Footware guide

The bones of the feet do not set until our late teens. The shoes that we wear are of the utmost importance for future foot health. Incorrectly fitting footwear can cause substantial damage to the feet. The majority of foot problems occur because of poorly fitting shoes. The following guidelines can be applied when buying shoes. Similar guidelines can help when buying shoes for children or for people with specialist conditions such as diabetes.


Ideally the heel should have a broad base and the heel height should be no greater than 4 centimetres.

Heel Counter

This is the part of the shoe that holds the heel at the sides and the back, preventing movement when walking. It stabilises and maintains the position of the heel when the shoe makes contact with the ground. The heel counter should complement the shape of your heel.


The sole should be flat and smooth, with a slight curve upwards at the toes.


Ideally should be made of a natural material like leather and breathable. Not tight at the toes, which would constrict movement and may cause the toes to be squeezed together.


Should be smooth and without seams.


Shoes should have laces, straps with buckles or Velcro to keep the foot in place.