I have endless problems getting shoes I can wear for eight hours a day that do not hurt - a man's size seven is bigger than a woman's size seven. Also, different makes of the apparent same size vary by as much as half a size. Suppliers do not take width into consideration. It is not possible to stretch steels.
Horticulturist, south-east England.
A: Finding correctly fitting and comfortable footwear can be a frustrating process. I too have noticed discrepancies when it comes to sizing, especially with steel toe-cap wellington boots. I know I need a size five to wear thick woolly socks, but a size four fits much better.
Have you tried Steitz Secura footwear, available from Cheltenham-based Sevenside Safety Supplies? I choose this brand as my main boot and can wear it all day at shows such as IoG Saltex where there is plenty of walking to be done on hard and grassed surfaces.
Not only do the boots cushion and protect my feet, they have special features that mean I feel less tired at the end of the day than I would if wore normal shoes. Well worth the price, even though I did initially wince at the £85 tag.
The Steitz Secura safety footwear range includes boots, shoes and trainers, including Classics, Gortex, ESD-rated (electrostatic discharge for use in electrostatic protected areas), Aluminium Toe Cap and Ladies styles. The Ladies range includes many styles that go down to size 38 (five) and in a few cases down to size 36 (three). Euro sizes vary by about 7-8mm between sizes.
In addition, Steitz Secura footwear comes in normal width (NB) or extra wide (XB). A lot of styles give the option of extra, extra wide (XXB) or narrow fitting (S).
These boots and shoes not only look after your feet, they also look after your back. Most styles incorporate the Vario Weight Dependent Heel Cushioning System.
This is a colour-coded system of shock-absorbing heel cushions. You choose the one that matches your weight. Normally when you step forward, an impulsive shock wave is triggered that continues right up into the spine. The cushion takes the shock out of every step. It is tested and recommended by the AGR (German Back Care Organisation).
One of its latest developments is the VX Flex Zone sole, which follows the natural bio-mechanic movement of the foot.
Other developments include Sure Step anti-slip soles, Vitality sole cushioning, ERGO-COOL for maintaining optimum foot temperature and the GORE-TEX XCR extended comfort range of waterproof but breathing safety footwear.
To find out more about this range of footwear, visit the Sevenside Safety website (www.sevsafe.co.uk), where you will find technical information and details of how to measure you feet. - Sally Drury has been reporting on product developments and testing kit for 28 years. The advice given in this helpline is independent.
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