Monthly Archives: February 2008

Narrow Shallow Hiking Boots

Reader Becky writes:

I’m a female with a small, narrow foot. I have to wear boots at work, and many of the authorized boots I have found are too wide in the heel for me. I have no problems with day-to-day wear, but outdoors, I have to use a lot of moleskin on my heels to minimize blisters. Sometimes I get them anyway (once so bad I bled through my boots). Are there any inserts that I can buy to create a better fit in the heel? Do you know of any specific boots made with a narrow heel?

First of all – Thanks Becky, your question is great and lots of people who walk into my office have this very problem.

With respect to inserts, Superfeet (Green) may help, especially since they take up some of the excess space in the shoe. Also, wearing two pair of socks may help. However, if your heels still slip, then you’ll need to find a narrow, shallow boot.

Vasque hiking boots are made for both men and women and are one of the few brands of hiking boots which will give the narrow foot a snug fit. The top boot is the Switchback style and the bottom shoe is the Blur style.


Another outdoor boot I’ve found that works for this foot type is the Ecco Urban Flexor GTX. Although less hard core than a backpacking hiking boot, this lighter weight hi-top will also fit the narrow, shallow foot.


Both Vasque and Ecco brands are available at

Shoe Review – Asics 2130

It’s usually difficult to find a snug fitting running shoe if you have a narrow foot. Even harder if you have a narrow, shallow foot. Nearly impossible if you have a narrow, shallow foot with a bunion.

I was pleased when a patient brought this shoe in today, especially because it fits the narrow, shallow foot perfectly. The Asics 2130 comes in a 2A (narrow), B (medium) and D (width), and all work for a shallow (flat) foot type.


The Asics Gel Kayano also works for a narrow foot, but the 2130 actually is slightly more shallow and narrow and significantly lower in price.

Don’t miss my other 2130 posts:

Ian’s Shoelace Site

Ruby slippers to reader Paul for reminding me about one of my favorite websites Ian’s Shoelace Site:

This site has every lacing pattern imaginable with terrific step by step directions on how to lace each style. Want fun? Want fancy? Then Ian’s shoelace site is the place for you.

If you’ve got a special way of lacing, send me a description and image and I’ll post on my blog. If it works for you, it will probably be useful for others, so why not share?

Shoe Review – Nike Air Monarch III

Nike Air Monarch III is a great all purpose work out shoe. It doesn’t twist longitudinally (torsional stability) and the outsole is thick and doesn’t flex in the forefoot. Here is an image of a new pair that was brought in to me today.

The best foot type for this shoe is a narrow, deep foot. Notice how the angle from ankle to toe is a straight line? This is the best profile for a deep foot.


The outsole above is more rectangular in shape, as opposed to inverted triangle, which usually matches a narrow foot.

The downside to this shoe is it has a soft heel counter (back) which will cause the shoe to wear faster than if it had a firm heel counter.

All in all though, this is a great shoe, especially at a $60 price point, for the narrow, deep foot type.

Shoe Review – Asics GEL-Kayano

A marathon runner came in today with a worn pair of GEL-Kayano 12 and a new pair of GEL-Kayano 14. Even though both shoes were sized the same length and width, they were entirely different shoes.


First, look at the outsole. The newer version is on the left and the older version is on the right. There is more soft EVA in the worn outsole on the right, which would cause the forefoot padding of the shoe to break down sooner.

If you have a history of ball of the foot pain (capsulitis, sesamoiditis, metatarsalgia), you will want your outsole EVA to be as firm as possible, so the left model would be better for you.


Next look at the upper. See how the older Asics on the left is wider in the toebox and in the heel opening or throatline? In this case, if you have a wider foot or a higher arch, the older version would be a better fit for you.

All in all, even though the name is the same, the versions are not. Bottom line – these differing versions are entirely different shoes. Although both are shallow in toebox depth, version 12 will work best if you have a wide, shallow foot whereas version 14 will work better if you have a narrow, shallow foot.

Beware of version upgrades and check them carefully. Even if you shoe salesman swears up and down there is no difference, don’t take their word for it, make sure with your own eyes and hands it is indeed the same shoe.

Modified Roman Lacing

Ruby slippers to reader Paul for showing us this modified Roman lacing style. This lacing combines the strait and criss-cross lacing patterns. The first lace is straight whereas the following laces are all criss-cross. As you can see, Paul cinches up each set of laces to secure a snug fit. Unlike the full straight lacing pattern, this one gives you a spiffier look, while still maintaining fit.


Mizuno Wave Alchemy – Excessive Outsole Wear

A female runner came in today, who hasn’t been able to run for the past two weeks because of increasingly severe left ankle pain. She has been wearing a pair of Mizuno Wave Alchemy running shoes for the past 6 months and when I set the shoes on a flat table, this is what I found.


Notice how the back of the left shoe is tilted outward and the right shoe is more upright?

In this case, the shoes outsole is made of soft EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate), whereas this person should have hard EVA to support heel strike, especially on her left side. EVA is made soft by pumping in air, which is great for shock absorption, but accelerates outsole wear because of compression.

In this case, because the outsole compressed unevenly, this runner sustained significant peroneal tendon injury. At this point I’ve ordered an MRI to determine the extent of the tendon damage…A big price to pay for an excessively worn shoe.

This injury could have been completed avoided, had this runner known how to evaluate her running shoes. Lots of runners have rules when it comes to replacing shoes. The most common ones I hear are replace your shoes every 500 miles or every 6 months.

Unfortunately, because shoes vary so much in construction, an arbitrary rule can lead to injury. Instead, place your running shoes on a flat surface monthly and when they start to tilt, it’s time for a replacement pair.

Corns – Top of Toes

Here’s an image of a corn on the top of the 4th toe. You can imagine how painful this hard, dead skin can be.


If you get corns on the tops of your toes, you’ll want to check the depth of your shoes toebox. If you toebox is not tall enough, you need to find deeper shoes, or you can stretch your toebox to increase the depth.

Pinch Test – Slip On Shoes

Here is another image of a shoe that is too deep. Notice how much excess upper there is?


If your upper does not form fit to your foot then the shoe won’t stay on. It doesn’t matter if you use a tongue pad or wear really thick socks, the result will be the same. A sloppy, poor fit. You’re feet deserve better.

Top Of The Foot Bump

This image shows a bony prominence on the top of the foot. The medical name for this bump is exostosis. They develop more often in people having a high arched foot than people having a flat foot. They usually occur on both feet but can occur on just one. They are not worrisome at all, unless you wear shoes that strangulate your foot in this area.

This means no lacing directly over the bump in running shoes and no buckles or decorative trim over the bump, which are often found in loafer style shoes.


Here’s an easy way to modify your running shoes if you have an exostosis on the top of your foot. Unlace to where the exostosis is and then skip the eyelets that would otherwise criss-cross over the prominence. You shoe will still fit secure and this will alleviate pressure that would otherwise cause pain.


Additional posts about top of the foot bump, may be found here:

Craziest Shoes From Around the World

Ruby Slippers to Marsha from Down Under, for bringing this site to my attention. The 21 pair of “Craziest Shoes From Around The World” on this site are amazing, unusual and just plain interesting.

Here’s the first image…see what I mean?


I am amazed by what can be accomplished when love of shoes and creativity are involved. I hope you enjoy these images as much as Marsha and I did.