As everybody may knows, shoes should be shaped so that toes may lie in natural position. Muscles of our body (including foot muscles) need exercises and free circulation of blood to bring them food and to carry away waste products of fatigue. Shoes, worn to protect the feet, must allow for this exercise and should not interfere with circulation.
If we take a look, the toes of an infant are spread apart and move almost as freely as the fingers. However, many adults have lost the normal shape and flexibility of the toes because they were crowded into narrow, pointed shoes while the bones still were partly cartilage. Some people wear shoes that are so tight that they impair circulation, and the muscles are held together compactly that exercise is almost impossible.
Improper shoes are one of the causes of most foot troubles; so careful consideration should be given to their selection. We see in shops, shoe sizes are not standardized among all manufacturers, so each pair of new shoes should be fitted before customer buy them. Experts recommend that the end of the shoes should be one-half to three-quarters of an inch beyond the toes to allow room for their extension as the arch ‘gives’ in stepping. Some shoe departments have a fluoroscope (a type of X-ray machine) with which the position of bones of the foot inside the shoes can be seen. This is helpful in detemining whether there is room within the shoe for toes to lie in natural position.
Pressure of tight shoes causes the skin to thicken over an irritated area with gradual formation of a corn or callus. This usually will disappear if properly fitted shoes are worn. On the other hand, if shoes are too large there is danger of rubbing on the skin, causing a blister.
What about heels? Anatomically, varying the heights of heels changes the relative position of bones in the feet. Broad, low heels, such as those on men’s shoes and women’s sport shoes give a firm foundation when we walk, work everyday, and for sports use. High and narrow heels look well with evening dresses and are appropriate, because a girl is on the balls of her feet and toes while dancing. As a matter of fact, such heels for ordinary wear tend to throw the body forward. The resulting strain on muscles and joints to maintain balance causes the person to tire quickly. However, some people tends to put more importance on their look than their comfort or health.