This is a collaborative post.
Although going out to shop for a new pair of shoes can be exciting, it can also be quite a
daunting task. You don’t just buy any old footwear if you have a specific activity (like a
sport or a job) that needs a little bit of extra love for your feet!
Footwear manufacturers do make it clear what a shoe is designed for; running, hiking or
walking, just to name a few, but when problems do arise, they are can be as a result of
operator error. In plain and simple English this means that people buy the shoes because they
like them, and not because of the job they are designed for. But a shoe is just a shoe, isn’t it?
What do you want it to do?
Shoes love having jobs! You wouldn’t use a coffee grinder to crush ice, so why wear a running
shoe to go hiking? Running shoes are lightweight and flexible, and need to be able to withstand
the impact that running has on the joints. While it will function as a foot covering for activities
such as hiking, it will not be able to deliver on the aspects that make for good hiking shoes. You
won’t get the solidity, support, traction or robustness that good hiking shoes would offer. If
performance is what you’re after, go job-specific.
Tempting as walking into one of the Nike stores may be, remember that buying the wrong shoe
at a great price is more expensive than buying the right shoe at full price! Wearing the wrong
shoes has a lot of unpleasant consequences, that could include pains, aches, alignment
issues, cramping and backache.
If you live a life that keeps you on your feet, you need support and cushioning, and this is not
negotiatble! The perfect shoes should keep your feet comfortable, safe and protected.
How do I know the pair I like is right?
One of the best shoe-buying tips you will ever receive, is to try out new shoes towards the end
of the day. By this time, your feet will have become naturally swollen after a day’s work, and
you are guaranteed that your shoes will not pinch you once your feet start swelling, if you try
them on in this state.
Don’t just sit on a chair and put them on, instead walk around and get a feeling for the construction of
the shoe. Orthopedic inserts can also help a lot in creating the perfect fit and comfort!
So now what?
Although the selection of shoes in a shop environment can be positively overwhelming (looking
at you, Nike sales counter!), don’t cut yourself short by not doing your research properly. Pay
attention to online reviews, and aim for a shoe that not only attends to the structural and
supportive needs of the activity you are buying them for, but also a pair that provides
cushioning and protection where you need it!