The Ultimate Shoe Buyer’s Guide
Posted by Apex Foot Health on 8th Aug 2022
Has it been a while since you bought your last pair of shoes? But where, oh where should you start?
There are tons of different styles available and while it may be tempting to buy the most stylish pair of shoes you can find, we don’t recommend that.
With that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to walk you through everything you need to know about shoes.
Start with Style
No, not style in the fashion sense, but style in the way they are designed and constructed. Each style of shoe serves a different purpose – you wouldn’t go for a jog in this pair of Oxfords, for example. So, before you begin shopping it’s best to consider what purpose your shoes are going to fulfill and then use that to narrow things down further:
- Walking shoes: As the name suggests, these shoes, like those in our Lace Walker Collection, are made for walking. They’re generally built for a specific gait type – neutral or overpronation – and have features targeted at making sure your foot moves in a natural, pain-free way. That means these shoes are great for normal, everyday wear, too.
- Running shoes: Very similar to walking shoes in that they are designed for maximum comfort and support, running shoes like the Boss Runner differ in that they usually make liberal use of mesh fabrics. The idea behind this is that if you’re running, your feet are doing a lot more sweating and you’ll need more ventilation.
- Casual shoes: Though many people may consider walking or running shoes to be casual shoes, we’re thinking more along the lines of shoes like our Naturals or Ellens. But it’s here where things can get a bit dicey as most Big Brand shoe companies start sacrificing comfort and support for style and appearance. At Apex, that’s a sacrifice we aren’t willing to make and it’s why all our casual shoes are built for comfort and support.
- Dress shoes: These shoes, like our Lexingtons or ballet flats, are designed with more formal occasions in mind. And while most Big Brand shoes start sacrificing comfort for appearances in casual shoes, it’s usually in dress shoes where they go all the way. While most dress shoes on the market are notoriously uncomfortable, we believe that things shouldn’t be that way and design all of our dress shoes to be as comfortable as possible.
Consider the Materials
After you’ve decided what style of shoes you’re looking for, it’s time to consider the materials. As we mentioned in our Boot Buyer’s Guide, there are different tradeoffs in the materials used in shoes. Let’s dig in:
- Synthetics and mesh: These lightweight fabrics are most commonly used in running or athletic shoes like our Breeze and Bolts. The main benefit with this material is that it’s extremely breathable and provides great ventilation for your feet. This breathability comes at the expense of water resistance and warmth, so these may not be the best shoes for a rainy or cold day.
- Wool: Found in our Naturals, wool is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades in that it’s great for both warm weather or cold weather wear. It’s highly breathable, allowing the shoe to bring in cool air during the summer to regulate temperature, yet at the same time, it’s a great insulator and able to keep feet warm during the winter – even when they’re wet. Apart from that, it’s an all-natural fiber and can help you reduce your use of plastics.
- Leather: Most commonly found in walking shoes like the Lace Walker, leather is rugged, durable and dependable. The tradeoff with leather is that it isn’t as breathable as other materials, meaning a good pair of socks are probably in order to keep sweat under control if you plan to use your leather shoes for anything other than walking or normal day-to-day wear.
- Canvas: Our Ellens are made of canvas, a cotton-based fabric that allows us to use bright, fun colors that really pop. In addition to being stylish, canvas is lightweight, breathable and very easy to keep clean. But like synthetic or mesh, it probably isn’t the best shoe for a rainy day.
Depending on what you’re looking to do with your shoes, the materials may not matter to you at all. But, they’re still something you should consider. For example, if you’re looking for a good all-around shoe that you wear every day, regardless of weather or temperature, you may want to go for leather or wool. But, if you’re looking for a shoe that you only use for exercise, mesh may be your best bet.
The 3 Most Import Things: Size, Size and Size.
We’ve talked about this before, and we mentioned it in our Boot Buying Guide, but we just can’t stress this enough: getting the size of your shoes right really is the most important part of this whole process. And that’s because a shoe that fits your foot in all three dimensions – length, width and depth – will be the most comfortable, healthy and best able to prevent injuries. That’s why every Apex shoe is available in multiple widths and comes with a removable depth insert so you can further customize your fit.
If you need help finding your size, check out our nifty sizing guide!
Final Things to Consider
We’ve covered style, materials and size, which means we’re almost at the end. But before we finish up, here are a few final things to think about when dealing with new shoes:
- Break-in: We recommend breaking in your new shoes by wearing them around the house for a few days. Many skip this step but breaking in your shoes allows them to adjust and adapt to your foot. While your new shoes will probably be comfortable right out of the box, breaking them in ensures that they’re ready to support and comfort your specific foot.
- Consider an insert: orthotic shoe inserts can turn a good pair of shoes into an excellent pair of shoes by adding an additional layer of comfort and support.
- Put on and take off your shoes the right way: When you take off your shoes, be sure you untie and loosen them first, and never step on the heel of the shoe to pull your foot out. When you put them back on, use a shoehorn if you have one, or at the very least, loosen them up first. Why do these things? They keep your shoes from being overly stretched and worn out, giving them a little more longevity.
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