It can be difficult transitioning from sandals to closed shoes come fall. While your toes had lots of wiggle room in your favorite flip-flops, the cold weather demands styles that offer warmth as well as protection from the elements.
While the athleisure trend is filling the comfort niche these days with styles that range from performance looks to those that simply mirror the look of the real deal, there are often times when a pair of fashionable kicks just won’t do.
So for those in search of shoes that deliver that ahhh feeling, FN has some shopping tips to help guide you.
It’s OK to take the finger test. Everybody does it. Simply push your finger into the footbed to test its bounce. Cushioned footbeds help absorb the shock from everyday walking on hard surfaces, so it’s a critical component. But remember: Not all cushioning is alike. Look for memory foam materials that conform to the shape of the foot for a more personalized fit.
Make sure your foot is surrounded in soft materials to prevent blisters. Hard upper leathers can cause friction as feet rub against them while walking, particularly since going sockless is a trend even in winter.
Shoes should move with you as you walk. Here, flexible outsoles are essential, made of composite materials as well as blended natural rubber. These soles also offer some underfoot bounce, eliminating shock.
Footwear can be a breeding ground for bacteria due to the warm climate inside a shoe. To help avoid foot issues, look for styles with antimicrobial linings. While they may add slightly to the cost of a shoe, the higher price tag is well worth the comfort and health benefits.
So you think you know what size you wear? As we age, our feet tend to change shape in both length and width, so make sure to measure your feet every time you go shoe shopping. The right size shoe can be the key to comfort.
Since most of us don’t have the luxury of custom-made shoes, more and more brands are adding adjustability features that allow for a more personalized fit. There are styles that offer straps with Velcro closures and buckles, while elastic is often incorporated into designs for added forgiveness.
Those pointy-toe boots may be calling your name, but be sensible. Will you really have room for all five of your toes? Take the sketch test. Trace your foot barefoot and make a cutout. Next time you are shoe shopping, test to see if the sketch fits inside the shoe without folding it in half — or even thirds. You might be surprised how crowded your toes will actually be in those pumps.
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