How do you know if your shoes are working for you?
Many people think shoes are just another piece of clothing. But they do so much more than protect your feet from the ground. Your shoes help your feet and body function during many different activities in many different environments.
For that reason, it is important that your shoes fit properly and are appropriate for the environment they will be used in – your job, your activities, your daily lifestyle. So, how do you know if your shoes are working for you?
Examining your favourite pair of shoes can tell you a lot about your wear pattern. Do you notice any worn-through parts of the shoe, while other parts are barely touched? This may mean your feet aren’t distributing your body weight evenly, which can lead to callusing or cause high-pressure areas that are vulnerable to injury!
This wear pattern isn’t limited to just the soles of your shoes. Creasing in the cushioning of the shoe, or bulging in the shoe’s upper (the covering the top of your foot) can also reveal abnormal motion patterns and tell a story about how your feet move.
Think about how you move during your favourite activities. Do you run on hard surfaces? On soft, or abrasive-ground? Do you run in a straight line, or cut side-to-side?
All of these questions are important to ask to determine the best shoe for you. Wearing your shoes for activities they were designed for will not just allow you to get the most of your shoes, it will help you avoid injury as well.
In many shoes, you can remove the liner that rests under your foot. You can check your shoes wear and function by looking at this liner.
Any areas with large indents or impressions can show wear and pressure points – just like the bottoms of your shoes. You may also see impressions of your toes; make sure there is room between them and the end of the liner, or else you may be wearing shoes that are too small!
One question people commonly asked is ‘how long should my shoes last?’ Unfortunately, there isn’t one easy answer.
Shoes that rely on cushioning to protect from impact (such as running, walking, or hiking shoes) will often have a shorter shelf life. A good pair of shoes should last between 500 to 800 kilometres of use. If you don’t track your daily mileage, this roughly equates to 6 months – 1 year of regular use. However, for people who work on their feet every day, they may not last more than 3 – 4 months!
Pay attention to how your shoes feel over time, and rotate through more than one pair at a time. This way, your shoe cushioning has more time to recover in between uses.
For stylish shoes that aren’t worn for extensive walking, the fit is a more important benchmark. Our feet change over time; the shoes that fit 5 years ago may not feel so great today! Make sure any structure or support in the shoe doesn’t break down or become too flexible with regular use.
How can I tell?
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort caused by your shoes, drop into a Kintec location and speak with a Fitting Expert. They can assess your footwear by examining the wear, ask questions about how you use each pair, and perform a gait assessment to help determine what types of shoes are right for your feet and activities.
Find a location near you, or talk to a Fitting Expert online now!