If the shoe fits: Development of an on-line tool to aid practitioner/patient discussions about 'healthy footwear'

Lisa Farndon*, Vicki Robinson, Emily Nicholls, Wesley Vernon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A previous study highlighted the importance of footwear to individuals' sense of their identity, demonstrating that shoes must 'fit' someone socially, as well as functionally. However, unhealthy shoes can have a detrimental effect on both foot health and mobility. This project utilises qualitative social science methods to enable podiatrists to understand the broader contribution of footwear to patients' sense of themselves and from this an online toolkit was developed to aid footwear education. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six podiatrists/shoe-fitters and 13 people with foot pathologies, some of whom also completed shoe diaries. These were supplemented with some follow-up interviews and photographs of participants' own shoes were taken to allow in-depth discussions. Results: Four areas related to 'fit' were identified; practicalities, personal, purpose and pressures, all of which need to be considered when discussing changes in footwear. These were incorporated into an online toolkit which was further validated by service users and practitioners in a focus group. Conclusion: This toolkit can support podiatrists in partnership with patients to identify and address possible barriers to changing footwear towards a more suitable shoe. Enabling patients to make healthier shoe choices will help contribute to improvements in their foot health and mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)17
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Research
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). 2016


  • Footwear
  • On-line toolkit
  • Social science methods
  • Esthetics
  • Life Style
  • Social Norms
  • Choice Behavior
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic/methods
  • Focus Groups
  • England
  • Online Systems
  • Pressure
  • Shoes/standards
  • Foot/physiopathology
  • Foot Diseases/rehabilitation

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