June 21, 2013 4:11am CST
It is easy to look to the body as an example of perfect symmetry. Everything comes in twos—two eyes, two ears, two arms, two hands, two legs, two feet. We expect these “partners in crime” to work together in a way that makes life easier. Your left eye may not see 20:20, but perfect vision in your right eye can make the overall picture clearer. Different sized feet, unfortunately, make life more complicated. Not only do differences in foot size and shape make it difficult to purchase shoes, they also can throw your body’s alignment out of whack. When it comes to mismatched feet, it is important to care for each foot in turn. One foot should not have to suffer in order to make the other one more comfortable. Forcing a foot into a shoe that is too tight or too large, or one that does not provide the proper orthopedic support, will only lead to additional foot maladies. Unfortunately, shoes come in perfectly matched pairs (unlike our imperfectly matched feet). Purchasing two pairs of shoes in order to acquire one pair of shoes that meets the needs of your feet is a frustrating and expensive experience. And it is one familiar to all too many people. Some studies suggest that upwards of 60 percent of Americans have feet that are two different sizes. Keep these simple rules in mind when shopping for shoes for mismatched feet: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Few of us have feet that are identical in size. If your feet are only 1/2 size apart, or even a full size, you may be able to wear the same size shoe on each foot with a few minor adjustments. Let the big dog lead. You should always purchase shoes with your larger foot in mind. It is easier to tighten a slightly loose shoe using inserts or special shoe tying techniques (see page 124 ) than it is to make a too tight shoe stretch. Shop around. Although Nordstrom4 is a notable exception, most department stores do not have easy solutions for people who need right and left shoes in different sizes. You may be forced to buy two pairs of shoes in order to have one pair that fits your mismatched feet. Instead, buy shoes from online retailers or specialty stores that will let you mix and match sizes. We may be a little partial, but you may want to check out OddShoeFinder.com, where users with mismatched feet can find mismatched shoes posted by others, post their own pairs of mismatched shoes (left over from buying one pair for the size of each foot), and even find their “sole” mates – users with complementary foot sizes.