The Ultimate Shoe Buying Guide

September 9, 2013

Have you ever met a girl who didn’t like shoe shopping? I don’t think I have. But sometimes us girls succumb to the aesthetic appeal of a pair of shoes without thinking about how badly our feet will be throbbing at the end of the night. Am I right? The good news is that there are shoes out there that can be cute and functional (and not make us wish we were walking barefoot instead)! Keep reading for my ultimate shoe shopping tips below!

Anatomy of a Shoe

1. Never, ever buy a pair of shoes without trying them on. I figure this is a no-brainer for most, but I just had to say it.

2. Never buy shoes that don’t fit, no matter how cute they are!

3. For flats: you may need to go up 1/2 or even one full size. For example, I usually wear an 8-8 1/2 in heels but I always wear at least a 9 in flats. This is because your foot is spread out more in a flat shoe.

4. For heels: always try on heels at the end of the day when you feet are the most swollen. This will give you an idea of what they will feel like after a long day (hint: they shouldn’t be tight or rub in any spots). A peep-toe heel will make your foot slide forward more, so try sizing down 1/2 size for a better fit. A slingback heel will give your foot more room in the back, which may cause the heel to slide off. Again, try sizing down 1/2 size for a better fit. In heels, your feet should never feel sausaged-in (not a word) nor should the heel be sliding off the back of your foot.

5. Synthetic materials tend to be extremely unforgiving and can tear up your feet. Suede and leather shoes will stretch after a few wears and will be infinitely more comfortable.

6. Arch support is very important in both flats and heels. If the arch in a heeled shoe is in the wrong place for your foot, it will cause foot pain due to pressure placed on the wrong spots.

7. Heels with some sort of platform are easier on the balls of your feet and are usually more comfortable. If you’re not into looking like you’re wearing platforms, try searching for a pump with a hidden platform (like these).

8. Sometimes, the shoe just doesn’t fit. If you’ve tried it on in multiple sizes and it still isn’t feeling comfortable, don’t buy it.

9. With both heels and flats, having enough room in the toe box is very important. Long-term wear of ill-fitting shoes that pinch your toes can cause foot problems such as bunions, ingrown toenails, and corns.

10. When trying shoes on, make sure to walk on both the carpeting and the tile in the store. Many shoe departments are carpeted because it is softer on your feet, but this may be misleading.

11. Never underestimate the power of a good cobbler. I got a pair of knee high leather boots last fall that were slightly tight in the calf area. For $12, my local cobbler gently stretched the leather out (without ruining them) and now they fit perfectly! Cobblers can also resole your favorite pair of shoes or add a rubber sole to slippery heels. Don’t forget to utilize them!

12. Finally, don’t be afraid to splurge on a quality pair of shoes. I sometimes tend to cheap-out on clothing, but I take my footwear very seriously and only buy truly quality shoes that will last a long time and are comfortable from the moment I try them on.

The 5 essential pairs of shoes every woman should have:

Let me know how your shoe shopping goes and if these tips helped you find your perfect pair!