It’s always a puzzle- you are at the shoe store and wonder, “will one of these shoes become my all time favorite or will I get stuck with a pair that pinches and is seldom worn? ” How to know? Do you try for trendy/stylish only to end up with a pair that looks exactly like all of the other shoes you own? It’s true, a perfect pair will compliment your clothing, be so comfortable they can be worn all day and will last for several seasons. Unfortunately, I have learned about shoes the hard way (with many unfortunate choices). My test for a perfect shoe is that I can stand at NPR for 8 hours and not be tired or sore at the end of the day. If I follow my guidelines and don’t get lured into the shoe “honey trap”, I know I will be happy. Definitely, time should be spent looking for shoes that are perfect.
Fit is King
- Know your feet and follow the shape of your foot with the shape of the shoe. Make a tracing of your foot. Place any shoe that has caught your eye on top of the tracing. If the shoe is narrower or shorter than the tracing, don’t even try it on. Re-measure your feet (both) every year or so. They do change in width and length.
- Try on your shoes with the type off socks you will be wearing.
- For summer, I love the Smartwool moisture wicking fabric in no-show socks.
- The shoe should fit snugly, without being tight. If your feet slide around too much, your legs will tire more easily and the chances of tripping go up. Avoid too tight- most people’s feet naturally swell at the end of the day.
- For that reason, it is best to shop for shoes in the afternoon.
- Rubber soles provide the most comfort because the thicker sole provides more insulation.
- Shoes with good arch support are a must.
- Find a heel height that works for your feet and your back and stick with it. Flats aren’t necessarily the most comfortable- low heels are versatile and great for all day walking.
- Wear new shoes at home for at least an hour. Be sure that there aren’t any areas that pinch or rub. If there is a “hot spot” and you LOVE the shoes, you can place a cotton ball saturated in rubbing alcohol on the spot and walk around for awhile while the leather stretches. The alcohol won’t damage the leather.
- Shoes from Europe or Israel are usually the most comfortable. There is much more walking in European cities and the manufacturers know how to make shoes that are stylish and don’t hurt. Shop sales because these “comfort” shoes are pricey.
- Sandals, sneakers, Mary Janes, pumps and wedges (maybe a clog) are your best bets for summer and will go with most of your clothes.
- Black, white and neutrals (metallics) are the most versatile colors, but…
- Don’t shirk color- yellow, orange or red shoes can add a pop of color to a classic wardrobe.
- Nude shoes help elongate your leg and work with tricky colors that you don’t want to match
- Everyone should have a sandal with a supportive sole, adjustable straps and a look that appeals to you. Sandals can be worn with shorts, crops, skirts and skinny jeans. Avoid a shoe with thick straps for more versatility.
- Slip on sneakers or sleek athletic wear designs can be worn with narrow or straight legged pants. Avoid the style with skirts or dresses. The new sleeker sneakers look chic and provide comfort and support.
- Mary Janes are probably the easiest style to transition from day-to-evening. They look good with capris, full length pants and skirts.
- Pumps or block heels dress up capris, full length pants and skirts.
- Wedges are useful and look good with most summer styles- a good way to have both height and comfort.
- Open-toes Booties are very stylish and look good with skirts, wide legged pants and skinny jeans, but this style is an “add-on” (not a basic). Same goes for Gladiators or Stilettos.
- Ankle straps can be challenging. Besides potentially causing your foot to swell, the broken line on your ankle “cuts off your leg” and can make your legs look thicker and shorter.
- Maintain a good pedicure if you are wearing sandals or open toed shoes.
- Avoid anything that looks too heavy for lightweight summer clothing. When picking styles, remember the “like to like” rule.
- Heel heights are an individual preference, but avoid styles that will wreck your feet and compromise your back.
- If you have healthy feet and shapely legs, embrace your good fortune.
- Your budget is always a deciding factor- buy the best styles you can afford. Quality counts in footwear. Definitely shop sales.