Before I started working at Schuler Shoes, my requirements for picking out shoes was limited to two things:
- Are they cute?
- Are they on sale?
While I still think that these are extremely important factors when looking for shoes, I have picked up on a few bits of shoe knowledge that I would love to share.
In my role at Schuler Shoes, I work closely with our In-store Board Certified Pedorthists and also work on building relationships with the medical and wellness community. We talk A LOT about building a healthy foundation from your feet up. Knowledge of proper footwear and how to keep your feet healthy was sure to stick in my brain at some point, right?
Here are a few tips that I have learned along the way and thought you might be interested as well.
Most of us are walking around in the wrong size shoe!! Isn’t that crazy?! It makes sense though, as most shoe stores no longer take the time to measure your feet. Yes, we all want to wear the same size (of something) that we wore in high school, but feet change many times throughout your life. If you are experiencing foot pain, the cure could be as simple as having your feet re-measured. You might just be wearing a shoe that is too small. Schuler Shoes is proud to be a “sit and fit” model shoe store, so our sales staff is trained to measure your feet each time you visit our store.
Avoid wearing the same shoe everyday. Rotate your shoes as often as possible to extend the life of your shoes and avoid quickly breaking down the support in your shoes. There are more technical reasons that I couldn’t remember, so I called Siobhan Heaton, Manager of our Maple Grove Schuler Shoes location. Siobhan shared with me that wearing different styles (slides, clogs, tennis shoes, etc) of shoes each day encourages your feet to use different muscles, keeping your feet strong and healthy. She also let me know that if you wear the same shoe each day, your shoes don’t get a chance to properly dry out (even if they don’t feel wet, they are). This can speed up the breakdown of the shoe and encourages bacteria in the shoe (that is why shoes can often times be stinky).
Change throughout your day. Our very own Shelley Lawrence from our Har Mar store changes her shoes at least once a day while at work. I visited Shelley at the store the other day and she has at least 6 or 7 pairs of shoes in her office (see below). Shelley explained to me that she is on her feet all day and by changing her shoes, she is changing her muscle dynamic. By changing into a new style of shoe, she gives her feet a chance to refresh and gives certain muscles in her feet a chance to rest and work new muscles.
Shelley’s Back Up Shoes
One in every color. As sad as it is, this also goes for buying the same shoe in every color. I know, I know. You love them and you want them in every color. I completely understand. But, I am told that you want to wear different TYPES of shoes. Plus, you know that by purchasing the same shoe in every color, you increase your chance of wearing a blue and black shoe to work, right?
Flip-flops can often times be a flop. Traditional flip-flops (while cute and offer a laid back look in warm weather) are very hard on your feet and body…no matter how young or old you are. They offer very little support, protection and because they are so flimsy, can often time cause falls and/or toe injuries. Flip-flops have been and continue to be very popular. To be honest, my fashion forward 6 year old would be sad if we didn’t pick up the occasional fancy flip-flop from one of her favorite clothing stores, but now I do try to buy my kids supportive sandals as well. I can’t say that they will choose to wear them the majority of the time, which is fine, but at least they have an option to rotate in a supportive sandal. We do carry a wide variety of popular sandals that offer excellent support and even carry styles with toe protection.
Hardwood is hard on your body. As beautiful as hardwood, stone and tile can be, if you have it in your home, think about investing in house shoes or slippers with support. While it is good to go barefoot once in a while to strengthen the muscles in the feet, it is also important to support your foot structure on hard surfaces. A house shoe or slipper with a cork footbed is great, as it molds to the shape of the foot and can offer wonderful support to the feet and body on those hard surfaces.
Barefoot running shoes are very popular. If you are interested in buying barefoot running shoes or minimalist running shoes, proceed with caution. Work into these slowly. You will want to wear them around for short spurts at first. Get used to them. If you are a seasoned runner, only run in them a mile or two to start. You will need to gradually build up the muscles that these shoes are meant to engage before hitting the trails on your normal long runs.
Treat your feet right. I suppose the final and probably most important thing would be that people don’t wear the proper footwear. There are many reasons for this (quality footwear is expensive, wrong size, wrong style, wrong width, etc). Many times cheap shoes, poorly made shoes or shoes that don’t fit correctly are the cause of body aches, back pain, foot pain and more. Our feet are the foundation to our entire body. We need to take good care of them. Take time to have your feet measured (we wil measure them for you). Invest in good, well made shoes. You and your feet are worth it. Building a healthy foundation from your feet up will keep you moving in the right direction for years to come.