Shoe Selection - How to pick your best shoe!
When purchasing shoes one should consider the amount of arch support, curvature of the shoe, size of the toe box, and need for inserts. If you are someone with lower arches or "flatter feet" you should look for a "stability" shoe or a "motion control" shoe if completely flat (these are the people with very soft, non-calloused feet)! These shoes will have arch support built into them to assist in maintaining the arch while walking or running. This will help to minimize the wear and tear on the plantar fascia, ligaments and muscles that have to work harder to support the arch because the low-arched foot is usually very flexible and mobile. These "motion control and stability" shoes will usually have a darker coloring around the arch area (gray color often) and have a firm structure to the shoe. When you squeeze these shoes at the heel and arch there should be some resistance felt. When looking at the bottom of the shoe you should be able to draw a straight line from the center heel to the point of the shoe. You always want to make sure there is enough room in the toe box to allow your toes to spread out and move without hitting the very edge of your shoe.
If you are in the correct shoe you should not need additional inserts. If you have a lower arch and unsupportive sneakers, or are in need of support for your dress shoes, then you may want to consider inserts. Over-the-counter inserts are a good place to start. I would recommend starting with “Super Feet.” These inserts would take the place of the inserts that came with your shoes.
On the other hand, if you are someone with a high arch, you'll want to look for "cushioned" sneakers. Shoes that absorb shock to minimize forces going through your legs and back from the ground. These shoes will not have a rigid or high arch support; they will be softer with squeezing and have a slight curve to them when viewed from the bottom.
All shoes, if worn regularly, should be replaced every 6 to 8 months.
If you are having pain you should consult your physical therapist along with considering a shoe change!