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With summer coming, you may be tempted to ditch your boots and sneakers, and go barefoot. Of course, that’s fine if you’re hanging out at home, but if you plan to go anywhere, it’s probably a good idea to wear some kind of shoe. Here’s what to look for when it’s time to go shoe shopping:
Support is key. We love to get dressed up to attend a wedding or other special occasion, but nothing takes the joy out of a party like aching feet. Shoes that support your feet allow your muscles to do less work, meaning you can dance the night away without risking pain and discomfort. From tennis shoes to dress shoes, always look for good arch support. Your shoe should only bend where your foot bends (at the joint of the big toe).
Check for proper fit. Did you know your shoes should be a thumb width longer than your longest toe? You probably remember your mom putting her thumb on your shoes as you tried on those new Buster Browns and played with the sizing tool, wondering if she was going to take you for ice cream afterward. Turns out, Mom totally knew what she was doing. Be sure there’s plenty of room in the toe box. This prevents toes from getting squished, which can cause cuts from toenails digging into your skin and other painful issues.
Oh, and guess what? No one has two feet that are the same size. So if that pair of shoes fits just right on one foot but feels a little snug on the other, go up a half-size.
Look for a solid midsole. This allows for shock absorption. Summer sandals and high heels are notorious for having thinner midsoles. With so little to absorb the impact of your natural foot strike, it’s no wonder your feet hurt after wearing these styles. Sure, they might look cute with your new outfit, but you won’t care when your feet start to hurt. More and more manufacturers are putting better midsoles in these types of shoes. You may need to spend a little more, but it’s well worth it.
If you’re buying heels, consider looking for those with a platform. No, they didn’t go out of style in the ‘70s. They’re actually kind of practical. (Well, that’s assuming you don’t have the clear kind with the goldfish in the heel.) This is because the platform can help absorb shock while still looking stylish. So, if you’re going to be at an all-day event that requires getting dressed up, or if you just want to look a little taller, give this style a try. It’s surprisingly comfortable.
There are a few other things to consider when buying shoes. First and foremost, how often will you wear them, and for how long? You tend to get what you pay for, so it makes sense to spend a little more on shoes you’ll wear frequently. But if you’re just looking for a pair to go with a certain outfit for an occasion, you may wind up spending a little less. You will likely sacrifice quality or fit, but that’s up to you.
Another consideration is style. At the end of the season, trendy styles get marked way down. It might be tempting to snap up all those cute shoes you couldn’t afford a few months ago, but are you really going to wear them next season? If you’re not sure, I’ve got two words for you: jelly sandals. If you really must have them, look for that trendy style in a basic color, and you’ll wear them more.
On the other hand, good basic pumps, flats, sneakers, and sandals are always worth the investment. As long as they offer good support, shock absorption, and fit, it’s a good idea to spend a little more on these classic styles because you’ll wear them forever.