A few weeks ago I was helping my sister, Roberta, pack for her – wow! – 10- week vacation to celebrate her retirement. Roberta has a history of foot problems and she once had to be in a wheelchair for part of a trip because of a broken bone in her foot.
That started me thinking about shoes, especially travel shoes. I’m getting ready for a trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and need to figure out what shoes to take. My usual go-to travel shoes are breaking down and no longer offer the necessary support. Their style has been discontinued, so I have to start all over again. Ugh. As much as I love shoes, I hate shoe shopping. I live in fear of buying shoes that are comfortable for ten minutes in the store, but make my feet miserable after an hour of walking. And of course I want to do many hours of walking in Indochina!
I came across some shoe-buying tips in one of my old newspaper stories and they are worth revisiting – for me and for you.
1. Don’t go shoe shopping in the morning. Wait until the afternoon. Our feet expand as the day goes on and they are also likely to swell in our hot and humid weather.
2. Wear the same hosiery you plan to wear with the shoes. The thickness of socks or thinness of pantyhose (yes, a few women still wear them) can make a big difference, perhaps even a size up or down.
3. Ask the salesperson to measure both feet. Almost everyone has one foot that’s larger or wider than the other. Buy the size that fits the larger foot.
4. Have your feet measured every time you go shopping for shoes. Feet can be kinda like boobs – changing with time of day, weight, hormones, weather, age – you name it.
5. When you stand in the shoes, make sure you have at least a quarter- or a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
6. Walk around in the shoes as much as you can. Try walking on different surfaces, both hard and soft, slick and carpeted. How do they feel?
- Do the heels fit snugly?
- Do the shoes pinch anywhere?
- Are they wide enough across the balls of the feet or do they squish some toes?
Don’t believe that “they just need to be broken in” or they will stretch over time. If they don’t fit from the start, walk – no, run – away from them.
7. Trust your own comfort level rather than a shoe’s size or description. Sizes vary widely from one manufacturer to another.
8. Check out the insides of the shoes to see if they have any seams, snags or tags that might irritate your feet or cause blisters.
9. Look at the soles of the shoes. Are they sturdy enough to provide protection from uneven surfaces and sharp objects? Do they provide adequate cushioning?
I think it’s important to buy shoes from someone you trust. I have found reliable assistance at Nordstrom and now that comfort shoes are increasingly important, I find Uyeda to be my best bet, especially for shoes I will travel in. They carry a lot of great comfort brands, such as Naot, Mephisto, Teva and Merrell.They just moved last week from their location of 58 years in University Square on S. King Street. Now they are right around the corner from their old location on University Avenue. It’s just makai of University Square.
– Paula Rath