Monthly Archives: March 2008

Below the Knee Boots – Customizing fit

If your legs swim in the shaft (top part) part of boots, you can always have them taken in. An old school shoe repair person can do this for you. The process is similar to tailoring clothes.


The above pair of boots were modified to narrow the shaft by Gino at Anthony’s Shoe Service, Union Square, San Francisco. Well worth the $80 cost of getting a perfect boot, calf fit.

If you have trouble finding boots that fit snug, a talented shoe repair person, can be your new best friend. Ask around, chances are there is just such a person in your City or Town.

Shoe Fallacies – #1

Special thanks to patient, reader and author Dan for asking me to highlight common “Shoe Fallacies”. I usually only think about these when I hear them, which isn’t every day, so I am going to outline them in lists as they arise. Here’s shoe fallacy post #1.

  1. There is one brand of shoe that will always work for you each and every time. No. No. No. Is there one manufacture of clothing that works for every body type? No. No. No. The same goes for shoes. If one pair of Nike doesn’t fit right, that doesn’t mean that every pair of Nike won’t fit right. Conversely, If you have one pair of New Balance running shoes that fit perfectly, it doesn’t mean that every pair of New Balance shoes will fit perfectly.
  2. Non-career shoe salespeople care about your feet. Usually, what they care about is their commission, which in San Francisco hovers around 6%. So, be your own best advocate. Buy with minimal help from a salesperson. Sale racks (Nordstrom to Bloomingdales), big box stores (Costco) and those help yourself shoe stores (Payless, Shoe Pavilion, DSW). I’m not saying that all shoe salespeople are in it for the money, but c’mon, 6%, what does that tell you?
  3. I wear down the outsides of my heels – What’s wrong with me? Rest assured, everyone, wears down the outside of their heels. This is normal. This is why taps are usually placed on the outside of the heels. What isn’t normal is when one heel wears faster than the other creating asymmetrical wear.
  4. Listed shoe width and Length mean something. This fallacy goes with #1. There is no universal size when it comes to lasting shoes. Two size 9’s will be entirely different lengths, even within the same manufactures line. I’ve seen a size 14 narrow New Balance, 1″ longer than a 14 wide, which was narrower than the 14 narrow, New Balance running shoes. Take home message – Shoe size is an approximation only and you should always try the shoes on.
  5. The more expensive the shoe, the better fitting or longer lasting it will be. I’ve seen $15 dollar shoes from K-Mart fit better and last longer than exclusive boutique $400 pair of shoes. The adage you get what you pay for, doesn’t always apply, especially when it comes to shoes.
  6. Making sure you have enough room at the end of the toe in a shoe, is how you determine fit. This only works if your heel to toe measurement is longer than your heel to ball measurement.
  7. A shoe sized narrow width will always be narrower than a shoe sized medium width. Many shoes that come only in one width (medium) will be much narrower than similar shoes, lasted as narrow. When in doubt, look at the outsole (bottom) of the shoe and visually check the width this way instead. This will be a better measure of what a shoes width is than the width that’s listed on the box.
  8. Buying shoes online is a bad way to purchase shoes. Online shoe shopping and purchase can be a great way to find shoes. Especially if you have to hard to fit feet. The harder your foot is to fit, the more trouble you’ll have finding a shoe in a brick and mortar store. With online retailers, you can find every color, size and style, which offers much more choices, than in a regular shoe store. Free shipping also makes it easy to exchange shoes, so let your fingers do the shopping – online.

New Balance 645 vs. Brooks Infiniti

I’m always on the lookout for men’s narrow running shoes. Searching through I found the New Balance 645 running shoes and the Brooks Infiniti running shoes for a patient of mine. Both have narrow outsoles with the New Balance being slightly narrower overall than the the Brooks.


Next comes the upper. The New Balance toebox is deep, whereas the Brooks toebox is shallow which was exactly what I was looking for.


I also like the Brooks Infiniti because it has a firm medial (grey) outsole. The Brooks Adrenaline (not shown) is similar in upper design, but will be much less long lasting because of its softer the outsole.

The only downside with the Infiniti? The price tag. $124 on Zappos. com. I usually prefer a more affordable running shoes (Asics 2130), but if this is your foot, then it’s probably worth it to you. Especially given how difficult shopping for a well fitting running shoe can be.

Nike Air Zoom Katana Cage II vs. Nike Air Refresh+

I was helping a runner find a new running shoe for her narrow shallow feet. Her old running shoes were Nike Air Zoom and fit her to a “T”.

The problem? Her perfectly fitting running shoes were discontinued and she was forced to buy the men’s version, which were similar, but much too wide for her narrow foot.

Armed with multi-view feature, I found two pair of potential replacement running shoes, both in a size 10.


Once again, even though both shoes were made by Nike and both shoes were sized 10, they were not the same length. The Katana Cage was easily 2 sizes shorter in the toe box and one size shorter in heel to ball measurement than the Air Refresh+. The Air Refresh+ on the other hand was proportional and fit perfectly, just like the original Air Zoom’s.

If you’ve got a very narrow, shallow foot, the Air Refresh+ is a great shoe for you. It’s also got the + technology, so grab your iPod Nano and go for a refreshing run!

Excessive Outsole Wear

Running shoes are made shock absorptive by the use of ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA). Outsole EVA and midsole EVA can range from firm to soft. This shoe came it today where the firm EVA outsole wore through to the softer EVA outsole underneath.


Firm EVA on the outsole is a great way to prolong the life of shoe, however if applied thinly, it won’t withstand wear for very long.


Once you wear through into the soft EVA in the outsole, the structure of the heel will quickly deteriorate.

If you ever wear running shoes, be sure to monitor your shoes outsole wear.

Wider Puma Alternative

Reader Dave asks “Would you happen to know of any type of shoe for a street dancer? Right now I wear Pumas because they’re light and there are great styles but these Pumas are a bit tight on me.”

Dave’s right, Puma’s are lightweight but they are very narrow and shallow.

These images show two similarly designed shoes. Saucony are the deepest and widest, but the Asics are still better than the very shallow, narrow Puma, both in depth and outsole width. Just like the Puma, Saucony and Asics are also affordable.


Fortunately, most designers make similar styles, so if you’ve got your heart set on a certain style don’t despair, just try another manufacturer.