Footwear plays a large role in the
development of foot and toe problems such as
calluses and corns, and
hammer, claw, and mallet toes. Shoes that don't fit
properly make these conditions worse and more painful. But wearing the right shoes may help keep foot problems from becoming worse.
A comfortable, well-fitted shoe offers you
the best chance of:
Relieving pain in the foot or toe that is
caused by a deformity or joint problem.
Preventing a foot or toe
problem from getting worse.
Preventing a toe joint
problem from returning after corrective surgery.
Before shopping for shoes for your foot
problem, ask your foot doctor for recommendations.
For some people, the
only acceptable option is a sandal or athletic shoe that doesn't rub on an
existing bunion, callus or corn, or hammer, claw, or mallet toe. You may also be able to have a cobbler make changes to your shoes to make them more comfortable. But most
people will be able to find a shoe that causes little or no pain and allows
them to function.
Before shopping for new footwear, ask your foot doctor for recommendations specific to your needs.
the following when shopping for footwear:
Try on shoes at the end of the day, when your
feet are at their largest due to normal swelling.
If you have shoe
orthotics, bring them with you to test them out in
Shoe size, especially width, may change with age.
Having both feet measured ensures a good fit and identifies which foot is
larger. Fit your shoes according to how the larger foot feels in the
Stand during the fitting process to get an accurate sense of
Walk around the store to make sure that the shoe fit feels
If a shoe feels right but isn't your normal size, pay
attention to how it feels. Ignore shoe size.
You should not have to
"break in" shoes if they fit properly.
If a particular shoe fits
snugly, the clerk may be able to stretch the shoe for a better fit.
When shopping for the right fit, look for:
A low heel. Avoid high-heeled, narrow, or
pointed-toe shoes. High-heeled shoes increase pressure on the front of the foot
and on the toe joints. If you cannot avoid wearing pumps or high-heeled shoes,
choose shoes with heels that are no more than
2 in. (5 cm)
A wide and deep toe box (the area that surrounds the toes).
There should be about
0.5 in. (1.3 cm) of space
between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. You should be able to wiggle
your toes in your shoes.
A rigid yet cushioned heel counter that
keeps your foot from slipping out of the shoe.
A flexible sole that
allows your toes to bend as you walk.
A shoe that allows the ball
of your foot to fit snugly into the widest part of the shoe.
lace-up shoe rather than a slip-on shoe. Athletic shoes are a good
Shoes that breathe when your feet sweat. Avoid plastic or
Shoes that do not have seams that may rub against or
irritate the skin over your foot problem.
Wear sandals or soft-leather flat shoes or
slippers, or buy an inexpensive pair of cloth shoes and cut a hole over the
Go barefoot as much as possible (or just wear a
sock) unless you have
peripheral arterial disease or other conditions that
decrease the feeling in your feet. People who have these conditions and have
limited or no sensation in their feet are encouraged not to go barefoot, because
unnoticed injuries to their feet are more likely to become infected.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.