Your feet change as you age. Where once it was easy to wear heels, it can suddenly seem difficult to wear anything other than flats. 

This is because, according to recent research, there are changes to the feet over the years. Older adults have a lower foot arch but an increased circumference of the forefoot, ankle, and instep. Additionally, these changes are often more pronounced in women’s feet, with many finding that their feet are flatter and that the width of the balls of their feet widens with age. 

With these changes to the feet in mind, it’s worth taking the time to consider the best footwear options as you get older. Here, we look at why the best fitting shoes are important and what options are available.  

Common issues with feet as we age

As well as the issues already mentioned, there are other changes to your feet to look out for as you get older. These include the feet widening and lengthening, caused by the ligaments losing their elasticity over time; swelling, which is caused by issues with circulation or any health conditions you have; foot conditions, such as hammertoe and bunions; and skin changes, such as dryness, which can lead to painful callouses.

One of the main reasons for these changes to our feet as we age is largely down to the impact of the pressure placed on our feet over the preceding decades. Our bone density and the strength in our tendons and ligaments change as we get older, causing feet to be sore. 

The right fit

Wearing the wrong type of shoes can make you even more uncomfortable. The right footwear should be a priority as prolonged pain in the feet can impact your balance and your gait. 

You may overcompensate for one foot being sore by walking differently, and if the shoes you wear make the issue worse, you can find that you’re walking awkwardly, throwing yourself off-kilter. This can then cause you to change posture and can lead to back problems.  

What shoes to buy

The medical footwear industry is forecast to be worth almost $13 billion by 2027. This reveals just how necessary comfortable footwear is for older people. 

Ensure you’re getting the right shoes for your feet by knowing what to look for. This can put you in a good position when shopping for footwear that will protect your maturing feet. 

Begin by considering hazards caused by inappropriate footwear. Look at the materials. checking for non-slip materials such as rubber as this can help prevent you slipping or falling over. Another hazard that can be prevented with the right footwear is tripping. Velcro straps are ideal as they secure the shoe in place and won’t easily come loose, causing you to trip.   

Next, consider the condition of your feet. If you’re prone to swollen ankles, an easily adjustable fastener is ideal. This is also suited to those who experience pain on their feet due to sores such as bunions. Additionally, padding and arch supports are perfect for providing a soft cushion for the feet. 

Also, look at the mouth of the shoe. A wider opening makes it easy to get your foot in and out, especially if you want to avoid knocking sore parts of your feet or your ankles swell. Should you wear compression socks, a wider mouth of the shoe is also ideal as it will accommodate them.

If you’re noticing that your feet are starting to change and you’re wondering what footwear to choose, now is a good time to research what’s on the market. There are plenty of options available and you’re sure to find the right fit.

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