If the shoe fits . . .

By Tara Bitzan

Gone are the days when flat shoes were only for tall people. Flats have a place in every woman’s wardrobe. If worn correctly, they can be as stylish and fun as their high-heeled counterparts, but are a safer and more comfortable option.
If you experience foot pain, you could be suffering from one of the many shoe-causing conditions on pages 16-17.
You may want to consider adding more flats to your shoe line-up to ensure your feet can take you everywhere you want to go in the years to come.
Don’t sacrifice style
Since flats usually aren’t as eye-catching as heels, choose flats in fashionable colors and patterns, or with fun accents like buckles, straps, gems or bows. Be careful not to over-embellish. A classic, chic look is typically better than a quirky one, depending, of course, on the outfit.

 

Dress up simple flats
To compensate for the simple style of many flats, spice up your outfit with ruffled tops, flared sleeves or layered shirts.

Flats and skirts
Heel-less shoes can make legs appear shorter. If wearing flats with skirts, choose an above-the-knee hemline to add to the leg length. Be careful: Wearing flats with longer skirts often gives a dowdy appearance.

The right pants
Capri pants and flats are a perfect match. If you’re wearing long pants with flats, make sure they aren’t too long. Having the hem drag on the ground looks sloppy and quickly wears down your pants. Unless you’re extremely thin, avoid wearing tight pants or skinny jeans with flats. This will call attention to parts of your body you maybe shouldn’t emphasize. Pair flared or wide-legged pants with pointed-toe flats.

Find the best fit
One mistake women typically make is wearing shoes that are not the correct size. They think that once they’ve reached adulthood, they are done growing and continue to wear the same size shoes for years.
Foot size typically continues to increase past age 20, so it’s a good idea to have your feet professionally measured every five years or so.
Here’s a few tips on getting the right fit:
• Try on shoes late in the day when feet are at their largest.
• Toes should have room to extend fully and the toe box should be roomy (but not too roomy). The end of the longest toe should be within a half inch of the end of the toe box.
• Shoes should fit comfortably at the time of purchase. Do not buy them too small assuming they will stretch out or break in.

Best picks
• Shoes of soft leather or suede that move with your foot. Avoid patent leather or synthetic materials that don’t give.
• Shoes with removable factory insoles.
• Shoes that have tie, Velcro, strap or buckle closures. Slip-on shoes are typically not a wise choice for foot health.
• Shoes with round, not pointed, toe boxes.
• Shoes with low or no heel height.
• Shoes with built-in rocker soles

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