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Do you have a spring in your step? Make sure your footwear is up to the task

Josée Gingras of The Stride Clinic discusses good footwear for getting active this spring

The weather is changing and spring is finally in the air. With the warmer weather comes increased activity for many. According to Josée Gingras, the Lead Pedorthist at The Stride Clinic, now is a great time to assess your footwear to make sure that you can step out with confidence.

“People start getting out and walking more when the weather is fair. It is a great time of year to really inspect your shoes to make sure that you don’t get injured when you increase your activity,” says Josée.

Give Your Shoes a Good Inspection

Shoes don’t last forever and Josée suggests giving them a good once over to make sure they are still doing their jobs.

“Check to see if the upper is deviated one way or another. Do the left and right look worn symmetrically? Have the sole and insole worn evenly compared with the other shoe? Are there any holes in the insole?” she asks. “If your shoes are wearing out unevenly, it can be a useful clue that you should visit a pedorthist for an assessment.”

Shopping for the Right Shoe

If it is time for new shoes, Josée has a few tips:

  • Make sure to check your shoe size each time you buy shoes. As we age, feet can seem to get bigger because the ligaments loosen. This makes the foot wider and longer.
  • Make sure your toes do not touch the end of the shoe when you are walking.
  • Your foot should not bulge over the midsole.
  • Regular width for men is D, wide is 2E or 3E, extra wide is 4E or 5E; regular width for women is B, wide is D, extra wide is 2E; some shoes come in extra-extra wide M 6E and W 4E.
  • Do not go up in length in order to accommodate a wider foot. This causes the shoe to not fit properly.
  • Elastic laces and a long shoehorn are great solutions for those who need a little help to get their shoes on.
  • Orthotics work best in new shoes that haven’t been broken down yet.
  • Make sure you wear the right shoe for the type of activity you want to do. This improves safety and can help to increase your performance.
  • Many sneakers have a thick midsole and a big rocker, which has both performance and orthopaedic benefits, but it has to fit properly for the shoe to rock you forward properly.

Specialty Features for Specific Foot Issues

Depending on the shape and condition of your foot, there are different types of shoes that can help to increase comfort while you are active. As Josée explains, shoes with a stretchy upper are good for rigid deformities like hammer toes and crossover toes. If you have lots of swelling in the top of your foot, look for shoes that don’t have seams or a sewn in tongue.

“Modifications can be done to an off-the-shelf shoe to customize it to support your foot better. Another option is custom footwear. Though they can be expensive, they can be a life-changing solution for those who cannot comfortably wear an off-the-shelf shoe,” explains Josée.

Regardless of whether you are increasing your activity this spring a little or a lot, it is important to pay attention to your feet and legs. If your shoes are wearing unevenly or you are uncomfortable, a visit to the pedorthist is probably in order.

“We can assess your feet and lower limbs and help you to feel great as you get active this spring,” says Josée. “You don’t have to suffer through foot pain. We can help!”

For more information about choosing the best shoes for your feet and activity or to schedule an assessment, visit The Stride Clinic online.

For the Barrie clinic, call (705) 735-1013 or for the Orillia clinic, call (705) 326-5808.

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This article was sponsored by The Stride Clinic, a 2023 BarrieToday Reader Favourite.