Friday, September 19, 2014

9/19/14: 1773.1 to 1782.4 miles: If the Shoe doesn't Fit, don't Wear it!

Virtual Hike
Animated Street View
Segment 28 Map

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Segment 28 starts in northeast Oregon and ends in southeast Washington. 

Note to self: I tied my personal record for 5.1 miles today while wearing the Red Wing 8 inch work boots. It took fewer steps showing the stride length was longer and the stride rate was slower. The boots were comfortable.

Fitting Boots and Shoes - Introduction

Toe Deformation

Bunions and corns are serious foot problems and both have their roots in deformation of the joints. If the footwear fits properly, these problems will be avoided. Other problems including blisters and impact injuries will be covered in future posts.


Bunions are a lump on the inside of the foot. They are caused be deformation of the bones of the big toe. Initially, many people treat the symptom by covering the sore spot with bandaids. Meanwhile, the toe deforms more because of a poor shoe fit and the problem continues to get worse

Corns manifest as calluses on the outside of the little toe. Eventually, these calluses pop off leaving raw skin underneath. Blisters and Calluses on top of the toes are also common. Corns may be accompanied by joint deformation of the small toe.

Foot Anatomy

Foot bones have a complex structure. The important thing to understand is the toes are only the ends of long "fingers" inside the foot. If you take one hand and squeeze the fingers of the other hand together it hurts. 

Most running shoes and hiking shoes squeeze the bones of the foot together which results in injuries over time. Since the pressures are gentle the person wearing the shoes may not even notice this is happening. It's only after the joints deform that they start experiencing foot problems such as bunions, corns and other deformations of the toes. Once the bones are deformed, it can take a long time to recover.

Prevention is the key.

Before they discovered x-rays caused cancer many shoe stores had x-ray machines. You can seen how much a pointed shoe deforms the toes. This pointed shoe will cause severe bone deformities.

Most running and hiking shoes are pointed because that's what people want to buy. 

In addition, most people buy shoes too narrow for their feet. They don't realize their feet will swell after walking a few miles, so they buy shoes that are comfortable in the store. 

Another problem is many stores don't carry wide sizes. The sales person will encourage the buyer to buy a longer size to get the width. This allows the foot to slide forward when walking downhill. Ouch!

It is possible to find a rounded toe box in shoes, but often they are unsuitable for other reasons. The sole on this shoe is made from  a soft material that won't wear well.

Styles on shoes change quickly, so even if a person finds a good pair, they may not be able to replace them when they wear out.

Check your feet

The next time you take a shower, take a good look at your feet. If your toes aren't straight, your shoes don't fit. 

Put your shoes on and wiggle your toes. You should be able to wiggle them freely in all directions. Feel for your toes with your finger to make sure there is no constant pressure on them. Pay special attention to the little toe. 


This is only step one of fitting shoes. In the next section, I will cover the Anatomy of the Sole. Afterwards,we can go to the next phase of fitting.


  1. Interesting about bunions. My daughter has one, and she's only ever had top of the range shoes that were professionally fitted. Clearly the shop has ripped me off for years!

    1. Most professional shoe fitting isn't effective because the person doing the fitting is trying to make the sale and the person buying isn't buying a healthy foot. They are buying a style.

      If you want to read more in this subject, this is the best source I know:

  2. Great post! I'm happy to say that after years and years of wearing uncomfortable dress pumps (I had convinced myself they were comfortable) I spend most of my days wearing slippers. Hmmm. Now I'm wondering if that is healthy for my foot? What do you think? Do I need more support as I walk around the house? I love the picture. I have not seen one of those foot measuring devices in years! :)

    1. Deanna,

      As long as your toes are straight and you don't have any pains on the bottom of the foot, slippers are fine.

      If you wet your feet and walk across cement, you should have a space or just a narrow track where the arch would land. If there is a wide track, you may be getting too much support which has weakened the arches.