Dr. Taryn Rose knows a good deal about shoes. She is not only an orthopedic surgeon, but she is also the founder of聽two extremely cool lines of shoes, the eponymous Taryn Rose brand and the new聽Dresr, which聽features sky-high Italian leather stilettos that are still *gasp* totally wearable. She鈥檚 also one of our keynote speakers at this year鈥檚 Re:Make 2015 in San Francisco (get your tickets here!) Naturally, we had to get her professional advice on what we should consider before buying. Use this as your guide the next time you plan on investing in some footwear.

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1. Try a memory cushion:聽鈥淥nly 20聽percent聽of your foot is in contact with the shoe in a heel, so most of the pressure is loaded on the forefoot. In fact, three times your body weight of pressure is on the ball of your foot in a three-inch heel,鈥 Dr. Rose tells us. 鈥淭he most important feature to look for is something to relieve this pressure. A memory cushion is great, but few designers use any cushioning.鈥

2. Watch the incline:聽鈥淭he other thing to look for in a heel is the pitch or inclination,鈥 she advises. When your shoes are too steep, you get foot pain. 鈥淢any designers add a platform in the front to decrease the pitch. Around three inches or less is tolerable in a pitch of a shoe.鈥


3. It鈥檚 all about proportions:聽鈥淭he third thing is more technical, but the heel should not be too tall or short for the last,鈥 Taryn says, 鈥渙r you will find it difficult to balance on a heel.鈥 A last is the mannequin form of a human foot that shoes are built around, btw. In other words, make sure the heel is at a good proportion to your foot.

4. Get support:聽Don鈥檛 think that it鈥檚 only heels you need to deeply consider before buying. 鈥淔or flats, I also look for support since ballerinas can be just as uncomfortable as a heel for different reasons,鈥 she says. 鈥淭his is important because the wear and tear on your foot starts on the outside arch and progresses inside,鈥 she tells us. 鈥淵our foot feels fatigue at first but after many years it can lead to a collapsed arch as you age.鈥 Yikes!


5. Look for flexibility:聽Test out a flat鈥檚 bendability before you buy. Does it curve with your foot when you walk or is it flatter and stiffer than a plank? 鈥淚 like flexibility in a flat,鈥 Dr. Rose recommends, 鈥渟ince you typically wear flats on days you need to move faster.鈥

6. Check the lining:聽Think of your shoes鈥 interior as a聽cradle for your feet. You want to make sure your foot has a nice bed. 鈥淎 good soft leather lining is also important for the breathability of the shoe in both heels and flats,鈥 she says.

7. Look for quality鈥 which sometimes comes with price:聽鈥淪ave money by making your own cappuccino,鈥 she jokes. 鈥淎fter four months you have enough to buy a good quality shoe!鈥 she says. 鈥淪pend the most money you can afford on a heel since most quality, high-end shoe designers take care to build their shoes correctly instead of taking shortcuts,鈥 she adds.


8. Make sure they fit properly: 鈥淸Many] women buy shoes that are too long for them because they need to fit the forefoot. Most shoes are made with a smaller circumference so that they look more attractive,鈥 she tells us. 鈥淚 see most women think they are a half size to one size larger than they actually are. There is not much that can be done other than to make sure the styles they choose have straps to keep the shoe on their feet.鈥

9. Add insoles for shoes that are too big:聽But what do you do when you鈥檙e at the annual Barney鈥檚 sample sale and there鈥檚 one pair of Isabel Marant boots left鈥 and they鈥檙e a half size too big? 鈥淚f your dream pair of shoes is too large, you can try to add an insole to take up some of the volume,鈥 she advises.

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10. Stretch them out if they鈥檙e a bit too small: Same scenario as above, but it鈥檚 just tad too snug? 鈥淵ou should never have to 鈥榖reak in鈥 new shoes with a good quality shoe,鈥 Taryn says. But in case you find something too small, you can try this: 鈥淔ind good leather shoes that can be stretched,鈥 she suggests. 鈥淎 shoe repair or a good shoe store will have the tools to stretch out your shoes for you.鈥

Will you be trying Taryn鈥檚 advice? Tell us in the comments below!

(Photo via Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty + Dresr +聽@shopdresr)