Finding & Buying the Right Shoes

It’s been said that you can’t have too many shoes. While this statement is debatable, especially between men and women, it is true that a good collection of shoes can show your fashion sense and provide the perfect complement to any outfit. There are some keys to buying great shoes.

First of all you want to make sure you are purchasing the correct size. To ensure that you are buying the right size, have your foot measured by a competent salesperson. This measurement can tell you the length, width, and any variances in your arches. You may also find that you have feet of two different sizes (This is of course preferable to having two left feet!). Make sure that you have your foot measured while standing and preferably toward the end of the day. In fact, the end of a busy shopping trip is a great time to try on shoes. Under these conditions your feet will be slightly larger than if you were to measure them in the morning. Also, if at all possible, measure your feet every time you purchase new shoes. Your feet will change size and shape over time. Things such as weight gain or weight loss, such as in pregnancy, can change the length, width, and arch of your foot.

Now that you are armed with your foot measurement it’s time to figure out what size shoe you need. Unfortunately, this may not be as simple as it seems. Due to variances in how shoes are sized, the measurement is going to be a guide and not an absolute. It is however a great place to start. For example, the activity you are to use the shoe for may also affect the size you choose. Also, sizing will vary between manufacturers and in what country the shoe was made. The true key to finding the right shoes is how they feel on your feet. If the shoes are not comfortable, you probably won’t wear them.

Here are some tips for trying on shoes. The best place to shop for shoes is at a store where you can actually try different styles. Go window shopping and pick out several that you like. You may wish to purchase from an online supplier, but it is important to try shoes on to ensure the proper fit. There’s nothing wrong with trying on shoes at the retailer and then ordering online. When you visit the store, take the types of sock or stockings you would normally wear with the type of shoes for which you are shopping. If your shoe measurement did tell you that you have one foot larger than the other, buy shoes that fit the larger foot. You can always purchase an insole or other type of padding to correct the sizing in the other shoe. Make sure the shoes fit your heels and toes. The toe box (the area and the tip of the shoe where your toes rest) should provide plenty of wiggle room. Your toes should not be pushing against the end of the shoe, rather there should be about a half an inch or more worth of space. Next, go for a short walk around the store. If the shoe hurts in the least, it will be only be magnified on longer walk. For most shoes you don’t want very much heel slippage. This rule is especially true for lace-ups, flats (including men’s slip on dress shoes) and boots. The heels should never slip more than an inch. If they do the shoes are too large for your feet. High heels and pumps should fit snugly and securely. If not, you could really hurt yourself! Finally, don’t believe the adage that a shoe can be broken in. For the most part, this is a total misconception. Shoes should fit when you try them on.

Once you have established that you a particular brand or style, you can often find additional pairs or styles of shoes online less expensively. It’s important to shop around. Also remember that there may be an additional shipping charge, so make sure you are getting a true deal by buying on the web.

Conversely, some manufacturers and online retailers to compete with brick and mortar stores, provide a flat shipping fee so that you can order more than one style and size of shoe and return the ones that don’t suit your purposes. If you wear a hard to find size, online shopping may be your only option.

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