With an upcoming class centered on foot pain, that I am co-teaching, I shall dive head first into shoes. First off feet aren't supposed to look like shoes. If you look at a babies foot you will see that feet are big at the toes, not pointed. If you look at an adult who hasn't worn shoes most of their lives you will see that feet are huge. Feet are the size of your forearm as Julia Roberts points out in Pretty Woman. (See my post on triangles)
Ideally toes should spread apart 1/4inch between each toe. Practice toes spreading, my boss once said that this allows for miracles to enter your life. Who couldn't use more miracles? And if you can get them by spreading your toes hey! I'll take some.
So I digress, shoes... There are 4 important factors to choosing a good shoe.
1. Toe box room, the shoe should be wide enough in the toes area that the sides of the shoe do not push on your toes at all. To get this measurement right the best thing to do is trace your foot at the end of the day and cut it out and put it in shoes. If the paper folds the toe box is too small.
2. Flexibility, the shoe should bend. Not just at the toes but in the arch area as well. It doesn't have to bend a great deal, it just needs to move. If this area of your foot is not allowed to bend, that is all your digestive reflexes being held hostage. Most shoes today have a metal shank in them which is one of the reasons we have to remove our shoes at airports now. Metal is bad! The foot needs to flex while walking. Metal is only good if you are a construction worker and are liable to have heavy things fall on your feet and smash them.
3. Heels. Where do I start? Do I start with the appalling fact that heels have been linked to breast cancer since 1948? Or how about the fact that it throws your neck forward, your low back collapses and your spine is whacked out of alignment from top to bottom. Maybe I'll start with the fact that you can't freaking walk in the bloody things without over using all your muscles so you're more tired at the end of the day. Or how about the lovely toe distortion they provide, causing millions of people bunions and ugly deformed feet. Heels for partied a big yes, heels for daily use... Well I've said my piece.
4. Strap on or tie on. Your shoes must attach to your feet, if they don't you will walk around all day long with tension in your toes caused by gripping the shoe so you don't kick it off. If you are amazing you can learn to relax your toes while wearing flip flops, but it takes practice and concentration. People who wear backless shoes or flip flops often don't do all three stages of walking which causes tension in the spine and and over/under stimulation of certain reflexes. My suggestion buy the strappy sandals instead of the flip flops. And make sure the slip on shoes are firmly attached to your feet or buy a style with a strap.
Proper shoe measurement is a lost art form: there are 3 measurements. Heel to toe, width measured in A,B,C,D,E,EE and arch length which is measured from your heel to the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint. Measure your feet at the end of the day, when they are spread out. Make sure your shoe salemans does all three or see if your local reflexologist has a measuring device.
Never "break in" a shoe, if it doesn't fit now it never will, you are in effect breaking down your feet not breaking in the shoe. Your feet will shift before the shoe does, causing bones to move out of alignment and eventually pain in the body.