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As temperatures begin to cool, Americans put away their flip-flops and look for warmer footgear. But ill-fitting or inappropriate winter boots can cause problems ranging from bunions to broken bones. Pointy toes can cause foot neuromas, and slippery soles can cause dangerous falls.
Many people do not realize that feet expand or swell throughout the day. To find the right boots, Americans should measure their feet in the evening, when feet swell to their largest size, and while standing. Since feet are often uneven in size, boot-buyers should choose sizes based on their larger foot.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), 65 percent of American women aged 18 to 49 haven’t measured their feet in five years, meaning that they most likely wear ill-fitting boots. The APMA offers these tips for Americans looking to buy the safest winter boot:
– Choose boots designed for stability. High stilettos might make a statement, but can prove treacherous on icy ground. Many fashion boots aren’t designed for winter walking. Your best bet? Look for boots with solid heels. Low wedges, especially those made of cork, aid shock absorption and provide strong foot-to-ground contact. Also, make sure the boot has traction on the bottom of the shoe to ensure you won’t slip and fall.
– Make sure your boots fit well. If you wear thick socks all winter, wear them while you try on boots. Walk around the store wearing the boots on both feet. Don’t purchase boots that you need to break in -; boots, like all shoes, should immediately feel comfortable. Choose boots that support your ankle -; you don’t want to twist your ankle on an ice patch.
– Don’t cramp your toes. Pointy toe boxes can pinch feet, leading to calluses and deformities, such as ingrown toenails, hammertoes and bunions. For safer walking, choose rounded or square toes that allow your feet breathing room. If you consider narrow toes a must-have, make sure that the boot’s toe box doesn’t narrow until after your foot ends.