The Right Shoes for Whatever You Need

by | Mar 29, 2018

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Some people could fill a couple of closets just with footwear. Pumps in every color of the rainbow. At least a couple of pairs of trainers. Ankle, calf, and knee-high boots in both black and brown. And so on.

On the other hand, your hardcore minimalist might strip it all down to the “bare essentials.” One pair of sneakers that they wear almost every day, and one pair each of dress shoes, boots, and sandals—used rarely, and haven’t been replaced in a decade.

So how many shoes are enough? What’s the right number of pairs? Obviously, taste matters here. If you’re a shoe lover and ultimate fashionista, having multiple looks and styles is going to be important for you.

But even if you aren’t that hung up on fashion, it’s still important to have appropriate footwear for any task or situation you might face. Remember, shoes aren’t just for style. They’re also to protect your feet from pain and injury, and the wrong pair of shoes in the wrong situation isn’t going to do a very good job of that!

Here are some basics—and remember, these are coming from a podiatrist, not a fashion designer!

  • At least two pairs of comfortable, casual shoes for everyday wear. Why two pairs? Simple. Feet get sweaty, stinky, and gross. They attract bacteria and fungi and allow them to proliferate. If you’re wearing the same pair of shoes every single day, they never fully dry out, and that can lead to infections like athlete’s foot. So get at least two and rotate them.
  • Probably two pairs of good weatherproof boots, minimum. This is Wisconsin after all. One pair of winter boots might be enough if you’re only wearing them for short periods of time outside and then changing back. But if your boots become your “everyday shoes” in wintertime, you’ll want at least two pairs for rotation, for the same reason as the everyday shoes.
  • Sport-specific athletic shoes. Even if you don’t play any specific sports, you’re definitely going to want at least one pair of general-purpose athletic shoes for walking around the neighborhood, or playing with the kids. If you do participate in a specific athletic activity regularly—running, basketball, tennis, hiking, soccer, etc.—you should have a pair of footwear designed specifically for that activity. A general purpose (or wrong sport) shoe may not provide the right support, flexibility, or protection in the right places that a sport-specific shoe can provide.
  • Shoes specific to your occupation of hobbies. Obviously, if your work requires you to wear steel-toed work boots, or you’re a ballet dancer, you’ll need appropriate footgear for those activities.
  • Your dress and fashion shoes. Some people might be able to get away with a single pair of dress shoes. For others, this category is wide open, with accent and practical flats, heels, and knee highs in multiple color and styling options. Your only limitations on quantity are your budget, storage space, and your sense of style. Quality is a different matter, however. Even “occasional” shoes should fit properly and comfortably, and you should keep the heels below 2” (and as chunky as possible). Never buy shoes that are too tight or uncomfortable for your feet just because they’re cute. They will hurt your feet. Find something that satisfies both your sense of taste and give your feet what they need.

With these as your guidelines, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a suitable set of footwear for any situation! And if you’ve made good choices in terms of the fit, cushioning, and support those shoes provide, you’ll not only look good, but your feet will feel good, too!

Of course, if your feet aren’t feeling so good, we can definitely help. Just give our office in Waukesha, WI a call today at (262) 544-0700.

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