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How do You Shoe Shop?

June 23, 2010

The common mistake I see some women make when I’m out shopping for shoes is they look for look and style first, comfort and fit last, when in fact it should be the other way around.  “How do you shop for shoes and what concerns do you keep in mind?” Is the question I’m always asking because the answers are always astonishing. 

In one of my older posts I talk about how comfort and fit should always be your number one concern because once you buy those shoes, take them home and wear them out, you and those shoes are going to be together for a very long time, that is if you don’t take them back because they just hurt, or you give them away, or just simply toss them out.  And if you choose to toss them out because you just can’t get a comfortable fit out of them, think of the money you just wasted (depending on how long it took you to decide to get rid of them).

To me, buying shoes is almost like buying a car.  Probably not the same thing, but the concept is very much similar.  Think about it…you go into a shoe store.  You look around for about 10-15 minutes until you find that one pair of shoes that catches you attention.  It’s got the look, the right style, perfect color, the price is reasonable, the heel height is in your ideal range, and they have it in your style.  How does it fit?  Will it be comfortable on your feet?  You want to give them a test drive.  Try them on.  Walk past the mirror a few times.  See how it looks on your feet.  Is it comfortable? Can you achieve extended wear once you purchase them?  Do you feel good about making the purchase?  See, very similar to buying car.  You go down to the car dealer.  You tell the dealer what you’re looking for and what your price range is.  You look around for about 15-20 minutes or so, you find what you want, take it for a test drive to get the feel of the car.  Do you feel comfortable?  Can you see yourself driving it for an extended period of time?  The make, model and style is just right.  The color is what you’re looking for, and the price falls beautifully into your price range.  You get the general idea.

I have to keep re-emphasizing the fact that just because a shoe looks hot, sexy and speaks volumes, and is everything we want in shoes, doesn’t necessarily mean they are for you.  You have to keep in mind that no one set of feet are the same.  Which also means that if you wear your shoes one way, and you let someone borrow those shoes, trust me, they are going to come back a different way.  They will not feel the same way before you let them walk out of your house on stranger feet.

Size can be a common mistake to make.  I know, because before I finally got it right, I was making some stupid mistakes about shoes.  It was, “well, it’s not in my size, but I really like the shoe, I’m going to buy them anyway.” I get them home, wear them on a chosen day and discover, I should have just picked something else.  It was a lesson learned.  Foot experts tell us that the dangers that come with wearing high heel shoes is not taking care of our feet, wearing the wrong shoes size, and wearing shoes that just make our feet uncomfortable, thus starting the early stages of foot damage which in some cases is not repairable.

Shopping for shoes you should keep these three points in mind:

  1. Care
  2. Comfort
  3. Size

Care:  Regular care for your feet.  Shoes should be able to allow you to continue to care for your feet while wearing them.

Comfort:  You want to wear shoes you can achieve extended wear if necessary (i.e., dancing, dinner party, special occasions, etc.)

Size:  Wearing the wrong size can cause the early stages of foot damage if not careful.  Wear a size to a half size up or down ONLY if the style of the shoe calls for it, and you want to be sure you receive comfort at the same time.

Now that my daughter is at the age where she is showing more interest in high heels, I spend extra added time shopping for shoes for her making sure she not only finds the right style, but that she get a good fit and it’s the right size.  She’s a size 9 and she has long toes.  So, keeping this in mind, I look for shoes that will not cramp her toes, have a nice fit, but still offer room for her to wiggle her toes.  She’s fairly new to the idea of wearing heels so I am schooling her on the gel inserts when she wears single soul high heel shoes vs. shoes with platforms that offer a little more comfort, and to look for shoes with cushioned foot bed that adds gentleness, as well.

Shopping for shoes can be a dramatic experience, but if you know how to properly shop for shoes, what to look for first, it can be a fun experience as well.  Just remember look and style doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a comfort fit, and the wearing the wrong size when it’s not called for can be damaging.

Take care when you buy your next pair of high heels.

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