I’m a podiatrist who has been practicing in the Financial District of San Francisco since 1990. At some point early in my career, I started to realize that many of the foot problems I encountered were directly related to improperly fitting or excessively worn shoes.
Seeing this, I felt both excited and worried at the same time, especially since shoes had never been a point of focus during podiatry school or my orthopedic residency.
So, I did what any shoe loving, problem solving, insatiably curious podiatrist would do – I let my patient’s feet and shoes teach and guide me toward a more comprehensive understanding of shoes, feet, fit and how when ignored, almost certainly leads to pain.
To date I have evaluated over 450,000 pair of shoes on my patient’s feet. Sometimes a person would bring in one or two pair, but usually the average was 10 or 15. My women’s record for the most shoes evaluated during one appointment is 48 pair, My men’s record is 37 pair. I spend up to an hour with each person, evaluating them in every pair of their shoes they have brought in and try on.
I measure people’s feet and check this measurement to their shoe size and fit. I twist, flex, loosen, buckle, tie and play with every component of every pair of shoes brought in. I evaluate wear patterns and compare this to the walking alignment I see. I have helped thousand of people find the right fitting shoe, ranging from a an Ultraman competitive elite athlete to a 17 year old girl with size 10 feet, trying to find a stylish, comfortable 3″ high heel to wear to Junior Senior Prom. I live, breathe and am constantly thinking about the form and function of shoes.
In a word, I am a zealot when it comes to shoes. I am on a mission to change the way Americans shop for shoes. So dust off those sneakers in the far reaches of your closet and put them on because I am going to take you on an interesting, fun, eye-opening adventure. And if we’re lucky, your feet and shoes, will never be the same again.
Welcome, the shoe doc is in…
p.s. For more about Team FDFAC, check out my post https://drshoe.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/shoes-on-the-brain-team-fdfac/
This is a really interesting, diverse and helpful blog. It enlightens by showing “how” and “why” shoes cause pain, and teaches the foot-weary how to become foot-happy. This blog is a wonderful gift to those of us who like shoes and want to wear different types and styles and can now learn how to avoid ill-fitting shoes . You are making us smile!!!!!!! Thank you.
Lots of real-world practical wisdom here. Just like with Dr. Shoe herself, who restored me to the realm of the walking AND helped me find shoes that would keep me that way. The blog’s advice on how to get a shoe to accommodate a bunion is really helpful for me.
I wish you were in Boston! Have you ever heard of pain on the top of the foot from clogs? I’ve worn Dansko clogs almost exclusively for years and then one pair started to feel tight over the arch. It became painfull. I stopped wearing them but after six months, I still have pain when any shoe, even loose sneakers puts any pressure on that area. It even hurts when I walk in Uggs, or barefoot. Have you run across this before? Jan
Hi Dr. Sanders, I am a roller derby skater from Pittsburgh with some questions you might find interesting. As roller skaters who go almost exclusively counter-clockwise in a small oval at high speed, we have some interesting foot needs. The most popular skate for roller derby, the Riedell 265, creates the same painful problems for nearly all the skaters in our league and in other leagues. If I sent you photos and a detailed description of our foot complaints, would you be willing to make some suggestions? With a few posts to the national roller derby forums linking to your blog, your blog would get hundreds of hits from foot pained rollergirls seeking relief!
Steel City Derby Demons
Love your site. Thank you!
Thanks for great info. Could you please provide recommendations for more shoes, both athletic & casual, for women with beginning bunions, wide forefeet, narrow heels. Saucony doesn’t work for me. I’d like to keep my bunions small & wear healthy shoes!
Also, do you know a good podiatrist in the New York City area?
I’m a flat footed family physician who stumbled upon your blog-while searching for shoes. I love all your pictures and stories that bring to life your podiatric practice. Plus, I learned so much valuable info that I’ll start sharing with my patients.
Hey Dr. Sanders, I love your blog, and I frequent it often to check your new posts! I just heard about this, and knew that you would be interested. Have fun, John Coté – DPM Class 2010. Check it out:
Could you please review the New Balance 767? I have a relatively narrow foot and wear orthotics for my high and collapsing arch. Thanks!
Very interesting information. I will definitely be linking on our blog about fitting shoes for the larger foot!
Great blog!!! I truly believe that well-fitting shoes are really important and great contribute to one’s quality of life.
Just discovered this blog. awesome.
very helpful blog. thanks.
I have a soft tissue swelling (with pain) on the top of my left foot, beneath my ankle and toward my pinky toe. Can’t find any information on it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks
Very interesting and helpful blog, especially for a person who lives in a country where shoes are an obsession!
This is the most impressive blog I have read this year. Dr. Sanders please keep up the good work.
Estatic to have found you., thank you! With the exception of sporadic time behind a computer, I am on my feet all day. Dr. Martens loafers and boots are a favorite. Your guidelines are oh so helpful. Keep up the great work!
Jenny, what a great website! As a marathon runner, you have helped with many of my foot and shoe issues I’ve encountered.
One suggestion: Is it possible to add a search feature to quickly find specific topics on your site? For example, my mom wanted to find info on Morton’s neuroma.
I am a physiatrist in Seattle and spend a lot of time on my feet doing procedures. I have worn Danskos for years since residency, but have never been satisfied with them. I have a very shallow foot (but regular width) and have nearly sprained my ankles multiple times from the excessively loose fit. Can you recommend any brands that make a more snug-fitting clog for shallow feet?
Thanks much and great website – I will definitely refer patients to it!
Excellent website! I was wondering if it would be possible for you to recommend some shoes with extra depth that don’t look like like the traditional orthopedic shoe? I have very high arches and just bought my first custom orthotics but have not yet found a pair of shoes that work with them. To make it more complicated, my forefoot seems to be an average or maybe slightly wide width, but my heels are very narrow! Most shoes I’ve tried that have enough depth in the arch are much too wide for my heel so my heel slips out of the shoe, while shoes that fit in the heel tend to be tight in the toes or instep. I also have slightly curved toes (like a very mild case of hammertoes) so I need some depth in the forefoot too.
I was recently diagnosed with functional hallux limitus after developing a strong interest in hiking (and having never done any other long distance running, or walking type things before that) Do you have any recommendations for a good hiking boot/shoe? I’m currently using Montrail CTC.. Thanks,
Great blog! Im about to get myself another pair and your reviews are very helpful.
Thank you so much for this brilliant website. Has anybody ever asked you this question: DonT you think the majority shoes are built just plain wrong? Most of my adult life I’ve been the equivalent of 9.5WWW and not a big or high foot either, just wide – including MY TOES, like the inverted triangle you so cleverly drew elsewhere. Except for the occasional Croc or Birkie, I don’t even SEE shoes (including orthopedic) that remotely resemble my FEET! I’m wondering what you think! Deb
Hello, Dr. Jenny. I thought you might want to know about my site, OddShoeFinder.com, that allows users to buy and sell mismatched pairs of shoes. It was created for the millions of people who must wear a different sized shoe on each foot. I wish you were here in the DC area because I have trouble finding shoes that fit. Thanks!
Hello, Dr. Jenny. I appreciate your blog and find it very useful. I was wondering if you could advise me on how to find a good podiatrist and shoe store. I had a great podiatrist years ago when I was living in another state. Since I moved, I can’t seem to find one that knows or cares about fitting shoes. The one I have now just tells me to go to the local athletic shoe store, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone at the store who knows how to fit running shoes (or any other shoes). They just bring out the shoe boxes, leave me to try on the shoes myself, and then ask me how the shoes feel. I have narrow, shallow feet and pronate when I run, so I need help fitting shoes. What can I do in this situation?
This is a great work and a great blog! I discovered today that I have high-arched feet and was wondering what kind of shoes are good for my type of foot. I hope to find an answer here!
As a patient, I fully appreciate your advice and expertise. As you suggest your dedication to finding the right shoe is unmatched. Today, I am faced with a dilemma. After trying on multiple pairs of running shoes I found the Saucony Stabil 6 to fit the best. Unfortunately, as I train for the Avenue of the Giants marathon I find the Stabil 6 discontinued. Saucony suggests the ProGrid Stabil CS as the best replacement. Can you comment on the differences between the models? Thanks
Thank you for your shoe advice!
Dr Jenny, I work in a great running store in Kalamazoo mi and we do all the stuff FLeet Feet does and have been one of the top independent stores for the last three years. I found your sight by luck and it is my go to site for real shoe info. I LOVE IT.keep up the work. I find so many runners so uninformed about shoe footwear and how important the proper FIT is
I wish you were in Texas!
I have experienced years of unsatisfactory treatment, advice, shoe-fitting, etc. I have extremely flat feet, bunions and narrow heel. I just spent a few hours staying up late, reading every post and looking at Zappos. I have a few running shoes in the cart, but I also modified my Brooks infiniti (cut out the trim to reveal mesh only where it hits my bunions). I can’t wait to try them out tomorrow.
I have learned more reading this blog than I have in the past 2 years trying to figure out my increasingly painful feet and knees (due to my overpronation, I believe). I never knew the difference b/n the types of rubber used for the soles in athletic shoes – now I know to look for the dark grey where I need it. Also, the lacing tricks seem so simple, what a great idea!
This blog is a tremendous resource. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being so generous with your expertise. My pre-teen daughter inherited my feet, unfortunately, and I hope to also be able to help her avoid the problems I have using the recommendations from this blog.
Hi Dr. Sanders!
Great blog. I live on the east coast, or I’d come in directly to be evaluated. I read in one of your reviews that you don’t like the Nimbus 1o from Asics. This shoe was recommended to me as a neutral runner with high arches and problems with shin splints and IT band soreness. Can you elaborate on your problems with the Nimbus 10?
Thank you so much!
LOVE your comparison of the Asics Gel Kayano 14 vs the 15! I couldn’t agree more! The 14 was an awesome shoe (of which I had three pairs). But, the 15 was simply crippling! Blisters and pain were the norm for the 15s.
So, I am very interested in knowing if you will be doing a review of the new Asics Gel Kayano 16?
Dr. Sanders! You’re the best. You changed not only the way I treat my feet, but also the way I must respect my body. I am always passing on the tidbits of knowledge I learned while going to your office. I saw you in the several months building up to when I moved to New York, and I realize now that if I never went to your office– I’d be a complete foot wreck!
Thanks again for all your help. Keep fighting the good fight!
Dr. Sanders, this is great blog that I can really relate to. I’ve had so many questions lately about the conditions of my running shoes and cleats in regards to my feet. I play Ultimate Frisbee and man, do Ultimate players have feet issues!
Thank you for the relevant information!
This is a very helpful blog! A lot of women are willing to trade comfort ..health for beauty just to wear those killer high heels! Thanks for info! I’m a fan!
I should have read your reviews before buying my new running shoes. I was fairly successful with Asics GT-2150’s (minor toe bruising on my second toe left foot), and then bought a pair of Gel 3020’s as an upgrade in preparation for a 12K race. Wish I hadn’t bought the 3020’s. After a few days of training I was in pain and had to switch back to my old shoes and even wore the old shoes for the race.
I was so disappointed in my new shoes. They seemed shorter lengthwise in the forefoot area and my “trauma toe” second toe on my left foot that is always bruised was even worse to the point of having to drain the fluids from underneath the nail after two training runs in the new shoes. I’ve had bruising, but never to that extent. The second toe on my right foot, which is normally never bruised, started to bruise as well so I changed back to the old shoes. What a waste of money.
I sure wish I had read your reviews before my bad purchase, and I am going to research your site before my next buy. I never realized how different shoes can be, even from the same company or if they are supposed to be an upgrade of your current shoe. Your site was a real eye opener for me.
For someone like me who has “problem” feet (moderately flat feet, bunions, and trauma toe) and still want to run, your site is a true necessity. I don’t want to use my foot problems as an excuse not to run, I just need to find the proper shoes for me and your detailed reviews really help.
THANK YOU so much for your hard work and dedication to shoe reviews. It is very much appreciated!
I have learned so much about shoes just reading your blog. I came across your blog when I was researching about a tailor’s bunion developing on my right foot. I work in the emergency room which requires a lot of standing and fast pace walking. I bought a pair of Sven Clogs a couple of years ago because the previous Dansko that I had, I felt that it was too heavy. The store I bought it from fitted me and it supposed to be my size. However, after 2 years of constant wearing, I develop this bunion. Now, I am searching for better work shoes. Will you comment on work shoes for the healthcare field in future postings? e.g. narow feet, wide feet, flat feet, pronate feet etc. ABEO vs. Dansko vs. Running/walking shoes.
Love your site!!
Really appreciated the valuable information so an informed decision can be made on correct shoe purchase, the education of the feet,its problems and emphasis on importance of investing on care of feet for activity now and in the future. Thank you. Wish you were in Kentucky.
I am loving your blog and reviews! I’m searching for a good shoe because I have bunions, and your reviews are great. Thanks!
Your blog is just what I’ve been looking for. I’m a wide-footed runner, and I’ve spent a lot of money on shoes that just aren’t right. Your insights have armed with the information I need to go into a shoe store with confidence. Thank you!
Hi Dr Jenny I am hoping (fingers crossed) that you might be able to help…my 5.5 year old has a narrow foot and is flat footed, I am looking for a pair of white runners for him, he does have orthotics, would you be able to recommend a brand? He currently wears New Balance which is good for length and orthotics BUT he is swimming in them in the width and around the ankles – which impacts his running style. Thanks x
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any pediatric brands of shoes that run narrow or come in narrow widths. Children’s shoes in general run wide (even in medium widths), so I understand your frustration. Perhaps our readers have some ideas? I’ll do a post on this and see what they come up with.
Thanks very helpful when picking new running shoes.
I was wondering if you try on all the shoes you blog about? Do you try on the soccer cleats you blog about? Thanks!
Good question. No, I don’t try on all the shoes I blog about, since my foot type is only one of many I see each day. Instead, if I blog about a shoe (soccer included) I have tried them on patients, sometimes as many as 100 patients per style. Based on this sample, I make recommendations regarding fit, structure and design. This is the best way I know to develop objective guidelines as opposed to trying a specific style on only me or on only one or two of my staff. Based on the 500,00 or so shoes/feet combinations I’ve seen, I’ve developed a pretty good method for matching shoes to feet.
Great thanks! I was surprised that there wasn’t any info on Vivobarefoot shoes. Have you seen/tried them out?
I’ve seen them online but as of yet none of my patients have brought a pair in for me to evaluate. My reviews are typically based on what my patients are wearing. If however, anyone brings in a pair for review, I’ll let you know. Thanks for reading my blog!
What a wonderful blog! I am wondering if you can steer me in the right direction for a pair of shoes that are comfortable and work for me to walk around a city in most of the day? I need a wide toe box esp. for my right foot because I have a neuroma that acts up under my last two toes if the shoe/sneaker is too snug. I used to get Saucony but I just got Brooks which seem to be doing ok for the most part. However, I am living in Shanghai now and walking a tremendous amount and finding that the balls of my feet are really hurting/burning a bit after awhile in my sneakers and shoes. Can you recommend a pair of shoes that I might look into? Reikers? Born? Ecco? Seibert? I know I need a wide toe box but not sure what I need to eliminate this ball of my foot discomfort. I am hoping the skin on my feet is not getting too thin?? I am planning on going to see podiatrist when I go back to US soon but really would love to have your advice. I am very impressed with what I have read in your blog. My podiatrist replaced my orthodics but only refurbished them – wondering if that was a mistake and if I needed new ones instead? Really not sure, what to do but desperately want to find comfortable shoes so I don’t always have to wear sneakers. Thank you!!
If you have pain/burning in both sneakers and shoes, your neuroma may have crossed the point of no return. I had neuroma’s x 8 years and finally had them surgically removed as nothing seemed to help anymore with the pain. http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UU6gPbLbL38G6GZZ7TmZCh9g&feature=player_detailpage&v=EoavOf5vYcA. If you are not to this point yet, then continuing to find shoes in wide (D width) should help. Also, an insole with a metatarsal pad can also be beneficial. Unfortunately, there is no “perfect” shoe for this condition and trial and error is the best way to go.
My wife is recovering from a sprained ankle. For working out, and general all around wear, we are wondering if a getting her a pair of high tops would be a good idea, at least until her ankle is back at full strength. Do you have any recommendations for women’s high tops? We notice that Reebok has a wide selection of womens high tops, what do you think of them?
Yes, wearing high tops for activity is a great idea to help protect and heal an injured ankle after a sprain. I like Reebok high tops as they are affordable, lightweight and provide good ankle support. Scientific studies show that the most common risk factor for an ankle sprain in sports, is a prior history of sprain. In moderate to severe sprains, my clinic recommends ankle support (high top or brace) during activity, for a minimum of 6 months following injury. It may seem extreme, but the more sprains you sustain, the greater the probability of irreversible damage.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wife!
Hi Dr. Jenny,
I was wondering if you were still doing the Shoe Blog. I haven’t seen anything new posted since December 2013. I hope you will continue it, because I’ve been following it for year and I think it is fantastic!
Wow! What dedication. I wanted to let you know about http://WWW.KIDSHOEOLOGY.COM
I’ve been in the children’s footwear design business for over 20 years and I created this site to help parents learn about the importance of quality shoes, measuring feet and fitting properly. Jennifer May
Jennifer – Just checked out your site. It’s a fabulous resource. Thanks for making this information available!
I don’t know if you still check this blog but I have a question following up on advice you have given here in the past…
What is the best running shoe available today for a narrow and (especially) low volume foot?