7 Tips For Wearing Sneakers Over 65, According to Doctors and Style Experts
Whether you're looking for performance or style, your perfect pair is out there.
Whether you call them sneakers or trainers, athletic footwear may be the one apparel item that defines modern casual style. We wear them for comfort, sports performance, and fashion. Engineering and science have made huge strides in the performance aspect, and an entire culture with many sub-variants supports sneakers-as-fashion. There's no age limit to any of those reasons to wear them, and in some cases, it makes them even more perfect for senior women. It's worth taking a look, though, at the best shoes to choose before lacing up. Keep reading to hear from experts on feet and fashion on how to pick a pair if you're over 65.
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Know what key comfort indicators to look for.
While you don't need to forgo fashion or good looks, you'll want to prioritize being comfortable in your shoes.
"As you get older, your feet may become less flexible and more susceptible to injury. Look for shoes that provide support in all the right places, such as through cushioning or arch support," advises Daniel Pledger, a podiatrist and founder of ePodiatrists. "Look for sneakers made of breathable materials like mesh or leather that help keep your feet cool and dry. This will not only make your shoes more comfortable but also help prevent injuries from developing."
The style pros at Stitch Fix suggest the Skechers Uno – Shimmer Away sneaker as a high-comfort option. For those who are on their feet all day, the Skechers sneaker is extra padded with a one-and-a-half-inch heel. The faux leather is perfect for those looking to level up their wardrobe and prioritize comfort.
And pay close attention to fit.
When you're over 60, it's more important than ever that your shoes fit properly. "As you age, your feet may begin to change shape and size. To ensure the best possible fit, it's important to invest in sneakers that accommodate these changes," says Pledger. "Opt for shoes that are slightly larger than your actual size."
Michael Fishkin, a certified pedorthist at Northern Illinois Foot and Ankle Specialists, suggests getting measured by a sales associate when trying on footwear. "You need to have a half to a full thumbnail length from the end of your shoe to the longest toe to ensure proper length."
Holly Chayes, a personal style coach at Who Wears Who, adds that it's not uncommon to have one foot that is slightly larger than the other. "When you're waffling between shoe sizes err on the side of the shoe that is most comfortable for your larger foot."
Add on and customize for your feet and body.
If fit is a real issue for you, Pledger says you may want to "consider purchasing custom-made sneakers from a specialty store."
One common reason to do this is if your lower body posture is uneven. "This usually happens when one leg is lengthened more than the other," explains Nancy Mitchell, a registered nurse and writer at Assisted Living Center. "It can help to have your sneaker adjusted for the unevenness in your height. You can ask your shoemaker to add some height in the sole of the shoe that fits onto your shorter-length limb. This can help even out your stance and improve your posture."
For simpler issues, store-bought shoe aids may help. "If your sneakers feel a bit stiff or uncomfortable, consider adding a shoe insert for extra cushioning," suggests Pledger. "This can help reduce pressure on your feet and prevent common injuries such as calluses or blisters. Wear orthotic inserts if you have foot problems like bunions or plantar fasciitis."
Take time to break sneakers in.
Pledger says it's also important to break in new sneakers. "Start by wearing them around the house for an hour or two each day before going for longer walks or runs. This will help your shoes conform to the shape of your feet, making them more comfortable and preventing common injuries like blisters or calluses."
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Know your athletic shoes from your fashion kicks.
Not all sneakers are alike. If you're running, power-walking, or working out at the gym (or any other activity where you're relying on your shoes for something other than complementing your outfit), you'll want to choose a pair made specifically for that activity. Running shoes, for example, may cushion or correct according to your needs, while cross-trainers may focus on keeping you balanced while exercising.
For example, "though it may be easier on your fingers, slip-on footwear should be limited to short durations of time as the shoe isn't 100 percent secure on the foot," points out Fishkin.
Consider your laces.
Avoid shoes with laces that can be difficult to tie and untie. "As you grow older, it can become harder to bend down and tie your shoes," says Pledger. Or, consider swapping traditional shoelaces for elastic laces.
Shoelaces can also pose a tripping hazard, which is especially dangerous as we age. In this case, the Stitch Fix style pros suggest the Veja Recife leather sneaker. "Perfect for effortless fashion at every age, these sneakers are a simple silhouette that can be dressed up and down and are lace-free for ladies on the go."
READ THIS NEXT: 5 Tips for Wearing Boots Over 65, According to Style Experts.
And don't forget about style!
Yes, it's important to prioritize finding supportive sneakers, but that doesn't mean you have to completely let style go out the window.
Elizabeth Kosich, a personal stylist at Elizabeth Kosich Styling, believes that a sharp pair of sneakers is the embodiment of sportswear—at any age. And for those over 65, it's hard to beat their comfort and versatility. "The key to looking fabulous and not frumpy is elevating the look for a high/low effect. This keeps you looking current, relevant, and polished, and not mistaken for being on your way to the gym," she says.
One way to acheive Kosich's high-low look is to pair sneakers with some of your favorite investment pieces. "Think luxury touches like cashmere and leather to offset the casualness of the sneaker," she advises. "A popular go-to winter uniform is leather pants, a cashmere turtleneck with bulky, traction-soled sneakers, and a puffer coat." Another trick she shares is to roll or fold up the hem of your jeans "to make a wide cuff to shorten and set the stage for your cool kicks."
If you want a stylish sneaker that's a little more on the dressy side, try the on-trend Warren Sneaker from Vince. The style pros at Stitch Fix say these sneakers never go out of style. Beloved by women young and old, they're the perfect slip-on sneaker for a dress, jeans, or sweats. The platform provides a flattering look that elongates the legs.