Badly fitting shoes can present a plethora of foot issues; ingrown toenails, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and circulatory problems, and many more. For the majority of people, tight shoes can be a toss-up between cramped toes and aching feet.
The toe box is one of the essential parts of your shoe. It provides some space for your toes to wiggle and protects them against impact. For the best part, the width span of your shoes’ toe box should be accommodative, or rather wider than the ball of your foot.
The technical term “toe box” might be misleading as toe boxes are available in different shapes and styles. A cramping toe box could even lead to black toenails, and arthritis though it’s rare. Many podiatrists recommend that rounded boxes are associated with the best protection because they provide the most breathing room.
While buying shoes online is one of the most popular things today, you might end up selecting a pair based on the stated size rather than how the shoe will actually fit on your feet.
Similarly, the most salesperson on the stores will try to convince you that the shoe will break in with time-, which is somewhat true for the width of most shoes-, but certainly not the case when it comes to length.
So, What’s The Most Suitable Fit?
The rule of the thumb is that toes should have ample room to wiggle inside the shoes. Shoes with constrained toe boxes can lead to corns, neuromas, calluses, and even deformed toes.
For men, shoes with roomy toe boxes are typically the best options. The shoe should leave at least half an inch between the longest toe and the shoes’ interior construction. This is generally equal to the size of the tip of your index finger. A simple thumb test can help determine whether you need to go half a size up or a size down.
Press with your thumb down between the big toe and the end of the shoe. With a proper toe box, your thumb should press downward to the bottom of the shoe without your toes getting in the way. You might want to try a larger size if that doesn’t happen.
Speaking of heeled pumps, your toes should rest flat next to each other and not crammed uncomfortably together.
Measuring Your Feet
According to podiatrists, you should have your shoes measured once or twice per year. It would be best if you don’t shop for your shoes based on foot measurements taken eight years ago. Studies have shown that most people wear shoes of incorrect size, which often leads to foot pain and complications.
The ligaments and other parts of your feet tend to relax and stretch with time, meaning your initial foot measurement may not hold after several years. When shopping for your shoes, measure your feet’ width, length, and arch length. Try to spread and wiggle your toes around. Check whether box space is enough to accommodate your forefoot without causing irritation or your toes overlapping over each other.
Foot experts suggest that you measure your feet later in the day. Our feet tend to develop some swelling by the end of the day. Measuring your shoes in the evening will help avoid buying shoes that are too tight for your feet. It’s also important to stand while measuring so that your feet spread out more.
Measure the arch length as well. This is measured from the heel to the ball of the foot, where the big toe joint bends. To keep your toes comfortable, make sure the bend in your big toe matches with that of the shoe.
Some of the toe boxes to avoid include those with pointed ends, typically found in certain shoes. Such pointed styles will prevent your toes from resting flat, which might cause foot pain and inflammation (metatarsalgia).
Don’t Go By Size Only
Try not to be so interested in the standard size labeling used by shoe manufacturers. The shoe size number is usually a hint to help determine which range to choose your fit from. There’s a big variance between shoe manufacturers because of the lasts within which the shoes are constructed.
Fit Your Shoes to the Larger Foot
It’s common to have one foot slightly larger than the other. For that case, consider the shoe that fits your larger foot. You can always find pads and inserts that can take up some room if the shoe runs big, but it’s pretty difficult to stretch a downright small shoe. Also, it’s important to leave 1/8 inch at the rear of the shoe. This will help to make sure the shoes are not so tight at the back of your shoes.
Too tight shoes may cause irritation, friction, and abrasions against the skin, thereby creating blisters. It is recommended to have about 1/8 between the shoe and the back of your feet. You can ideally slip a finger in between the back of your feet and the shoe.
Seemingly, the finger should slide in without leaving some bit of space to spare to avoid being too large. On the other hand, if the finger doesn’t fit that much well, you might want to try half a size up.
The ball of your feet should rest comfortably within the shoe. Most women’s shoes are not designed to be very accommodative or rather wide in this particular foot section, so the need to pay close attention to how your feet feel while test walking the shoes in question.
Don’t close your eyes to your toes when they ache for help. Things could be tough for them down there, especially when they’re constantly exposed to ill-fitting shoes. A roomy toe box could be better than a too-tight snug fit.
Wearing wrong size shoes will not only compromise your performance; such shoes end up wearing out quickly, thus requiring you to go shopping more often. For instance, leather shoes are designed to break-in and adapt to your feet in the long run. But with the wrong size, the shoes will start cracking and creasing after several weeks.
Don’t follow the misconception that style needs to be uncomfortable. Instead, follow the above tips, and be more cognizant about how shoes should fit.