IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIDK/KIFI) - We are just three days from our "Step Challenge." It's important to learn about the proper shoes. You shouldn't just grab the old sneakers from your closet and take off walking.
Footwear Outfitters in Idaho Falls provided some help. The owner, Nick Berg, has been in the shoe business for 20 years. You could say he has real concern for your sole. He said the biggest problem when it comes to issues with your feet, is improper fit. There are three things to remember.
"You know we've been taught to fit our shoes incorrectly all our lives. Simply measuring for toe-length is not enough. If you look at (this chart) these two feet, they're both the same length, but yet they wear different size shoes, because the arch length on this one is much longer than it is on this one. Even though the width and the length are the same, this foot takes a longer shoe. The reason being, if you take a shoe and you flex it, the widest part of the shoe is where the shoe flexes. Notice (the chart) that the ball of your foot is also the widest part of you foot," said Berg.
"These two are in different locations," said Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz.
"Exactly. Your foot will want to bend here and the shoe wants to bend back here. Every step you take, your foot is coming back to flex with the shoe, and it puts a lot of strain on your arch," said Berg.
"You're going to get a lot of pain right there (in the arch)," said Kunz.
"Exactly, burning sensations, all the foot ailments that you typically hear about, bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, neuropathy, all those things are all generally related to improper fit," said Berg.
Berg said the good old measuring scale we all recognize since we were kids is still the best tool, but use all of it.
"All people will look at is this number (size measurement), you know, put their foot on and see where they're at. They fail to use this guy (arch length measurement), which is the most important measurement on the scale."
After proper fit, is proper support.
"When you're putting pressure on your feet, if you push down on this," said Berg, pushing a skeletal model of a foot. "You can see how the bone structures twists in. If you can hold this one bone in place, I'm pushing down, and it's holding the entire foot structure together. Not only do you hold the longitudinal arch, but your medial arch as well. Most people don't realize you have an arch this direction," said Berg. "See how far the arch is back?" he said, holding a insole.
"Yes," said Kunz.
"Logic would tell you that it should be clear up here in the middle of your foot. They do this on purpose. So they put that arch back there, so it essentially holds that bone in conjunction with this one. These two are basically the support," said Berg showing the bones on the skeletal model.
"So what you've got going on, is that," said Kunz placing the foot model on the insole.
"Exactly. If you can stabilize your foot and keep it from squishing every time you take a step, you're going to fatigue less. Your feet aren't going to be near as sore at the end of the day," said Berg.
The third key is proper cushion.
"Jump on this scale real quick here. What this does is it takes 10 snapshots of your feet. It will analyze pressure points and arch type," said Berg.
"Why do I have so much pressure on my right heel?" asked Kunz.
"A little bit on your heel is not a bad thing because that's the part of your body that supporting your entire body. What I want to do is put an insole on this machine and have you stand on it again so you can kinda see the difference," said Berg.
"It's kind of dispersing the weight," said Kunz.
"It is, it is," said Berg. "You know most companies are just going to put a basic insole in their shoe, a lot of times simply for try-on purposes. Everybody's feet are so different, that having an insole for your foot, is actually ideal," said Berg.
Fit, support and cushion are the three keys to proper footwear and your feet will thank you for it. Spend some money on your feet now, and it will save you spending a lot for damage or surgeries later in life, such as knees.
Our "Step Challenge" starts Mon. Jul. 25 in Pocatello at 7 p.m. Click here for the link to other nights, cities and locations.