Board-certified podiatrist Dan Michaels, DPM, has three criteria he asks every patient to follow when shopping for shoes. First is fit. "You want to make sure that the shoe fits adequately. It should be wide enough in the front, but not too wide in the back," says Dr. Michaels. If the back of your footwear isn't snug enough, it will cause your feet to rub and may result in blisters. And conversely, if the shoes is too narrow, it will squeeze your toes and cause joint pain.
Support is also important, says Dr. Michaels. Rather than going for a shoe that's the foamy, squishy equivalent of wearing clouds on your feet, he recommends picking up something foamy, yet firm. "[Squishy] shoes feel comfy initially, but they may lead to chronic overuse problems or can actually accentuate preexisting problems," says Dr. Michaels. Lastly, Dr. Michaels recommends picking something up that has a stiff midsole. "So when you look at the bottom of the shoe, the middle one-third should be stiff and difficult to bend. The more that it bends, the more it's going to load pressure from the back of the foot to the front of the foot. If the shoe has some more stiffness, it's going to load the pressure through the shoe, and take some of that stress off the middle of the foot," says Dr. Michaels.