Unfortunately for some people, shoes can be a pain. Finding properly fitting shoes that look good, and aren't uncomfortable, can be a difficult task.
The picture below (Sketch A) highlights what tends to gradually happen to our feet (especially around the toes) when we wear shoes that are fitted poorly. Sketch B is a foot that has never worn shoes. Most of us will probably lie somewhere in between these two images, as it's difficult to walk around town for the rest of our lives without wearing shoes.
So how are we to know whether our shoes are too tight for our feet? A great sign is when you take your shoes off and say aaaaagh! It's likely that your shoes are too tight if this is happening, and when you take them off there is a simple release of pressure, which feels good, hence the aaaaagh.
To ensure you're not succumbing to the aaaaagh sign, following some simple steps will help:
1. Buy properly fitting shoes - this sounds simple, but many shoes aren't manufactured to the shape of a human foot. Purchasing shoes that have a rounded toebox are less likely to squash your toes into the shape in Sketch A.
2. Buy shoes that have fastening - if you wear shoes without fastening, the shoes must be tight to be able to stay on your foot. A strap, laces or buckle will allow you to have a little extra room in your shoe without it flying across the street.
3. Try on shoes at the end of the day - throughout the day our feet swell due to mild amounts of fluid pooling because as we're upright. Therefore, your feet will be mildly bigger at the end of the day than at the beginning. Trying on shoes at the end of the day will ensure you get the right fit.
4. Our feet get bigger as we age - if you're a size 7 in your 20s, it is unlikely you'll be a size 7 in your 70s. As we age, our feet sag like other parts of the body and will increase in length and width. Some women find after pregnancy that their feet get bigger, and don't return to their previous size. So it's helpful to keep this in mind, rather than rigidly sticking to the same shoe size you've always bought.