Getting a Good FitEveryone knows that when it comes to shoes, the biggest comfort factor is getting a good fit. In fact the only real "secret" is that that's easier said than done. First off, our feet our three dimensional, not two-dimensional. So, while size charts can be helpful, they don't measure the girth of our feet. Consequently, they can't be relied upon for total accuracy.
Additionally, every manufacturer, every style, every pair, every shoe, and every foot is different -- when you think of it that way, it's amazing it works out as often as it does.
So, by all means, use size charts and have your feet measured -- but use these measurements as a starting point, not as a fact that's written in stone. The shoes you bought today might have declared you a size 6, but tomorrow's shoes might deem you to be a size 7.5 ... the wise person listens to the shoes.
Here are some additional tips for trying on shoes.
Look for Shoes with Round Toes ...Or oval toes, or even squarish toes, but at least, look for shoes without pointy toes, or any other toebox that forces your toes into an unnatural and uncomfortable position. Best case scenario, your digits will have room to move a bit, at a minimum, they shouldn't be crammed together or pushed to the side.
The Hidden Causes of Uncomfortable ShoesOften what makes a pair of shoes uncomfortable is what's on the inside. Exposed seams, bits of rubber or leather that rub against the back of your heel, or openings that press against the top of your foot can all make an attractive pair of shoes unbearable to wear. Pay particular attention to these details when trying shoes on, and be sure to take a look at the inside of the shoes for any problematic areas as well.
Flats are Good, But Some Fall FlatAs a general rule, flats are more comfortable and better for you than heels. But not all flats are created equal, and some flats are downright excruciating to wear for any length of time. As with any shoes, keep in mind you need a comfortable toe box shape, proper arch support, and no exposed seams inside.
Look for Heels that Aren't StilettosEven if you're in the market for high heels, some choices are more comfortable than others. A wide or chunky heel provides a larger base for your weight to be distributed upon, thereby creating a more comfortable high heel experience.
Know Your Feet, Know Your ShoesDo you have high arches? Then narrow, pull-on boots might be a problem for you. Wide feet? Then you might need to size up in those little Puma "Future Cats" you just found.
Use the shoes you already own to figure out what works for you, and pay close attention to future purchases to see why some styles work and others don't. There's a reason you find some brands and styles more comfortable, and it's likely that those many of those traits can be found in other brands and styles as well.