We often have patients ask, “How do I buy the right shoes?” Great question, and there is more to it than you think. Of course, find the shoe you like – the price, fit, color, brand, form, function and style that you want, but don’t stop there! Make sure that shoe is right for you!

When you buy shoes, your feet are going to work toward the way the shoe works, not the other way around. Don’t think “I’ll just break the shoe in and then it will work right.” That’s not true.  Your foot and ankle are going to do what the shoes does. So if the shoe doesn’t work for you up front, you could be in trouble.

  • First, Check the Structure of the shoe! Every brand of shoe has some inconsistencies in manufacturing. Put the shoe on a flat surface and check the back of the shoe. Is it level? Does each shoe look the same? Does either tilt inward or outward?
  • Next, Check the Pattern on the bottom of the shoe. The pattern provides the bend in the shoe. Does the shoe bend in the same place where your foot bends? Does the shoe fit your toe box? Otherwise, the shoe will stress your toes or your midfoot.
  • Then Check the Movement of the shoe. Torque the shoe. Does it torque well in and out?
  • Check the Heel-Toe Flow! Put the shoe on the ground and tap the toe of the shoe. What happens when the shoe lands? Does it tilt when it lands? If the shoe inherently tilts when it lands, it may cause you to hurt yourself.

After you check the Structure, the Pattern, the Movement, and the Flow, find the best right and left shoe. You may need a right shoe from one box and a left shoe from another box to find the best- manufactured pair and retest.

The final test is the Elbow Flexion test. With your shoes on, put your elbows at your side, your arms out, and your palms facing up. Have a friend push down on your arms. How is your balance? Sometimes shoes may fit right, but they still don’t provide a good base support for your particular body. If you’re able to stay strong and stable with the elbow flexion test, then you’ve found yourself a good pair of shoes! If you’re unstable and fall forward with the Elbow Flexion test, you need to find another pair of shoes. Your balance will be thrown off, and you are at risk for being injured.

We hope this helps you know how to buy shoes! We’ve had patients bring a whole bag of their shoes to their appointment and have us test their shoes with them to make sure they have shoes that provide a good base support for their body. We’re happy to help you in any way we can!

Check out our Facebook Live video demonstration of buying shoes:  CLICK HERE.