How many times have you fallen in love with a pair of shoes, bought them, only to find out that by noon of the day you decided to wear them you are crippled? This has happened one too many times to me. It is not a mistake that shoe stores provide big comfy chairs for you when trying on their shoes.Think about how far away the mirror is to check out the shoes. Generally not more than five or six steps right? They don't want you to stand too long in the shoe, otherwise, you might realize that the shoe you are trying on is causing you a nagging pain in your big toe or heel. The following are some general rules that I use when I set out to purchase a pair of shoes.

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1. Always check the sole of the shoe. I myself have been fooled into thinking that I have found the perfect knock off of a more expensive shoe. Case in point. I had been eying for quite some time a pair of high heel Mary Jane Franco Sartos that were priced at $89. Not crazy expensive, but not what I wanted to pay either. While shopping one day at Target, I spied and identical pair for $22.00. Thinking I had scored the deal of the century, I quickly scoured the racks to find a pair in my size. SCORE!! I found them and made the purchase. What I soon discovered was that these shoes were identical in every way except one.The sole of the shoe was made of plastic. Upon first glances one would assume it was made of a man-made type of leather or rubber. It definitely "looked" that way. But, au contraire mon Fraser. These were definitely made of plastic. Have you ever tried to walk in a plastic soled shoe? Let me provide a visual for you. Imagine if you will, I am walking down the street wearing a great dress. It is raining as it does so often in the Pacific Northwest, so I am carrying an umbrella in one hand and a beautiful Kate Spade bag (that I completely cherish) in the other. Out of the blue, I appear to slip on something. You know how in cartoons when someone slips on a banana peel and their feet keep kicking out from under them? That was me. It was like a slow motion cartoon. You would have thought I stepped in a puddle of grease, but no, it was just the Damn shoe and the PLASTIC SOLE that caused my fall. The umbrella takes flight from my hand and blows into the street and the beautiful Kate Spade bag skids down the street spewing all of its contents along the sidewalk. The dress is a big wet mess! I can also tell I am going to have a major bruise on my butt tomorrow. I can see the pity in people's eyes that have witnessed my fall, and is that a smirk on that person's face across the street? Why yes, yes it is. He turns as he begins to laugh. Full of humiliation and hatred for these shoes, I gather myself up off the ground and pick up my belongings. As I shuffle the rest of the way to my destination with fear in every step, I vow never to be wooed by cheap knock offs again. Quality soles will typically be either leather, or rubber, or a combination of both. A good sole is worth every penny. Not only will your feet thank you, your shoes will last much longer. I should have spent the $89 and saved myself some grief.


2. Never purchase a smaller size in the hopes that the shoe will stay on your foot better. As I have discussed before in "How to Master the Art of Walking in High Heel Shoes" this is a huge misconception among women. Somehow, they convince themselves that they need a smaller size when in fact the shoe is just not the right shoe for their foot. You know how there are certain cuts of clothing that just do not work for your figure? Shoes are the same way. Cut your losses and pass on the shoe. I guarantee, if you collect shoes the way I do, you will have your heart set on another pair in a matter of a few short days.


3. Have your feet measured. I have a client that when we went through her closet, she had shoes ranging in size from 7, 7 1/2, 8, and 8 1/2. I know for a fact she is an 8 1/2 because I took her to get her foot measured. She had continually bought smaller shoes in the hopes of keeping them on her feet. All that ended up happening was she never wore the shoes because they hurt too much. The truth of the matter is that she has narrow heels and many shoes are cut very wide. Once I turned her on to some brands that have narrower heels and showed her that a strap over the top of the shoe does wonders, she has successfully restocked her shoe collection in no time.


4. I hate mules (the type of shoe that only has strap over the toes and no heel coverage)! They give me shin splints and I can't tell you how many times my shoe has flown off the end of my foot. I have yet to master the art of the mule and I greatly respect any woman who can walk with grace in them. Unless you truly possess this rare talent, I suggest you pass on the mule. Most people either drag their foot along the ground or grip the front of the shoe with their toes to keep it on. Not attractive no matter how cute the shoe is.


5. Always try to walk on something other than carpet when trying on shoes. Carpet can give you a false sense of comfort. Notice most shoe stores are carpeted. You can't slip on carpet. Take a spin on the linoleum or tile if possible. You will notice a big difference in how the shoe feels and get a greater sense of whether of not the shoes will be comfortable in the long run.


6. Don't always buy black. Shoes make a statement about a person. Have a little fun and be a little daring. Shoes and handbags are always places where you can get away with something a little unusual. Remember there are many colors that make great neutrals. Red goes with almost anything, as does a deep purple and yet they add a punch to your outfit. Black is predictable and often too heavy of a color for many outfits.


7. Don't buy into the myth that your feet grew when you got pregnant. What probably happened was your arches fell due to the additional weight from the pregnancy. When your arches fall, your foot does get longer and you can often experience a significant amount of pain in the foot and leg. As you age, you will notice this pain then travels into your back. Trust me, I know. There are exercises to strengthen the arch. Place your foot flat on the ground and try to lift the arch of your foot while keeping the toes and heels on the ground. You probably won't be able to do it at first, but keep trying and it will get easier. You will be amazed at how much better your feet will feel.


Use these rules the next time you go shopping. Once you start shopping smart you will notice that you have a closet full of great fitting shoes instead of ill-fitting shoes filling up your closet.