Do your shoes fit?

  • By Judith Sullivan
  • 04 Apr, 2017
22 Jul, 2016
Does one size fit all?

When did you last have your feet measured for a pair of shoes in a shoe shop? We are seeing the demise of the independent shoe shop, sadly, many are closing, this week 3 children’s shoe shops have closed.

The footwear industry has very few specialists, presently you don’t have to be trained to sell shoes and approximately 90% of those in the industry know nothing about feet or fitting shoes and no legal obligation to do so. The Society of Shoe Fitters are trying to change that and are campaigning for training to fit shoes, by appealing to the government to take steps to educate the public and improve the footwear industry: .

Imported cheap shoes will often offer no support, combined with not being fitted can lead to foot problems. Shoe brands will often vary in sizes as there is no standardisation and no 2 pairs of feet are the same, you can even measure the length and the width but the volume your foot fits into a shoe is another matter and that takes skill and knowledge. It’s hard to describe an ideal shoe but as a golden rule the toe box at the front of the shoe should be foot shaped and deep enough also sufficient room to wriggle toes. ‘wear the right shoe for the right occasion’ and ‘change your heel heights regularly as the different heights will exercise your arches, your leg and back muscles’. Although ideally heel height should be no greater than 4cm with a broad base of shock-absorbing material and fitting snugly around the heel. Ideally a shoe is best secured onto the foot with laces, straps with either buckled or Velcro fastenings.

As podiatrists we see many patients in our clinics on a daily basis wearing shoes that do not fit their feet and the resulting damage. When we put on weight on our body feet will too, altering the size or width, the foot can also elongate due to the arch dropping. Some have been wearing the same size shoe all their lives regardless of the changing foot shape, length or width. Fortunately, the youngsters of today are kicking off their ballet pumps and putting on their trainers as the retro styles are becoming trendy again. I did go shopping for these last weekend with my granddaughter for just a pair of these and our experience was:

We looked at the shoes on the shelf and picked 2 styles she had in mind to try on, the assistant collected them in a size 5. He loosened the laces handed them to us and then walked back to the till to chat to another colleague. Are we only going to be left with buying online, supermarket and retail shops, is this kind of service we want for our children or ourselves?

By Judith Sullivan 09 Dec, 2017
By Reggie Simpson
By Judith Sullivan 28 Sep, 2017

We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.

Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( ).

Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.

The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: .

Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018): 

‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’

Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer.  Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.

But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.

Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow.   He died in June 2016, aged 74.

Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.

So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.

We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.

The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members. 

I quote the following:

‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.

Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher

September is World Alzheimer’s Month.




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