Decoding Footwear Comfort in 14 Points
We suffer a lot when it comes to comfort. Is it a single feature? Does it depend on any particular area of your shoes? No. Comfort is rather like oxygen. Significantly present in the air, water, fire, every living thing and in the rust and decays. But, not visible. Yes, boot comfort depends on everything. The material, construction, sewing, placement and most importantly, comfort depends on experience.
We tried a lot to define comfort factors of a boot or a shoe.
(Don’t miss number 6, 9 and 13; I’ve enjoyed writing those points.)
Here’s what we’ve found:
- Fitting and Breaking In
A pair not fitting well is anything but comfortable. As long as the shoes are not as classic as Red Wing Heritage, a big break-in time means big sore feet for days.
Now there is hope, you can easily find narrow, medium and wide footwear in a number of sizes. On the other hand, shoes sold online have a good opportunity of returning them if they do not fit well. To be safe on fitting, read the reviews and question-answer sections. We here at ShoeAsk.com provide enough data on fittings as well as breaking in.
[Hey! We’ve enabled Facebook commenting so that we don’t miss a bit from you.]
2. Comfy Insole & Midsole
The most popular comfort-factor
This is what everybody look for when they are considering comfort. There’s a reason behind this. After all, you are putting all of your bodyweight solely on the insole and eventually on the midsole. If they can somehow manage to support your feet and weight well, that translates as comfort.
Sore-feet demystified 🙂
Weight is a huge, huge factor as long as you need to wear them for longer periods of time.
Say, you are going to wear a pair for a month. You need to walk, stand and sit down wearing those for 8 hours each day, 6 days a week. You spend one-third walking. It means, you are taking 15 steps per minute; 7,200 steps a day; 187,200 steps a month. If the footwear weigh 300 grams less each, they will save you 56,160 KG extra weight per month.
No wonder sore-feet is a common issue among people around us!
Made for my job
This is something people tend to ignore at first. Look at the workers that are happy, working for a long time in a specific sector. The joggers, hikers, hunters or bikers doing it for a really long time have a common pattern. They tend to wear something specific, something special. That’s because, when cobbling companies design a brand new pair, they fix their target buyers. Some are made for all, some are made for a number of jobs and others are pinpointed. To the senior workmen and enthusiasts, made for all means made for nothing.
If you can pick a job-specific pair, job-specific comfort is by default the first priority of the makers along with safety.
5. Flexibility, Stability & Grip
Enough control over my footwear
It may seem funny, but we need a balanced point between flexibility and stability. That’s so biological! After flex and stability is ensured, we need greater grip within the shoes and beneath the outsole. This is more experience that calculation. This is why, always rely on a renowned brand. Big old brands never let users down in basic needs.
6. Moulding Around the Feet
‘Getting personal’ over time
Ever wondered how come good old classic and heritage boots and shoes become so comfortable after 2-6 months?
Maybe the footwear fit well and are broken-in. What if they are not taking shape around your feet? That’s because shoes and boots will not remain new forever. Do they wear out as soon as they’re old or do they just start make you loving it- that’s the question.
7. Energy Return
A simple yet way too effective process
Believe me, energy return is not hell of a technology. You can get it in boots, shoes, sneakers, and even in sandals or flip-flops. Yet, people tend to ignore this feature. If your footwear has enough impact-bumping character, it will help your whole legs in a number of ways.
8. Padding & Cushioning
Sink within the shoes
Some wear them and others sink in them. There better be a gulf of difference! We all know the saying: never compromise on three things, the bed you sleep on, the tyres your car is running on and finally, the shoes bearing your whole body. Enough padding makes sure that boot material do not scratch, rub, press or get your feet bloody.
9. Anatomical Cut
Bending with nature
Another crucial yet overlooked expertise. Only the finest cobblers know these secrets. If you look at the collars of Danner or Keen boots, you will feel the difference. The collars are cut unlike most. Same goes for tongue, laces, eyelets and most importantly, the bendings, amount and placements of leather. Very few brands care to provide softer material over ankle tendon.
10. Waterproofing & Ample Breathability
Water+heat+sweat+stink= comfort spoiled
These two are distinct features but closely related to comfort. If you get the feet wet, you will feel anything but comfort. Getting the inside wet means other comfort features are going to run away sooner or later. Our feet let out a lot of water in the form of vapor. They frequently sweat too. It’s a continuous process which accelerate whenever you are wearing something and walking a lot.
If you feel hot within the boots, start sweating, it will result into bad bad stink.
All of these phenomenon go against comfort.
11. Leather/Nylon Quality
Good natural support all around
The leather should be stretchy, thick, soft and well treated. Good leather ensures that the footwear is going to conform to the feet. On the other hand, nylon and other parts like mesh lining should have similar characteristics. If those parts tear and wear out easily, the shoe will be quite uncomfortable. Hard and rough upper material may continually press your feet in the wrong way.
12. Toe Room
Space for the softer parts
Wiggle room is a comparatively newer idea.
Toes are more vulnerable as they are softer, separate parts of the feet that need much more space that the traditional shoes give. Toe nails are easily deformed by continuous pressure. The bones are thinner. Blood flow is easily restricted by those small toe boxes. Toes are a major source of soreness. All of these can be prevented by larger toe boxes and caps.
A huge chain reaction worth noticing
Comfort is a mental state… okey, let’s call it this way, a psychophysical phenomenon. If your feet look better, you look better. If you look better, you are treated better. Better treatment boosts mood. Boosted mood elevates efficacy. Elevated efficacy brings more result. Result brings confidence and a dopamine-boost. This results into heightened personality which will inhibit pain and soreness in a number of ways. This state will even heal your pain quicker and `make yourself comfortable’ in postures and steps. As we all know, fatigue is directly correlated to stress and anxiety which amplifies every bit of negative sense.
Yeah, make sure that your super comfy footwear looks nice as well as badass!
When old is rust instead of gold
Give up on them as soon as you feel uncomfortable. This will not spin around. They will be behaving worse by time. The problem is, people do not essentially feel uncomfortable all of a sudden. Shoes start falling apart by a longer period of time and the definition of comfort starts adapting and compromising without letting you know.
Did we miss any of the important points?
Let us know, as comfort is the number one concern while someone goes to buy a pair.