Is shoe fitting as easy as standing on a Brannock device?
Not at Walk’n Shoes!
The staff at Walk’n Shoes has been fitting shoes for over 30 years and we’ve learned the nuances that will make the difference between comfort and complete comfort. We have fit nearly all types of foot problems and abnormalities and can accommodate any situation from foot orthotics and AFO’s to Prosthetic limbs.
We know that shoes are going to fit differently depending on the foot size, shape, thickness, arch shape, flexibility, use of shoes, and various other considerations. We also know that the same size shoe may vary slightly due to mass manufacturing, and we must be able to rely on our experience to insure a “best fit” scenario for our customers.
How Do I Know What Shoe Fits Best?
No two pair of feet are the same. In fact, no individual’s two feet are exactly alike! Therefore, reaching the perfect shoe fit is our responsibility. We invite you to browse your site to gain an understanding of proper shoe fitting and explain why you should leave the fit of the shoes up to professionals like us.
Proper Length Fitting
The first step upon standing is to check the overall length of the shoe in relation to the foot inside. There is no scientific space between end of toe and end of shoe, but the rule of thumb is between 3/8″ and 5/8.” We take into consideration foot expansion upon weightbearing and factors like climate as well.
Proper Heel to Ball Fitting
The next fit check is from heel to the ball of the foot. We want to insure that the natural location at which the foot bends is positioned where the shoe has been designed to bend. If these two don’t line up, then excessive pressure will be placed on both the foot and the shoe, resulting in foot discomfort and unintended shoe wear.
Keeping in mind that feet are also differently proportioned, additional allowances must be made for circumstances when the foot may be longer in the toes or shorter in the toes in relation to the heel to ball fit. These adjustments are not scientific, but more of an art, accomplished by experienced shoe fitters.
Proper Ball Width Fitting
Being fit with a shoe that is not wide enough can cause a variety of problems, such as corns, metatarsal pain, as well as foot dysfunction.
The ball width fit is challenging in another sense because the foot has three different widths at the ball: foot at rest, foot on weightbearing, and foot under conditions of heat, humidity, and moisture. The shoe, fitted with one width, must provide proper width fit under these conditions. Here again, it is a matter of experience and judgment in selecting the width. The best fit is the one that works well in all three conditions.
When evaluating the proper width, we look for the foot to fit flat in the shoe and to able to spread out naturally inside. If there is a bunion on the big toe or little toe, going wider is not the answer because it will cause the heel to be too loose. In cases of bunions, we may spot stretch these areas in order to take the pressure off the toes and still give us a snug heel fit.
Proper Topline Fitting
The top rim of the shoe should fit snugly against the foot with very little gapping at the side. The ankle should be clear of rubbing and if not, we would suggest either choosing a different shoe with a lower heel counter or putting a small heel lift in the shoe to take the pressure off the ankle.
Proper Arch Fitting
The arch area should hug closely to the foot. In the event of a dysfunctional foot, one might consider an arch support added to the shoe, which will usually remedy any arch issues.
Proper Heel Fitting
The heel fit should be snug in order to stabilize the foot at heel when walking. We also check the top to make sure that the shoe doesn’t bite into the Achilles Tendon. Again, this is more of an art than a science for the shoe fitter.
Proper Throat Fitting
A shoe’s throat is the entry point for the foot into the rest of the shoe. We must be sure the throat is not too tight, which can cut off blood circulation to the toes and cause uncomfortable sensations of numbness or tingling in the toes, plus swelling around the ankle and instep. There must be ample throat room to move forward during both the standing and walking actions.
Proper Volume Fitting
People traditionally think of fit in terms length and width. Professional fitters know that volume fit is every bit as important as traditional size fit. We constantly deal with a wide range of foot types: fleshy, bony, stocky, muscular, spready, etc. Each presents its own challenge. If the volume fit is not as accurate as the conventional fits of length and width, we will not have a proper fit, which will result in inefficient shoe performance and discomfort.
Finally, after all aspects of the shoe fit have been checked, we ask our customers to walk around and express any uncomfortable feelings to the fitter. This will help the fitter to determine if a different size should be tried, or if an adjustment should be made, or whether to bring a pedorthist into the fitting to determine if a dysfunction of the foot is occurring causing the shoe to be uncomfortable.
Foot Orthosis Fittings
The fitting of a shoe with a foot orthosis is basically the same as fitting the shoe to the foot. All the same parameters must be assessed and just like fitting a shoe to a foot, some styles and shapes of shoes may work better than others. The professional shoe fitter will guide you in the same manner as a traditional fitting.
One Final Note
We at Walk’n Shoes are aware of all of the variables that go into a proper fitting pair of shoes. We are flexible with the fit so as to reach a proportional fit to the foot. Our trained and experienced shoe fitters have been fitting feet and recommending the proper shoe and size since 1987. We invite you to come into our store and experience the true comfort of a properly fit pair of shoes.