By Carrie Eller
In a dream world, shoe shopping is nothing but fun: You browse, find a style you love, and it fits perfectly. In the real world, however, we meet stumbling blocks, and the search for a great shoe can be long and difficult. Finding a wide selection can be a problem. Shoes are often comfortable, but not stylish; or, stylish, but not comfortable.
Remember this: A shoe is only worth your financial investment when you love the way it looks and the way it feels. That's when a shoe is working for you.
When you know where to look and what to look for, you discover that shoes can be fun again. You don't have to sacrifice looks for fit. Comfort and style can come together, in one package. You have choices.
Trendy, properly fitting shoes made for all-day wear at work or on the town are available for both men and women, and even for kiddos. Casual and dressy styles abound, as do choices for wear in any season.
An excellent way to tackle the stumbling block of selection-rather than schlepping through store after store filled with limited choices-is to shop online. Sites such as Onlineshoes.com offer hundreds of brands, with a range of sizes, including those for narrow and wide feet.
Look for brands that create footwear for comfort right out of the box. Breaking-in periods are a thing of the past.
Rieker Antistress focuses on stylish shoes that are light, flexible, shock absorbing, and roomy at the toe box. Rieker selections include supple leather women's sandals, boots, slip-ons, and mary janes with a distinctive artisan flair.
Aravon, a New Balance brand, provides an essential support system with a precise, natural fit and advanced cushioning. Aravon selections include ladies' sandals, boots, slip-ons, and mary janes that are office-ready and versatile enough to double as weekend wear.
The purchase of select Aravon styles is covered by Medicare; these shoes meet the criteria of The Diabetic Shoe Bill. Other brands who offer products in this category include Drew, Propet, and New Balance.
Earth shoes uses unique technology that aids in the natural walking motion for comfort, and an environmentally friendly, shock absorbing foam to cushion every step. Selections include men's and women's athletic shoes, boots, casual shoes, clogs, sandals, and vegan styles that range from laid-back gear and exercise finds to office-appropriate styles.
Keep your eye out for shoes with The American Podiatric Medical Association's (APMA) seal of approval. The APMA makes easy work of finding shoes for people with special comfort requirements. Their independent rating system certifies footwear to ensure you get a product that promotes good foot health.
Dansko is a leader in APMA-certified styles, with options for the whole family. Go for their iconic clog, or choose a newer style. Dansko shoes are so popular they even have a fan club - it's no surprise, with collections that range from dressed-up to weekend casual, and a special focus on styles to wear all day at work.
For athletic shoes with APMA approval, look to Asics, New Balance, and select styles from Saucony. Brands including Rockport, Sanita,
Aetrex shoes use Mozaic" customization technology, which lets you pull of squares on the insole to better cushion the areas of your feet that experience the most pressure or discomfort. Aetrex selections include athletic, trail, and dress styles for men and women.
Look, too, for shoes that accommodate custom orthotics. These custom orthotic friendly shoes feature removable insoles that are made to be supportive, but can also be taken out to make way for your doctor-fitted insole.
- Aetrex offers two padded, removable insoles for optimized customization.
- Drew footwear provides an array of styles for men and women with added depth.
- Propet specializes in wear-anywhere styles, many with Velcro® closures.
- P.W. Minor shoes focus on walking shoes with extra depth.
- Hush Puppies excels in trendy styles that meet your needs.
- Aravon designs and produces many of its multi-occasion styles with removable insoles.
- Klogs offers a range of open-back and closed-back clogs for men and women, with a removable insole that's made for comfort.
- Apex shoe styles include many options with hidden depth.
- Giesswein even offers slippers with removable insoles.