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Fashion Basics

How to Find Comfortable Shoes

Relief at last! Foolproof tips on picking comfortable pumps, flats, and sandals.

By Ashley Tate
Rack of shoes Rick Lew

Tips for Finding a Comfortable Pump

  • Hold the shoe at the heel and toe areas. The sole should be flexible and bend at the front of the arch but have a stiff bottom through the arch.
  • Choose a pump with a high heel that is directly underneath the center of your heel. If it is too far forward or at the back of the shoe, you'll have balance problems.
  • Look for false fronts. "A pointy-toe shoe with an area that is much longer than your toes has a false front. It keeps your toes from being squished," says Suzanne Levine, a podiatric surgeon in New York City.
  • Make sure the toe area is wide enough through the ball of your foot.
  • Note that a wedge shoe distributes your weight more evenly and offers support all the way through the foot. Be aware, however, that the limited sole flexibility of a wedge increases the risk of rolling your ankle over the side.
  • Test a shoe for cushioning by pressing a finger into the ball area. It should have a little give or a slightly padded feel.
  • Avoid synthetics. Wear shoes with leather, suede, or fabric uppers. These materials breathe, which lessens the chance of blistering.
 
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