How to tell good or bad shoes

I notice ill-fitting shoes just by looking at them

by Kevin Chapman

Not long ago, our website specialist, Ed, needed to come into the store to work on some changes. I hadn’t seen him in a while. As usual, I first look at a person’s face and then their feet. Instantly, I noticed that Ed’s high instep looked uncomfortably tight through the lacing area. “Dang Ed, those look like they are killing your feet!” Ed responded, “THEY ARE and sometimes my feet go numb! How did you know?”

Now in my mind, I know that with a high instep, he probably has a pet caves foot type. This means a high arch, probably rigid and probably a wide forefoot. I noticed he was wearing an Altra shoe, which is a great choice and our favorite brand of walking shoe for this type of foot. But this particular Altra was too small/tight for his feet and the narrowest model they make. I reached down to feel for his toe and found that the shoe was indeed too short – I estimated a full size. Ed revealed that he got them from a discounted area at another store with no guidance.

I sat him down, removed the ill-fitting shoes, and saw exactly what I suspected – a high, rigid arch, and I brought him a different Altra model, known for being wider, and one full size larger. I explained that the poor fitting shoe can be causing his pain issue, but also his foot type has a poor weight distribution that could require an aftermarket arch support. He tried them on and within seconds he knew this was what he needed – and walked out the store with them on.

Years of looking at people’s feet have given me the experience to know an ill-fitting shoe from a proper-fitting shoe. It doesn’t take long and with just a few questions, I can get to the root of your problem – and offer a solution. Whether in the store, on the phone, or with a zoom call, I can give you the answers you are looking for.