footwear isn't just a fashion decision. It is a
decision that affects your comfort and health
both in the short term and over a period of
years. Quality, repairable footwear gives your
feet the support they need to bear up to their
daily burden. It is a renewable resource that
eases the burden on your bank account. It even
eases the burden on the environment by staying
in service for years instead of clogging
There are three
keys to choosing quality footwear. First, look
for a shoe with solid construction that will
give your feet the support they need. Next, look
for quality materials that will make your feet
comfortable and keep them healthy. Finally, make
sure you buy shoes that fit properly.
elements to look for in the construction of a
men's shoe are a steel shank and a hard heel
counter. The shank supports the arches so feet
can stand up to their workload. The counter
provides additional support for people who walk
to the outside and break down a shoe.
Women are more
prone to problems than men because the styles
they wear are often bad for their feet. Flat
shoes with rounded toes are much better than
high heels. A steel shank for arch support is
preferable and a leather lining will keep the
shoes from spreading out as soon as you wear
mean comfort and durability. Always look for
uppers made of leather or some other natural
material. Leather allows your feet to breathe
and moisture to escape. Vinyl and other
synthetics trap heat and moisture. Your feet
will be hot and the trapped moisture makes an
ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Linings,
insoles and fillers should be made of natural
materials for the same reasons.
Soles should be
leather or composition rubber. Leather allows
the shoes to breathe. Rubber is longer wearing
and increases slip resistance. Also, rubber
heels are best for wear, comfort and slip
Shoes that don't
fit can cause a variety of problems from
blisters, corns and calluses, to foot, leg and
back pain Her are some tips on finding shoes
shoes come in sizes and widths. Some
brands come in medium widths only. People with
narrow feet buying shoes with a medium width
have to fit the shoes short to keep them on
their heels. When you take a step, your foot
elongates by 1/3 of an inch. That is a full shoe
size. If your shoes are fit short, your toes
have nowhere to go when you walk and you end up
with toe problems.
People who have
wide feet buy medium width shoes extra long in
order to fit their feet. When this happens, the
shank, designed to be under the arch of the
foot, is actually under the ball. The shoes
don't bend easily and they slip at the heel.
When you are
trying on shoes, make sure the wide part of your
foot sits in the wide part of the shoe. Allow
3/8 to 1/2 inch of free space in the toe area.
Also, try on shoes at the end of the day when
you feet are the largest and, if you are like
most people who have one foot slightly larger
than the other, fit your larger foot.
everything we mentioned can be seen with a
visual inspection. Shanks and fillers are inside
the shoe -- between the sole and the insole.
Genuine and imitation leather are difficult to
tell apart at a glance. Rubber and plastic will
also look alike to the untrained eye.
manufacturers that use quality materials like to
talk about them. Ask for literature when you are
considering a purchase. If no literature is
available, ask the salesperson for more
information. If the sales person can't answer
your questions, it's time to look elsewhere.