10 practical tips for your next shoe purchase
The following 10 tips will give you a practical guide and help you with your next shoe purchase. Besides the right shoe size and width, an optimal fit, skilful workmanship and the use of high-quality materials for the upper, lining and outsole are also important factors when it comes to quality and selection. We want you to stay feeling comfortable in your shoes for as long as possible.
1. We will start with the most important piece of advice:
The shoes should conform to the shape of your feet, and not the other way around. Consequently, a new shoe should fit your foot perfectly in terms of length and width. Most importantly, your toes need sufficient space (they move up to 0.5 cm due to the roll-through movement when walking). That’s not the case for the heels, which must be firmly supported. Having firmly supported heels is one of the most important factors to ensure a perfectly fitting shoe.
2. Many people buy shoes which do not fit properly:
According to studies conducted by the German Shoe Institute (part of the Association of German Shoe Manufacturers, of which we are also a member), almost 80 per cent of the German population buy shoes which do not fit properly. That is an unbelievably high figure. Whilst women have the tendency to buy shoes which are too small, men are more likely to buy shoes which are too big. This is a real no go.
3. Keep your expectations high:
Shoes should be made of soft leather, wherever possible, and provide your feet with sufficient room – in all three dimensions: height, width and length. As soon as a shoe starts to rub, you know it is not the right one for you. Do not fall for the classic lines “they will wear in” or “they will widen over time”. A pair of shoes should fit perfectly straightaway or you should not buy them. Your owe it to your feet!
4. Take your time when buying shoes:
You should also check the inside of the shoes for any seams that may be uncomfortable, or any bulges or hardened areas. Many shoe manufacturers do not fully line their shoes in order to reduce costs, i.e. the lining ends at the area which is not visible, for example. As a result, seams, bulges and edges are exposed. Here, at Sioux, we make it our standard to always fully line our shoes and to stitch together large sections as far as possible. This is how we avoid unnecessary seams and edges which could restrict the level of comfort when worn. Larger pieces of leather, however, are more costly, which is why we do not produce low-cost shoes, but rather high-quality shoes that are worth every penny you pay for them.
5. A flexible shoe sole is a must:
When you have got the size and width right, you should turn your attention to the softness of the leather and a flexible shoe sole. Flexible means the ability to bend. Lots of people mix up the flexibility of the sole and the softness of the inner padding . Therefore, you should do the ‘bending’ test. If you bend the shoe (i.e. bend the heel and the toe area towards each other) and the soles takes a V form, then the shoes have exemplary flexibility.
6. Keep them as flat as possible:
Another recommendation that we have already given is to purchase shoes which are as anatomically and orthopaedically flat as possible. The roll-through movement of the foot can only take place as naturally as possible in flat shoes, as there is no improper weight distribution at the arch of the foot and the metatarsal bones. We do not want to spoil your fun: when it comes to high heels, wear them in moderation and only as long as foot exercises and movement strengthen the foot muscles, meaning that your feet can withstand the strain of the high heels. It is important to have a balance between this style of footwear and everyday, comfortable footwear.
7. Try on both shoes:
Feet are almost never the same length and width. Right-handed people usually have a dominant right foot, which is the bigger of the two. This is the opposite for left-handed people. That is why you should always try on both shoes and not just one. What’s more: shoes become longer and wider with age. Consequently, the shoe size can change with age, which is why you should be open-minded when buying shoes. If a shoe fits, it doesn’t matter if it is a size larger or wider than the previous pair. Shoes made from different manufacturers turn out differently sized. What matters is how it feels on your own, individual foot.
8. The time of day is important:
Your feet change in size and shape depending on the time of the day, particularly on hot summer days, when swelling can occur. It is therefore best to buy shoes in the evening and jog a little beforehand so that your feet reach a “working temperature” before trying on shoes so that they have swelled slightly.
9. Pay attention to the leather finishing:
You shouldn’t disregard whether the shoe is made of a synthetic material or leather. Humans release around 0.1 cl (i.e. a shot glass) of perspiration from their feet each day. It is therefore imperative that the shoe is breathable and can absorb moisture. Leather is a natural product with distinctive material properties. No other material is as flexible and can absorb and release moisture so effortlessly. Here, at Sioux, we either fully line our shoes with a real leather lining (90% of shoes) or with a breathable microfibre (part of the canvas Grashopper features this lining). This leads to a healthy foot climate and counteracts sweaty feet.
10. Know whether or not to trust the manufacturer:
It is not just the workmanship of the shoe which is important, but also which materials the manufacturer uses and under which conditions the raw materials have been processed, i.e. tanning of the leather and workmanship involved in manufacturing the shoe. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the origin and sustainability of their leather. And rightly so. However, on the other hand, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a consumer to guarantee the quality of their leather. Nowadays, faux leather is becoming so much more refined that only experts are able to tell the difference between this and genuine leather. German brand manufacturers such as Sioux guarantee excellent quality and compliance with all statutory social and environmental standards with their good name. We have been making shoes, and nothing but shoes, for over 60 years now. Every one of our shoes is finished with expert know-how, craftsmanship and a loving touch.