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Choosing the right footwear

The biggest cause of foot problems is incorrect shoe wear. Here’s how to make sure you buy and wear the right shoes

According to the Podiatry Association of South Africa (PASA), the biggest cause of foot problems is incorrect shoe wear, which is fortunately something that is easy to remedy.


“The most important thing to remember is to wear shoes for the occasion. This can be done by determining how much walking or standing you are going to be doing, and on what surfaces,” explains PASA’s Nelfrie Kemp.

Just as children’s feet should be measured every three months, adults should measure theirs every time they try on a pair of shoes, as different manufacturers use different sizes and the fit depends on the style of the shoe. Podiatrists warn that it is important not to squeeze your feet into shoes, as they should take on the shape of the foot, not the other way round.

While high heels may get a bad rap, says Kemp, a well-designed high heel can be comfortable and supportive. “The problem is that many high heels are uncomfortable because they are made from poor quality material with poor design. Because of this, high heels should be limited and shoe height alternated daily”, cautions Kemp.


When it comes to buying shoes, podiatrists recommend that they should:

  • have a rubber sole
  • take on the shape of your foot (not the other way round)
  • have a cushioning innersole
  • have a strap around the back or a closed back
  • be lightweight

According to Kemp, shoes should feel comfortable when you try them on in the shop, i.e. there is no need to wear a shoe in. She advises that trying shoes on should be done towards the end of the day, both shoes should be tried on, and one should walk around the shop with them on.


Read more on the health risks of wearing heels.

For more information on how to keep your feet healthy, visit www.podiatrist.co.za.

Issued on behalf of the Podiatry Association of South Africa

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