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Putting Your Right Shoe Forward

August 31, 2021

by Caron Blitz

Just like putting the right tires on your car, wearing walking or running shoes that fit properly is critical to a safe and comfortable ride. Here’s a checklist to help you shop at local stores where you’ll find fit experts that will “knock your socks off." 

What to look for

You don’t need to be a marathon runner to benefit from the investment in a good shoe.

First, think about where you walk or run—whether it’s on pavement, a hiking trail or treadmill.

Then consider how your body reacts to exercise. Do you experience leg or back pain? What happens to your toes and ankles when you walk?

Shoes today are engineered with research identifying which models are best depending on use, anatomy and preferred comfort. And with so many choices comes a host of styles, so you can be fashionable and comfortable.

Mayo Clinic Best Fit Tips

According to the Mayo Clinic, your shoes should conform to the shape of your feet. Your feet should never be forced to conform to the shape of a pair of shoes.

  • Wear the same socks you'll wear when walking or take the socks with you to the store.
  • Shop for shoes after you've been walking for a while, and later in the day, when your feet are at their largest.
  • Buy shoes at an athletic shoe store with professional fitters or at a store where you have lots of options.
  • Ask the salesperson to measure both feet, measure them yourself, or have a friend or family member help you. Measure your feet each time you buy shoes, because your foot size can change gradually over years. Stand while your foot is measured to get the most accurate measurement.
  • If one foot is larger than the other, try on a pair that fits your larger foot.
  • Try on both shoes and check the fit. Wiggle your toes. If you don't have at least a half-inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe — approximately the width of your finger — try a larger size.
  • Be sure the shoe is wide enough. The side-to-side fit of the shoe should be snug, not tight. Women with wide feet might consider men's or boys' shoes, which are cut a bit larger through the heel and the ball of the foot.
  • Walk in the shoes before buying them. They should feel comfortable right away. Make sure your heel fits snugly in each shoe and doesn't slip as you walk.

Local Shoe Fit Experts

Road Runner Sports offers a 3D foot scan that takes “6 critical measurements in just 7 seconds.” To find your perfect fit, they even offer custom insoles. You can schedule an appointment for a personalized fit. Ask about the 20% discount offered online.

3232 Lake Ave. in Edens Plaza, Wilmette, 847.251.1900

Fleet Feet combines a 3D foot scan with a mapping system to assess your foot’s path of motion and stride as you walk. You can schedule an appointment for a personalized fit.

800 Waukegan Rd., Deerfield, 847.945.2929

New Balance North Shore

610 Central Ave. in Port Clinton Square, Highland Park, 847.266.8323

As a 60+ Savvy Shopper living in Riverwoods, Caron Blitz gets what folks our age look for in products and is always on the look-out for “fun finds” and the best values. For future columns, she’d love to hear what you, The Shopper, would like us to feature. If you are a retailer, let us know what special products and services you offer for older adults: SavvyShopperColumn@gmail.com