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Footwear: A Guide to Appropriate Footwear

​Appropriate Footwear

  • Shoes are designed for different usage, such as for sports, office work, construction, etc.
  • There are many different styles and materials used for the manufacturing of shoes.
  • The type of shoes worn should be appropriate for the occasion or activity.
  • Wearing appropriate shoes that fit well is important to provide adequate protection for the feet and prevent potential foot problems.


Ideal Shoe Criteria

  1. Firm heel counter
    • It supports your heel and locks the foot into the shoe, preventing excessive motion. The heel counter should not collapse when pressed inwards.
  2. Form of fixation
    • A form of fixation such as laces, adjustable Velcro straps or buckle should be present.This prevents the foot from moving forward within the shoe. The fixation structure needs to be located close to the ankle.
  3. Good fit
    • The shoe dimension should fit your foot. Your toes require sufficient space in the shoe. A shoe that is of a good fit will prevent rubbing of the toes against the shoe.
  4. Firm, supportive and cushioning outer sole
    • The sole should be able to bend at the front of the shoe. The middle and back portions of the sole should be firm to provide adequate support. The sole should feel stiff when wrung like a towel. The shoe should have a thick rubber sole for cushioning purposes.
  5. Personal comfort
    • One should feel comfortable in a pair of shoes to be able to withstand long standing and walking without pain/rubbing of the feet with the shoe.


Diagram 1. Examples of appropriate Men’s and Women’s shoe.       


  1. Firm heel counter
  2. Form of fixation
  3. Good fit. Sufficient space for the toes in the shoe
  4. Firm, supportive and cushioning outer sole which bends at the front

Buying the Right Shoe

  1. Length and width of the shoe
    • There should be one thumb width’s space between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe.
    • The width of the shoe should be as wide as the widest part of your foot. There should be some space allowance when you compare the widest part of the shoe with the sole of your foot.
  2. If your feet are of different sizes, always buy shoes to fit the larger foot.
  3. Buy your shoes at the end of the day to factor in any swelling which may have occurred during the day.
  4. A shoe does not require any expansion. They should fit comfortably when you buy them.
  5. Do not buy the shoes if they do not feel comfortable.

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