Aging & Health: Take Charge

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Mar 10 11:48am

Finding the perfect shoe

By Joey Keillor, @joeykeillor

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As you age, changes to your body and feet can make foot pain more likely. This can make daily activities more difficult and even increase your risk of falling.

Much of managing and preventing foot pain can come down to proper footwear. Here are some common problems and solutions to help you find a perfect shoe:

Problem: Changing foot sizes: Your feet may change in size and shape, usually getting wider and longer.

Solution: Ask to have your foot measured — including the width — at a shoe store, keeping in mind that one foot can be slightly larger than the other, so you should buy for the larger foot. Wear the socks you would normally wear with the shoes, as this will affect the fit. Try shoes on near the end of the day when your feet are their largest.

Problem: Bumps or protrusions on feet: These can be caused by hammertoes, corns, bunions and bone spurs. Shoes that don’t fit properly can further irritate these problems by rubbing or pressing against them. Ill-fitting shoes, hammertoes and bunions can also cause pain at the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia).

Solution: The front of the shoe (toe box), should be roomy, with a half inch between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Never buy shoes that are too tight. You can also have shoes professionally stretched in areas of irritation. For metatarsalgia, metatarsal pads or cushions may help ease impact on the affected joint, as can appropriate footwear.

Problem: Poor shoe quality and selection: Shoes can be expensive, and it’s tempting to select a low-cost shoe that doesn’t fit great or provides minimal support. Wearing old, worn-out shoes that have quit providing support or tread grip can also be a problem in terms of foot health and safety.

Solution: When buying a shoe, opt for a stiff heel that doesn’t give way when pressing on it, a toe box that is semi-flexible, and a shoe that does not twist in the middle when you try to twist it.

Join the discussion at the Aging well support group. Let others know about shoes you love and how to keep your feet happy!


My house looks like a shoe store because I buy shoes that seem to fit, then after wearing them a bit (for too long to return them) I find they are not suitable.
One problem I've found is that when I do find a shoe style that works for me, when I go back to get another pair later, they have discontinued the style. If manufacturers would stick with styles that work there would be a market from repeat customers. They do this with everything to try & keep the attention of a fickle market with a short attention span – these are people who throw away a $1000 phone because it's out of style. IMHO manufacturers of most things should take a lesson from the Checker Marathon (gogl it).


@zeiracorp I can relate to your issue. I'm not much of a shoe
connoisseur I usually will find something that works and I usually buy 2 at a time. I love using the BOGO 1/2 off sales. But my wife has issues like you. Shoe is a big walker and goes thru shoes quickly. When she's ready to resupply its usually an whole day event going store to store. Have a Blessed Day Dana


I have lost 3 inches from bone loss. Now I have gone from a sz7 to sz 6 shoe. Anyone else have this happen? Very Odd!!


Hi @cgthurin, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Check out the Group Directory and join in the discussions that interest you.

I haven't heard of feet shrinking from bone loss. More often feet get slight larger or wider as the arch weakens. I found this article from Everyday Health
– Are My Feet Shrinking?

Do you have neuropathic joints (Charcot joints)? What shoes help?

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