Decoding Footwear Comfort in 14 Points

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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 the 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 no-brainer

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 several sizes. On the flip side, shoes sold online have an excellent 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.

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2. Comfy Insole & Midsole

The most popular comfort-factor

This is what everybody looks for when they are considering comfort. There’s a reason behind this. After all, you are putting all of your bodyweights 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.

Foot problem is alarming in safety footwear wearers.

91% work boot and work shoe wearers had foot problems
Foot problem is alarming in safety footwear wearers.

3. Weight

Sore-feet demystified

Weight is a huge, huge factor as long as you require to wear them for more extended periods.

Say, you will 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 weighs 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!

4. Work/Purpose-Specific

Made for my job

This is something people tend to ignore at first. Look at the happy workers, working for a long time in a specific sector. The joggers, hikers, hunters or bikers doing it for a really long time have a typical pattern.  They wear something specific, something special. That’s because, when cobbling companies design a brand new pair, they fix their target buyers. They make some for all, some are produced for many jobs and others are pinpointed. To the senior workmen and enthusiasts, prepared 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 are ensured, we need greater grip within the shoes and beneath the outsole. This is more experience that calculation. This is why you need to rely on a renowned brand. Big old brands never let users down in basic needs.

6. Molding 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 quickly as they’re old or do they just make you love it- that’s the question.

7. Energy Return

A simple yet way too effective process

Believe me, energy return is not a hell of a technology. You can get it in boots, shoes, sneakers, and even in sandals or flip-flops. Yet, people 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 into them. There better be a gulf of difference! We all know the saying: never compromise on three things, the bed you sleep on, the tires your car is running on and finally, the shoes bearing your whole body. Enough padding makes sure that the boot material does 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 notice the difference. They cut the collars unlike most. Same goes for tongue, laces, eyelets and predominantly, the bendings, amount and placements of leather. 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 all but comfortable. Getting the inside wet means other comfort features will eventually run away. Our feet let out a lot of water in the form of vapor. They frequently sweat too. It’s a continuous process which speeds up whenever you are wearing something and walking a lot.

If you feel hot within the boots, start sweating, it will cause bad, lousy stink.

All of these phenomena 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 will 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 quickly, 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. These need much more space than traditional shoes give. Toenails are easily deformed by continuous pressure. The bones are thinner. Blood flow is easily restricted by those small toe boxes. Toes are a significant source of soreness. Larger toe boxes and caps can prevent these.

13. Look

A vast chain reaction worth noticing

Comfort is a mental state… okay, let’s call it this way, a psychophysical phenomenon. If your feet look better, you look better. If you look stronger, you are treated better. Better treatment boosts mood. Boosted mood elevates efficacy. Elevated efficacy brings more result. The result brings confidence and a dopamine-boost. This results in heightened personality which will inhibit pain and soreness in many ways. This state will even heal your pain quicker and `make yourself comfortable’ in postures and steps. As we all recognize, fatigue is directly correlated with stress and anxiety which amplifies every bit of negative sense.

Yeah, make sure that your super comfy footwear looks nice and badass!

14. Durability

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 with time. The issue is, people do not necessarily feel uncomfortable all of a sudden. Shoes start falling apart by a more extended, and the definition of comfort starts adapting and compromising without letting you know.

Did we miss any of the essential points?

Let us know, as comfort is the number one concern while someone goes to buy a pair

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