Examining old shoes before buying new ones can help you evaluate your wear patterns and buy new shoes with a better fit and style that compensates for the stresses you place on shoes.

What are your shoes trying to tell you? Here is a translation of basic wear patterns:

  • A bulge and wear to the side of the big toe means too-narrow fit or you have a bunion.
  • Outer sole wear means you turn your foot out. Orthotics may help.
  • Toe-shaped ridges on the upper means your shoes are too small or you have hammertoes.
  • Wear on the ball of the foot means your heel tendons may be too tight.
  • Wear on the inner sole means you pronate or turn your foot inward. Inner liners or orthotics may help.
  • Wear on the upper, above the toes means the front of your shoe is too low.

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