fit. Have your feet measured by a podiatrist or shoe salesperson to determine your true shoe size.

    You might find that your feet are two different sizes. If so, go with the larger size. Pick shoes that fit well; there should be about half an inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe. The shoes should feel comfortable in the store---don't be fooled by thinking they'll "break in." When trying on shoes, wear the socks or hosiery you would normally wear with that type of shoe.

Flat Feet, Arch Pain, and Plantar Fasciitis

  • If your feet lack arches, pick shoes that have a naturally curved arch or wear curved insoles. Insoles and heel cups can also help treat plantar fasciitis (heel pain). Look for shoes with thick soles and good arch support.

High Heels

  • Wearing high heels has been called a modern form of Chinese foot binding. It's no secret that they're bad for your feet, but most women will insist on wearing them anyway. If you're one of them, try to look for shoes with lots of toe room, reinforced heels and cushioned insoles. Keep the amount of time you spend wearing heels to a minimum.

Other Problems

  • Your doctor or podiatrist should be able to recommend footwear options for other issues. For example, someone with a hammer toe should wear shoes with extra vertical space. If you spend a lot of time walking or running on hard surfaces, wear shoes with softer soles to cushion the feet. Try not to wear the same pair of shoes over and over (unless otherwise indicated by your doctor).

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