Footwear which is too big, too small or does not fit properly can cause lifelong problems. This can be avoided by following a few simple steps.

  • Always have both feet measured for length and width. Never buy footwear in shops where you are refused foot measuring
  • It is best to avoid slip-on shoes. Shoes should hold the foot with either laces, straps or velcro
  • The heel height should be low and the heel should have a broad base
  • The toe box should have sufficient height and be round rather than pointed to avoid the toes being squashed from the top or sides. The toes should be able to move freely. Gentle depression of the toe box in front of the longest toe should reveal approximately 10-12mm (roughly ½ inch) of available toe space
  • The insole of the shoe is the platform on which the foot rests. The material used must be robust, but also provide a smooth surface. Many manufacturers often fit a removable full-length insole which allows a customised insole to be fitted if required
  • The shoes should fit around the heel without being loose or tight
  • Leather materials are best for uppers. Synthetic materials (rubber, nylon, plastic) can cause the feet to sweat and increase the risk of athlete’s foot or verrucae (warts)
  • Many children wear trainers a lot of the time. One criticism of trainers, particularly for teenagers where the feet may be sweaty, is the high percentage of synthetic materials used. This increases moisture in the trainer and can predispose to verrucae, athlete’s foot and ingrown toenails, particularly if the toenails have not been cut correctly
  • Fashion shoes can be worn for special occasions, but sensible, properly fitting shoes should be worn for everyday activities
  • Socks or tights which are too small can cause similar problems as shoes which are too small, particularly in very young children