GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The snow has arrived! It is time to check last year’s boots for proper fit and examine their condition. Chances are, it is time for a new pair. When shopping for any footwear, keep in mind protection, support, and comfort, in addition to the style.
The podiatrists of the Michigan Podiatric Medical Association (MPMA) have this boot selection advice to share:
- Be sure boots are insulated and waterproof. Even if the boot maker says the boots are waterproof, still treat the pair with a waterproofing product. The body has to work harder to compensate for moisture, so try to minimize as much foot moisture as possible.
- Select natural material, like leather, that allows proper airflow and keep feet dry.
- Although rubber boots will keep you dry, rubber does not breathe. Make sure that any rubber boots purchased are fully lined to help absorb foot moisture.
- Very flat-soled boots provide little, if any, arch support. Cushioned insoles and arch supports could be added.
- The best traction is received from boots with a rubber sole and deep grooves.
- Styles with narrow toes and high heels often cause pain and numbness. Select a lower heel or stacked style for additional support. Choose a style with plenty of toe room, a firm heel counter and traction to ensure stability.
- To provide warmth, ski sock liners are a way to keep feet warmer without adding bulk. Liners are worn under regular socks. 100% cotton socks provide the worst wicking of moisture and should be avoided. 100% polyester, or wool fiber, socks will keep feet warmer and drier.
- Do not store boots near a drafty door. If the boots are not warm and dry when applied, they will not keep feet warm and dry.
- Above all – listen to your feet. If a boot is not comfortable, the footwear selected is not the best.
- Try boots on later in the day as feet tend to swell throughout the day.
- Try the style on with the thickness of socks you expect to be wearing with the boot.
- Most individuals have two different size feet. Buy for the larger sized foot.
- Boots should feel comfortable as you try them on. No “breaking in” period should be necessary.