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What are the right shoes to wear?

Physio&SoleClinic Podiatry September 12 2019

Just like how a car needs regular attention and maintenance, our feet function better when they are being looked after. Footwear should always be a major consideration in taking care of our feet.

Most foot conditions such as heel pain, ankle pain, corns, calluses, blisters and fungal infection are often associated with wearing incorrect shoes. Studies have shown that ill-fitting shoes can lead to injury and cause foot deformities such as bunions and clawed toes.

In this post, our Principal Podiatrist Toto will share his expertise on the criteria for suitable footwear.

What are the “right” shoes?

There is no straightforward answer unfortunately. The factors influencing footwear choices include:


Here are some general guidelines to consider when choosing shoes:

1) Broad stable heel base with maximum 1-2 inches heel height.

2) Firm heel counter: The heel counter should fit snugly around the back of the heel to prevent heel slippage and improve stability

3) The base (outsole) of the shoes should only flex at the front where the foot bends during toe-off.  If the outsole is excessively rigid, you may experience discomfort or muscles strain.

4) Breathable top cover materials such as leather or fabric provide comfort and good ventilation of your feet. It is especially important in Singapore’s weather as ventilation is required for sweat to evaporate quickly, reducing the risk of fungal infection, maceration and blistering.

5) Avoid wearing shoes with stitching near prominent bones as this may cause blistering or pain.

5) Sufficient width and depth in the toe box area to prevent friction and allow room for the toes to wiggle.

6) Correct Length: There should be a thumb’s width between the longest toe and the front end of the shoe. This should be tested when standing up.

7) Fastening Mechanism: Look for shoes with laces, Velcros or buckle straps across the ankle to secure the foot within the shoe. This reduces strain on the foot muscles and ligaments, and prevents injuries.

8) Removable Shoe Inserts/Liners: This will allow easy insertion of cushioning or corrective insoles (foot orthoses) if required.


Extra tips for shoe shopping


  • Have the feet measured while standing.
  • Shop for shoes later in the afternoon as our feet tend to swell during the day.
  • Try on shoes with the same socks or stockings you expect to wear with the shoes.
  • Our left and right foot may vary in size; always fit according to the larger foot.
  • Always try on shoes and walk around in the store. Shoes must be comfortable the moment you try them. You should not purchase any shoes that cause irritation or discomfort.
  • Always allow a breaking-in period for new shoes before going for long walks or a holiday.
  • If you need to wear insoles prescribed a podiatrist, bring them along when trying out new shoes.
  • Buy sports-specific or terrain-specific shoes. The design for athletic footwear will vary across different sports and terrains, which will affect the support, stability and grip during activity.
  • Replace your worn-out shoes! Deformed and uneven soles can cause instability and injuries.
  • Choose shoes that you are willing to wear! There are an increasing variety of footwear styles and designs that are comfortable. They do not have to be ugly shoes!

When in doubt, feel to free to consult our team of podiatrists via the free “Ask a Pod” Whatsapp service at 91754929. We will be happy to assist you with footwear advice.

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