How National Shoe Fitting Week came to be March 29 2018

The Society of Shoe Fitters launched National Shoe Fitting week in 2013. It is designed to increase the public’s awareness of how feet change over time, that no two manufacturer’s sizes are the same and to help improve footfall for the Independent Retailer and anyone with retail businesses prepared to give a fitting service. Even within a manufacturer’s range shoes will fit differently despite being marked with the same size - so unless they receive guidance from the retailer, those buying online with a size in mind are still unlikely to get a well-fitting shoe.

Our Secretary attended and spoke at the recent Sohealthy Conference at Salford University, made up of Health leaders, biomechanic experts and professionals. They stated that there are massive problems with obesity and diabetes in the UK which are adversely affecting feet.

1 in 5 reception class children, 1 in 3 11-12 year olds and a quarter of men and woman are obese, leading to more cases of diabetes, skin cancers, plantar fasciitis, osteoporosis etc. and a third of NHS expenditure is spent on these problems. 6,000 diabetics have an amputation annually, 80% die within 5 years of amputation and 50% in 2 years. If their feet had been fitted professionally with well-constructed footwear, this number would decrease dramatically.

J.S. Ulbrecht said: A neuropathic patient is a patient for life! ... the ongoing cost to the NHS is a massive.

With increasing problems with the nation’s feet, the society decided to launch its campaign through its members who are all qualified shoe fitters. The campaign is supported by other footwear organisations including IFRA, CFHR and BFA etc.

This year the campaign has been additionally endorsed by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SOCPOD). They are sending out one of our posters to 11,100 of their members. The NHS actually employs 18,000 podiatrists - which says a lot about the nations feet and what we are doing to them.

Together with all our supporters we are once again promoting National Shoe Fitting Week week commencing 12th April 2014. We are encouraging shoe retailers, suppliers and shoe organisations to advertise our campaign as it will help them even more than it will help us. This is a public information campaign aimed to promote our industry and the only skillbase we have left, which continues to be eroded.

We also wish to lobby MPs and government organisations to raise awareness of the state of the nation’s foot health. There are too many suppliers of poor fitting shoes and un-qualified retailers offering cheap footwear that can actually harm feet in a very short time of wearing.

We wouldn’t trust an unqualified person to cut our hair, fix our computer or give us an eye test, yet how many of the public buy shoes self-service/online, expecting them to fit, support their foot and keep them in good shape? Shoe shops around the country are contacting schools, libraries, local media as well as other activity groups to get as many members of the public to have their feet measured by a qualified fitter, and get the population wearing shoes that fit well, and are for the purpose intended.

Ellie Dickins, President Society of Shoe Fitters

National Shoe Fitting Week article from 2013 on how it came to be - featuring Ellie Dickins