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.

2 responses to “Shoe Fallacies – #1

  1. Dr. Jenny. What are you talking about when you mention heel to ball measurement and heel to toe measurement. what is that ?? and isn’t the heel to toe measure supposed to be longer. this seems counter-intuitive to me. i just discovered this blog. i think you are wonderful, and i have seen and remembered what i used to know about casual athletic shoes that fit my curved pinky toes. thank you for the generously giving your time to this blog.
    Wanda Dyer in Kansas …

  2. Dr. Jenny. I echo Wanda’s question and here is why. My daughter –11.5 yrs, size 8 ish , maybe feet was just told that her ball is proportionally lower on her foot than average so that she will have a hard time with shoes. We’ve been advised to look for 8.5 narrow shoes. I always thought her foot was wide – now I know from your site that narrow feet are like a rectangle and wide are like an inverted triangle, but I am confused about the ball to heel distance and its significance. I understand that where the shoe bends has to be where the foot bends, but that’s about it. Could you elaborate on how feet are proportioned?Thanks again! Becky in PA

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