Give Foot Problems the Boot by Choosing the Right Boots
Dr. Tyson Green, Podiatric Specialist
Suede or leather? Knee or ankle? Classic or contemporary? Rain or snow? Gray, black or brown?
Boots are one of the hottest fashion trends. But with the wide range of styles, materials and colors to choose from, choosing the perfect pair can be a challenge. It's worth taking your time with your decision. Don't sacrifice comfort for style. Careful consideration of your options can prevent discomfort and even painful foot injuries. When it comes to boots, you should always put your feet first.
Here are some shopping guidelines for finding a comfortable pair – or pairs – of boots that will allow you months of pain-free wear:
CHOOSE: Natural materials like leather that allow proper airflow and keep feet dry
AVOID: Synthetic materials that trap in heat and moisture
CHOOSE: A natural, flexible material with as wide a toe as possible
AVOID: Wearing for long periods of time - narrow toe can cause blistered and cramped toes
CHOOSE: A lower or stacked heel for support
AVOID: Narrow and / or very high heels which transfer weight onto the ball of the foot, resulting in pain and numbness
CHOOSE: A heel no more than two inches in height and plan on standing / walking in these for only short periods of time
AVOID: High, narrow heels which, combined with the lack of ankle support can cause imbalance
CHOOSE: Styles with arch supports or add cushioned arch supports
AVOID: Rigid shapes which limit natural foot movement and provide no arch support
CHOOSE: Rubber soled styles with grooves for proper traction
AVOID: Smooth, slick soles
General Boot Shopping Tips:
- Have feet measured regularly when shopping for boots or shoes. Your foot size can change throughout your life.
- Keep in mind that your boot size may not fit the same in all styles and brands.
- Try boots on in the afternoon because feet tend to swell during the day.
- Most feet are not the exact same size, but you should always buy for the larger foot.
- Carry an insole when boot shopping in case a pair lack the proper arch support.
- Boots should feel comfortable when tried on in the store, there shouldn't be a "break-in" period.
- A boot constructed of natural materials, like leather, will keep feet dry and comfortable during the winter months.
- Choose a boot with plenty of toe room, a firm heel counter and traction to ensure stability.