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Choosing the Best supportive shoes- 3 Steps to test before you buy (with Pictures)

3 Steps to test for supportive footwear

You may ask, why do you need a supportive footwear? You are happy with your flexible and cushioning shoes that you feel you are walking on the cloud. Yes, that is good for short distance walk. Imagine walking in muddy path or at the beach, the ground is not stable causing the muscles have to work harder to walk, hence tired and sore muscles. On the other hand, when we are walking on the solid floor, our body alignment might not be correct, or maybe we have flat feet, one leg is longer than the other (you never know), or tight calves muscles, painful feet such as heel pain (plantar fasciitis) and so on.

Way to get better? Get a supportive footwear, and put orthotics in to change the ground that suit you.

These 3 golden rules are provided by James the podiatrist (Excel Podiatry Clinic Pty Ltd). Here I use two different pairs of shoes for demonstration. There is the easy three steps to check if the shoes are supportive.

Bending of the shoes

How to find a supportive footwear

Make sure the shoes is not bending where is not supposed to be, which is bending at the mid arch. The shoes should be bending only at where the toes are bending. Shoes that are too flexible might end up causing the pain in your foot.

Twisting of the shoes

Guide to buy supportive shoes

The shoes should be firm but not hard when you do the twisting motion of the shoes. Never get a flimsy shoes. A shoe that can be twisted easily is not a supportive footwear.

Heel counter testing

Supportive footwear comparison

It should be firm but ensure cushioning at the back of the heel. You can’t have it too hard as it might irritate your heel, such as high heels shoes. This is important because the stability comes from the rear part of the shoes.

Nice and easy,right? Remember these 3 golden rules and your feet will be happy all the time!

Orthotics fitting

If you are putting your orthotics in, you got to have a pair of stable shoes, so your orthotics can give the support and won’t move around. One tip is to bring your orthotics to put inside the shoes to try on for the perfect fit. Find out how orthotics can help your foot pain here.

Read more on:

For Women Orthotics friendly shoes ; Top 3 women sandals for flat feet

For Men Orthotics friendly dress shoes ; Best Sandals for flat feet

For kidsĀ Best orthopedic shoes for kids




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9 thoughts on “Choosing the Best supportive shoes- 3 Steps to test before you buy (with Pictures)

  1. It can definitely be difficult buying shoes online because you can’t test them out. These are some good tips and helped find the better supportive shoes. My ankles are weak so I need to have shoes that support them. 

    I tried inserts before because my feat always get sore on the bottoms. They didn’t work for me really was more uncomfortable. Do you have any recommendations?


    1. Hi Shaun, there are many types of inserts, I wonder which and where you got yours? If it was a customised orthotics, you would feel more uncomfortable at first as your feet is not used to that.  You can read more about orthotics here: Orthotics Inserts/Insoles for flat feet, high arch feet, heel pain and bunionsI think the important part is that to strengthen your weak ankle slowly . If the soreness persists, it would be recommended to see a podiatrist, they would have a solution for you. Cheers!

  2. As I am a visual person the pictures where awesome and right on topic and flowed great with your discussion. I always have a problem with shoes has I have an extra narrow heel,used to have them custom ordered when I was younger. Now I more times than not I end up with the heel slipping up and down.Do you have a good suggestion for extra narrow heel ? Do you have a certain orthotics that you could recommend?

    1. Hi Cathy,

      I believe having an orthotic in this case will not help with heel slipping up and down with due to your narrow heels. However I would recommend you to look for those shoes with laces where you could laced it tighter to avoid further slippage; also look for a shoe with more cushion/ bulk around the heel counter of the shoes. 

      It will still be strongly recommended if you were to continue having this issue; that is to discuss with a qualified podiatrist. 

      (Answered by Podiatrist James)

  3. Hi Emily,

    Good post, informative.

    I have worked in the health industry for the last 18 years and certainly know the benefit of wearing supportive shoes.

    I read somewhere that a person shouldn’t need to ‘wear in’, a pair  of new shoes, what are your thoughts on that.

    I see you have a link mentioning Hush Puppies.

    My favourite walkers are one of the Hush Puppies range, soft leather, excellent support and ‘ no wear in’ required!



    1. Hi Michele, thanks for dropping a comment. I agree with no ‘wear in’, we wouldn’t know the damage that can cause to our feet (such as nerve damage, ingrown toenails etc). You can also check out my other post of the impact of wearing small/wrong shoes here:

      Yes I love Hush Puppies that is leather and soft to wear!


  4. Hello Emily, how are you?

    What a amazing tip about the 3 rules when we go to buy a new shoes. I am a shoe fanatic. In the pass I had a 120 pairs and none of then was low hills or sneaker. I always just want to wear the hight hills and never look for confort to my foot, only beauty. How stuped I were back then. 

    So I changed. I passed look for more confort and stability. I start get hills much more tick, look for confor for my feet, use sneakers sometimes, I was total change.

    Now, I can’t use my 80 pairs of beautiful and some confortable shoes (some of them is no so confortable). After I had stroke, I only can wear very low hills shoes so is why your “3 Steps to test for supportive footwear” came at right time for me.

    QUESTION: Those 3 steps apply for social leather woman shoes as well?

    To your success,


    1. Hi Telma, I am amazed by your 120 pairs of footwear! I am glad this help, and I hope for your fast recovery. Answer to your question: those three steps are not so applicable to social leather shoes. But you can check my other post of dress shoes recommendation:… Dr Comfort shoes would be a good social leather shoes.



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