Busy Mom'’s Guide to Buying Shoes

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Motherhood is not a 9-5 job. From work to doctor appointments to everything else in-between, moms are more on the go than ever before. A recent survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) found that sixty-one percent of women ages 18-49 spend more than four hours on their feet daily.

APMA podiatric physician and active mother of two, Dr. Jane Andersen of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, offers pregnant women and mothers everywhere the inside scoop on smart shoe shopping:

How can I tell if a shoe is going to be comfortable?

There are three things that I always tell my patients:

1. Don'’t Compromise.

Every shoe you consider should have built-in arch support, wiggle room in the toe area, and stiff heel counter (the back of the shoe should not bend when you touch it). This combination relieves stress in three most important areas of your foot.

2. Don'’t rely on the size of your last pair.

Our feet tend to get bigger because of age and pregnancy and the effects can be permanent. Remember to try shoes on before you buy! Manufacturer sizing isnÂ’t always consistent from brand to brand or even shoe to shoe. Features to look for include elastic goring or adjustable straps that will allow you to customize the fit of a shoe and change your sizing needs.

3. Lower is better.

When it comes to heels, go for lower and wider. They'll greatly reduce the strain on your feet and back, offering greater balance. As a general rule, I advise women to avoid anything over two inches. A three inch heel can create seven times more stress on the foot than a 1-inch heel. Throughout the day, that makes a huge difference in your comfort.

What'’s the best time of day to shop for shoes?

Later is better. Your feet tend to swell throughout the day, especially if you are on them for extended periods of time. Your feet tend to be the biggest during the afternoon—especially if you're pregnant. Finding a comfortable shoe later in the day will guarantee that it will fit no matter what time you wear it.

Should my shoes be flexible?

Don'’t do the twist! Shoes should flex with the foot, but you should not be able to twist or bend the shoe in half. Shoes are the foundation of our lives. A strong foundation will offer you support throughout the day, keeping your body properly aligned.

Does the price of a shoe indicate quality?

My patients know where I stand on this. There are lots of great shoes such as Dansko's that offer superior quality and comfort in an affordable price range. Remember, just because a shoe costs a lot of money does not guarantee that it's going to be the best option for your feet. It is best to do some homework and pay attention to where you're going to use the shoe and how it feels when first putting it on.

The American Podiatric Medical Association offers a few more pointers to help you put your best foot forward:

1. Always buy for the larger foot; feet are seldom precisely the same size.

2. DonÂ’t buy shoes that need a break-in period; shoes should be comfortable immediately.

3. Try on shoes with socks or stockings if you expect to wear them that way.

4. If you wear prescription orthotics—biomechanical inserts prescribed by a podiatric physician—you should take them along to shoe fittings.

To see styles approved by the APMA check out

www.dansko.com/apma

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