Just like you would not judge a book by its cover, it is unwise to make a choice on new shoes simply on what they look like which is why buying new shoes can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
The way shoe stores are laid out sometimes makes this worse, with the flashiest, newest models designed to catch your eye first.
But doing a little research before you make your choice means that you will leave with a pair of shoes much better suited to your requirements.
This will ensure you look at all of the available options, and not just that shiny pair in the most prominent display case in the store!
What you use your shoes for
This should be the first question you ask yourself before you make your purchase.
If you are truly looking for some general use shoes for light everyday use or for gentle strolls around town or to the movies, then great.
But often, people then expect to be able to use the same shoes for sports activities or longer hikes.
This is where generalist shoes tend to struggle, and more attention needs to be paid to the purchase.
If you do a lot of activities, it may be wise to invest in multiple pairs of shoes specialised for each activity.
This may sound expensive, but it is an approach that is highly likely to save you money in the long run when you do not need to keep replacing shoes.
Which activities do you enjoy doing the most?
What does your typical week look like?
Think about this first to start planning your purchase.
The requirements even vary between sports, with running shoes requiring cushioning to absorb the impact of this unnatural motion, while walking shoes provide higher, more sturdy ankle support.
Assign a role for your shoes
In the same way that you assign tools in the kitchen a role, do not expect your shoes to function well with everything or perform well whatever you need them to do.
Many modern shoes look cool and can be tempting simply because of that.
The big brands such as Nike are great at displaying their shoes for example, but they are mostly running shoes.
Try to avoid falling into the trap of defaulting to the big brands or a particular shoe simply because it looks cool.
Simple things such as a lack of ankle support or too soft a shoe can lead to negative effects on your body, bank balance, and shoe itself!
Why are the right shoes so important?
Everyone knows what it feels like to suffer uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes.
Spending a long time on your feet or participating in sports with the wrong type of footwear can turn activities that should be fun into absolute grinds.
From swollen feet to blisters and ankle injuries, the wrong shoes can cause all kinds of discomfort.
This is especially important when you are taking part in long distance runs or hikes because your feet and ankles need all the support and cushioning, they can get.
Choosing the material your shoes are made of
You may not think this is a big thing, but it can make a lot of difference.
Again, this varies depending on your lifestyle.
If you are constantly active and take part in intense activities, you should look for a more robust material such as leather.
This does not have to mean that you need a formal leather shoe, but you can get stylish, harder wearing leather sports shoes.
It is good for absorbing impacts and protects your feet well from the bumps and knocks of contact sports.
Leather also lasts a long time, making it a solid, durable option.
The lack of wear and tear on a leather shoe also make it good value for money in the long term.
On the flip side, leather shoes can be on the more expensive end of the market.
If you have a little more budget to invest on your purchase, buying leather is highly advisable.
Alternatively, some brands have created leather hybrids by blending predominantly leather shoes with cheaper materials to combine quality with price.
The choice is yours, but ultimately it will come down to how much you can afford to pay at one time for your shoe purchase.
Investing in a leather shoe will almost certainly pay dividends in the longer term as you will not have to replace them as frequently.
But everyone has a budget, so be realistic and find the shoe that best suits you within your price range.