Expert Shoe-Buying Tips

Tuesday, May 8, 2007; 12:52 AM

SURE, FASHION CAN BE A PAIN, but you don't have to feel it in your feet. Here are some expert shoe-buying tips:

Judge a shoe by how it fits, not its size. If shoes feel tight, don't buy them. There is no such thing as a "break-in period."

Shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are often larger because of swelling.

Measure both feet; sizes often differ. Always fit to the larger size. Stand when being fitted. Allow a half-inch space from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe. Try on both shoes.

Select breathable, flexible materials, such as leather or nylon mesh. Don't wear high heels more than three hours at a time. If you wear them often, stretch muscles daily to lengthen them.

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