Anatomy of a Shoe

A shoe is composed of different parts. The toe box is the tip of the shoe that provides space for the toes. It can be rounded or pointed. The vamp is the upper middle part of the shoe where the laces are commonly placed. Sometimes Velcro is substituted instead of laces. The sole consists of both an insole and an outsole. The insole is on the inside and the outsole contacts the ground. The softer the sole, the greater the ability to provide shock absorption. The heel is the rear of the shoe that can provide some form of elevation. The higher the heel, the greater the pressure on the front of the foot. The lower the heel, the greater the tension on the Achilles tendon. The last is the part of the shoe that curves in slightly near the arch of the foot and will conform to the foot’s shape.

The material from which a shoe is made can affect fit and comfort. Where softer materials decrease the amount of pressure a shoe places on the foot while stiff materials can cause blistering and callus formation.

Recommendations For Footwear and Fit

Foot size should be measured every two years. The human foot can change size as frequently as every two years. Fits should be measured at the end of the day because feet tend to expand at the end of the day. The shoes should be fitted to your longer and wider foot. Almost no one has two feet that are identical in size. Shoes should be fitted carefully to heel and toes to prevent too much sliding around and creating blistering and causing other damage. If a shoe feels too tight, do not buy them. There is no such thing as a break in period for shoes. If one of your feet is considerably larger than the other, an orthotic or insole can be added. Always remember, fashionable shoes can be comfortable as well.

Children’s Shoes

Children do not generally need shoes until they begin walking usually at around the age of 12-15 months. Up until that point, socks or booties are enough to protect a child’s feet and keep them warm.

Men’s Shoes

Most men’s shoes conform to the shape of the feet and have a roomy toe box with sufficient horizontal and vertical space and a low heel. If you stand for an extended period of time shoes with soft pliable soles will protect your feet and help keep them comfortable.

Women’s Shoes

Low heeled shoes, generally 1.5 inch or lower with a wide toe box are ideal. An ample toe box can accommodate the foot. Another part of the foot that is important is the heel in determining fit.

Work Shoes

Work shoes are generally tailored specifically to a particular occupation and particular needs with protection in the toe box as well as different soles to protect different levels of traction.

Athletic Shoes

The purpose of athletic shoes is to protect the feet from the specific stressors encountered in a given sport as well as to maximize the amount of traction provided by a shoe.