04.What to look for
While style is a matter of personal preference, the best way to judge the comfort of a shoe is by trying it out in a shop. Some buying advice:
It’s best to buy shoes in the afternoon, because your feet tend to swell towards the end of the day.
- Always try on both shoes — it’s rare for both your feet to be exactly the same size.
- Walk around in them. Your foot should fit snugly at the heel and instep.
- Don’t rely on shoes stretching after you’ve bought them — they may not. Shoes with a leather upper and lining are more likely to, but a US study revealed that most women surveyed were wearing shoes that were too small for them.
- There is no universal shoe sizing. Australia adheres to the English and US standard which says there should be an 8.2mm length difference between full sizes.
- Ensure you have 5 to 10mm of room between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe.
- Because our feet sweat, it’s a good idea to rotate the shoes you wear on a daily basis. This will give your shoes time to dry out, which will prolong their life.
- Women experience more foot problems than men, often due to wearing high heels.
Because leather is kinder to your feet than vinyl, take a close look at what the shoes you’re lusting after are made of. You can get full leather shoes (uppers and lining) for a lot less than our $425 Anne Kleins. You might even find them around the $140 mark — comparable to the Nine Wests, which didn’t have a leather lining.
Leather is better
Our experts will tell you that leather shoes are better for your feet. They wick away perspiration, whereas most synthetic shoes will leave your feet bathed in their own sweat — not only uncomfortable, but smelly.
There are different grades of synthetic materials and some even have pores to allow your feet to breathe. Unfortunately it’s impossible to tell which is which just by looking at it, but it’s a fair bet to say, when it comes to materials, that you get what you pay for.
Shoes with a leather lining will stretch and mould to your feet, so they’ll ultimately be more comfortable. Synthetic linings have little give, so your feet will just push against them until they eventually disintegrate.
As for leather soles, it comes down to personal preference. Some people love them, while others find rubber soles more comfortable and practical — leather can be slippery.