Shoes are essential whether we’re passionate about them or not. Some wardrobes have shelves and shelves of shoes. Other people may have a style or two that they favour and buy over and over again, keeping their selection to a minimum. 

For some people, shoes are a big problem. I hear it all the time: “I want something comfortable and fashionable. Why isn’t anyone making shoes for our needs?” 

To satisfy your specific fit needs, you really have to put some effort into it. Just like jeans, you have to try on many pairs of shoes to find what’s right for you. Go shoe shopping when you have time and patience. Don’t give up. Don’t assume anything. While you think you couldn’t possibly wear heels, there may be a shoe just waiting for you that has the perfect last, the perfect arch support and the perfect pitch to fit your foot and raise your heel off the ground.

Finding good fit is often easier in flats, loafers or oxfords vs shoes with higher heels. Laced flat shoes offer more fit leeway because you can adjust the laces for a wide or narrow foot. 

Leather can stretch but not a whole size. You can stretch a shoe in a specific area rather than stretching the entire shoe, with a shoe stretch block. Clarks sell one with additional knob you can add to specific areas, to stretch where a bunion is for example.  Don’t expect silk, patent leather, or fabric shoes or heels to stretch at all. Suede stretches the most. 

Make friends with your local cobbler. He or she can stretch leather, pad a shoe in the front or the back to make it more comfortable, remove stains, or weather-proof them. Your investment will last longer with their services.

Solving common foot problems

Clear out your shoe collection to eliminate  any sources of pain! When shoes hurt, you have no other choice but to stop wearing them. Forcing your feet to adjust to an ill-fitting shoe can cause injury and in some cases permanent damage.

Delicate ballet flats offer no cushion for your feet. Avoid wearing them on days when you are doing a lot of walking. Consider putting in a heel pad to absorb more of the shock of the pavement. Many flats now have a 'hidden heel', of about 1cm, which you may not have even noticed if you don't look carefully!

For foot and calf comfort, it’s best to have variety in your shoes wardrobe. Alternate between high and low heeled boots, heels and flats. Getting stuck in one shoe style can cause a problem in the future. 

Shoe inserts and insoles can make a much more comfortable fix. They are sold in shoe shops or are available in stores like John Lewis or Boots. More serious foot problems require visits to a podiatrist.

Foot powder is great for when you’re wearing shoes without socks. The powder absorbs moisture and provides comfort. Otherwise, wear 'footsies'. I know they are hard to keep on, but try a few brands till you find one that works. Carry moleskin or blister remedies with you when you’re wearing new shoes for the first time. While you’re breaking them in, your feet may need some foot aides.

It's worth trying different shoe brands from the ones you’ve been used to. You may also need to invest more money on shoes to get the fit you’re after. If you need to spend more for your shoes this year, spend less somewhere else. It’s worth it. Cheap shoes are rarely comfortable, just calculate the cost per wear on those cheap shoes you only wore once vs the more expensive pair you have worn again and again.

Take away the pain of shopping for shoes that work for you by calling me. I’ll help you find the right fit and make your feet happy again!

Lizzie Edwards is a Personal Stylist, Image Consultant and Executive Presence trainer in London, UK.