Cushioning and Support: Why Shopping For Shoes Isn’t Just About Style

Posted by Orthotics Direct on 2021 Jan 29th

If you are in the market for new shoes, it can be very tempting to head straight for the most fashionable pair. While style is a crucial consideration, finding a pair of shoes that fit correctly and offer the right amount of cushioning and support is essential.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to find the right shoe for your foot and how to determine the level of support you need.

How To Shop For Shoes

When you are shopping for shoes, it is important to find shoes that fit your foot correctly. There are thousands of options, from athletic shoes offering orthopedic support to lightweight boots with all-weather protection and comfort technology. It helps to know what you are looking for in a shoe and what styles best suit your foot.


Many people suffer through uncomfortable shoes because they do not know their correct shoe size, or their shoe size has changed over the years or due to hormonal fluctuations like pregnancy or ageing.

To find your correct shoe size, outline your feet on a piece of paper and bring this tracing with you to the shoe store. Place any shoes you are considering onto the piece of paper to judge the size. If they are narrower or shorter than your paper, don’t try them on.

If you can, have the salesperson measure your feet every time you go into a store and make sure they measure both feet. Many people have feet that are two different sizes. It also makes a difference what time of day you shop for shoes. Your feet expand as the day goes on, so if you shop for shoes in the morning, you may end up with a pair that pinch your feet by the afternoon.

Consider your foot width as well as your length when determining size. The shoe should feel snug on your foot, not tight. If it feels too tight, ask if they have the size in a wide shoe. And remember, the shoe should conform to your foot, not your foot to the shoes.

Be sure to try on both shoes and take them for a walk around the store. You want to be sure they feel comfortable from the start. You should have at least ½ inch of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. If there is less, go up a size. Also, consider bringing the sock or orthotic insoles you will wear with them (if you have any) to make sure you get a good fit.

Shopping Online

When it comes to finding the right pair of shoes from the comfort of your computer, measuring your foot may prove tricky.

The good news is at Orthotics Direct, we take either foam or digital measurements of your foot, allowing us to create custom made orthotics that are perfect for you and match the comfort and support you need.

Why risk buying a shoe online that doesn’t have a wide toe box or doesn’t accommodate your specific foot issues, such as hammer toe or Morton’s toe? We take the guesswork out of shopping, making it easier than ever for you to get quality orthotics to your doorstep.

How To Find Your Level of Foot Support

When we walk, each of us has what is called pronation. Pronation is the natural way your foot rolls and transfers weight from your heel through your arch and onto your toes as you walk.

  • Neutral Pronation - With neutral pronation, your foot rolls inwards slightly as you walk. This movement helps your joints absorb the impact and keeps your knee, ankle and hips in an efficient alignment.
  • Overpronation - This happens when your foot rolls inwards as you walk. It places excess weight onto your big toes and can put you at risk of injuries and increase the chance of back, knee and hip pain. Stability of motion control shoes and corrective orthotic insoles can help correct overpronation.
  • Supination - Supination is when your foot rolls outwards as you walk. It places excess weight and stress on your small toes and can put you at increased risk of a twisted ankle and other injuries.

The best way to tell if you have overpronation or supination is to have a foot scan by a podiatrist or physiotherapist. You can also take a look at the bottom of an old pair of sneakers, dress shoes or your favourite walking shoes to find out where you need better foot support. If you have more wear on the inside of your soles, you may have overpronation. If the outer edges of your soles and back heel have more wear, you have supination.

Some foot support shoes have customized levels of support to help fix your overpronation or supination. There are three categories of support for running shoes - neutral, stability and motion control shoes.

Neutral Shoes

Neutral shoes are best for people with neutral pronation or those who have slight supination.

Stability Shoes

As their name suggests, stability shoes have devices that help control overpronation and control side to side movement of the foot. They may provide good arch support and shock absorbing material, as well.

Motion Control Shoes

These are generally specialty shoes found in specialty shoe stores. They include firm posts to help support the arch in the midsole and have stiffer heels and overall construction to correct severe overpronation.

Arch type

Another essential aspect to consider when looking for a shoe with a good fit and the correct support is your arch type. Your arches consist of the bones, muscles and ligaments that connect your foot. Your arches help you balance as you walk and support and distribute your body weight across your foot and toes.

There are three arch types:

  • Neutral Arches are neither high nor low. They benefit from wearing shoes with a firm midsole and a semi-curved sole to help support the foot.
  • Low Arches (flat feet) can sometimes cause joint issues and sore feet. Shoes with a straight sole and motion control can help stabilize feet with low arches.
  • High Arches can place extra stress and strain on joints and muscles and may not absorb the impact of bouncing and landing as well. Find arch support shoes with extra cushioning to help with shock absorption or a curved sole to absorb some of the impact.

If you are looking for stylish yet comfortable shoes that provide cushioning and support, explore the line of orthotic shoes at Orthotics Direct. Our highly recommended and fashionable array of shoes fit perfectly with our handcrafted custom orthotic solution, so you’ll be sure of a perfect fit and proper placement. Let us help you find your perfect shoe today.