When did you last have your feet measured for shoes? You might not have had this done since you were a child or teen, when the practice is more common because the feet are still growing. Foot measurement for adults while shoe shopping used to be common, but it has become something of a historical relic except in higher-end stores. However, precise measurement helps prevent problems caused by wearing the wrong shoe size.
The Way It Used to Be
Decades ago, shoe shops generally weren't self-serve stores where customers sorted through boxes of footwear and tried on sizes they expected would fit. Instead, a salesperson carefully measured both feet with a basic mechanical device. This sales rep then would bring out shoes that the customer had expressed interest in after seeing samples on the shelves.
After the shoes were on, the sales rep manually evaluated the fit, and the customer walked around for a minute or two to decide whether they felt comfortable. If the fit wasn't quite right, the process would be repeated with a different size.
Only after all these steps would a customer know the right size shoe to buy.
The Problem With Self-Serve Shops
Even in self-serve stores, you may be able to find a foot gauge to measure your feet. People aren't likely to use them, however. Instead, they generally choose the size they've worn over the past several years and try one shoe on for a minute or two. If it's definitively uncomfortable, the customer will probably look for a shoe that's a half-size smaller or larger and buy that one. They might never imagine they actually should change to a full size larger or to a wide size.
Unfortunately, poorly fitting shoes can lead to problems such as corns, calluses, bunions, tissue inflammation, damaged toenails and general foot pain.
Feet Change Size
Adults often think they don't need foot measurement because their feet have stopped growing. However, feet tend to get longer and wider as a person ages. That's because feet get flatter as tendons and ligaments become less elastic. In addition, women tend to develop flatter -- and thus larger -- feet during pregnancy, and that change is permanent.
The next time you need shoes, go to a store that employs customer service reps to help shoppers. Get your feet measured and choose shoes in a more technical way than you normally would. If you have already developed foot problems, consult a podiatrist for assistance before you got shoe shopping. This foot doctor will measure your feet, treat your foot conditions and help you decide on footwear that will prevent future problems. To learn more, visit www.betterfootcareohio.com.