Get the Right Boot for Winter

Ask the Experts by David Gilboe

Q: With the winter fast-approaching, I worry about my parents walking on the snow and ice. Do you have any tips for getting them good boots that help with their stability?

A: You are right to be concerned as we all need to exercise caution when we're walking on slippery surfaces. Just like our vehicles need good tires to weather the challenges of winter, so do our feet.

A good pair of boots give us stability, keep us firmly connected to the ground, and offer us the ability to travel safely. Making sure we wear boots that maximize our safety, however, warrants some thought and consideration.

For your parents, and yourself, make sure the boots fit properly, offer support and stability, and have a good sole that grabs the surface of the ground or floor. Here are a few tips to help you outfit your feet safely:

  • Before you lace or zip up your boots, can you fit one finger behind your heel? If you can't they are too tight. If you can fit more than one finger they are too big and could be risky to your physical stability.
  • Once you have the boot on, can you wriggle your toes comfortably but still feel the boot firmly around your foot? If you can't move your toes, it is likely your boots are hitting pressure points causing you unnecessary pain. If your foot is slipping around, this will not only compromise your stability, it puts strain on the bones and muscles throughout your body.
  • Though it might seem silly, kick the wall (lightly, of course!) and make sure your toes aren't touching the end of your boot.
  • When you stand and rock your feet up and down does your heel move around? For optimal stability, it should stay firmly in place and not move in your boot.
  • When you stand and put your boot on the ground, does it slip around or grip the surface? Many boots have non-skid soles and are always better for your overall safety.

Just like we make sure our tires have good treads so they can hug the ground and get us safely to our destination, our feet should be able to do the same!

David Gilboe, PT is the President and Owner of David Gilboe & Associates, PC. David Gilboe and Associates have been providing physical and occupational to members of our community since 1979. Dave can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 586.779.8892. David Gilboe & Associates is a member of The Family Center's Association of Professionals.

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