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How to Buy Shoes: Shoe Buying Tips

Updated on April 2, 2014

How Do Your Shoes Fit

Do the majority of your shoes fit comfortably, or do you have to squeeze in to painful shoes.

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The Wrong Way to Buy Shoes

Shoe buying is a necessity in our lives as we need to have the right pair of shoes for every occasion whether it be for a wedding, work or the gym. Unfortunately people are unaware of how to properly buy shoes and typically buy shoes that are not a good fit for their specific needs or their specific foot type.

Here is the basic run down of how to buy shoes, the WRONG WAY:

  1. Go into the store
  2. Find a pair you like
  3. Try on different sizes
  4. Walk around in the shoes
  5. Decide if the shoes are too tight or too loose
  6. Settle on a pair that doesn't fit and are uncomfortable
  7. Go home with painful shoes that will have detrimental problems to your overall foot health and foot foundation

Don't buy shoes the wrong way! Take your time and try the shoes on, your feet will thank you for the extra time and diligence that you have taken to care for them.

How To Buy Shoes Video

The Right Way to Buy Shoes

Everyone knows that shopping for clothes is a difficult task in itself, but shopping for shoes is an entirely different monster that must be properly addressed. By being knowledgeable about shoe purchases, this will improve the overall population of foot health, thus reducing present and future foot problems. Here is a four step, quick and simple guide that will help you to determine how to properly purchase a pair of shoes for your feet.

How To Buy Shoes

Don't Buy Shoes Just Because They're On Sale
Don't Buy Shoes Just Because They're On Sale

Step 1: Be Aware of Your Budget

Shop with a plan and shop with a purpose. Go in to the store with an idea of what you plan on buying. If you're looking for business casual shoes, don't get distracted by a plethora of other shoes that are on sale on the clearance rack.

If you already own three pairs of black dress shoes and you see a great deal for a pair of black dress shoes that are similar in style to the ones you already own, discipline yourself and pass up that offer. Just because there is a sale or the price of the shoe is a great deal does not mean you need to buy them...impulse buying is not smart shopping and prevents you from purchasing what you really need. Keep a list of shoes and styles that you're looking for and stick to the list; you'll thank yourself later!

Shoe Shopping with Swollen Feet

How your foot looks when shoe shopping at the end of the day.
How your foot looks when shoe shopping at the end of the day.

Step 2: End of the Day Shopping

When buying shoes, it is best to go shoe shopping at the end of the day to determine which shoes will fit your feet the best. Your hands and more specifically your feet tend to swell throughout the day as blood circulates through the body. The level of swelling in the foot is most extreme at the end of the day.

If you purchase a pair of shoes in the beginning of the day and they seem to be a good fit, it may not be the case by the end of the day. The shoe can end up being a tighter fit which will cause immediate pain, discomfort and long term foot pain. When shopping for shoes, make sure to go at the end of the day to ensure that shoes will have the best possible fit ensuring superior comfort from the start of the day to the end.

Water Test to Determine Arch Type

Step 3: Know Your Arch Type

All shoes are made differently and are built on different lasts to accommodate different foot types and more specifically, different arch types. Trying to find a comfortable pair of shoes that fit is extremely difficult if you don't know your foot and arch type. Narrow feet tend to have higher arches while wider feet have lower arches.

A quick and easy way to determine your arch type is the water test; simply wet the bottom of your foot and step on a paper bag or a piece of cardboard. Take a look at the wet parts and see what areas of the foot come in contact with the surface.

  • High arches tend to have a large portion of the middle segment missing
  • Neutral arches show about half of the foot
  • Flat feet or low arches have a large portion or majority of the foot showing

Arch Types of the Foot

Different arch types
Different arch types | Source

Step 4: Try on Different Sizes

In order to find the best fitting pair of shoes, podiatrists and shoe fitters have advised consumers to try on three different sizes. When trying on shoes, first try on the shoe size that you normally wear and then go up a half size and down a half size. For instance if you wear a size 11, you should also try on a size 10.5 and a size 11.5 to determine which size is the best fit.

Make sure to walk around in all three different sizes and be sure to listen to what your feet are telling you as they will inform you what shoe size is the best fit for that particular shoe. If you are uncertain about sizing, podiatrsits recommend going up a half size larger as the extra space can often be filled with over the counter insoles or prescription orthotics.

Go Buy Some Shoes!

Now that you know the proper way to buy shoes, go out and buy some! Just remember that shoe buying like any form of shopping can either be fun and enjoyable or a painful experience but with these four tips,it can be a pleasurable experience.

  1. Be aware of your budget and only buy what you set out to buy
  2. Make sure you go shoe shopping at the end of the day because feet tend to swell throughout the day
  3. Know your arch type to determine what type of shoe fits best for you
  4. Try on different sizes include a half size up and a half size down to determine the best fit

Hopefully with these shoe buying tips and a little bit of discipline, you'll have a comfortable pair of shoes for every occasion that provide cushioning, support and stand out style!

Comfortable Shoes

Gravity Defyer Men's G-Defy Super Walk Black White Athletic Shoes 10 W US
Gravity Defyer Men's G-Defy Super Walk Black White Athletic Shoes 10 W US

Gravity Defyer Super Walker - A shoe that has a spring in the heel to propel you forward and reduce heel shock!


Drew Shoes Womens Dora Sandal


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