The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Black Friday Shopping: 5 Tips for Pain-Free Feet

Posted by on Wednesday, November 21st, 2012


For many Americans, shopping for bargains on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is part of their holiday tradition. Some people get up before dawn to get on line early, but in recent years, stores have even been opening up on Thanksgiving evening, attracting an after dinner crowd with super bargains. In a 2011 study, 26% of those surveyed said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving night, so maybe we’ll soon have to start calling Thanksgiving “Black Friday Eve.”

Nevertheless, Friday remains the big day for shopping, and with people in 2012 planning to spend more on holiday shopping than in 2011, the stores will likely be more crowded than ever. However, while you may emerge from your Black Friday shopping expedition with hard-won bargain priced shiny new tablet computers, cell phones, and a bigger screen TV, a day at the mall or big box store can be hard on your feet. So let’s think about what you can do to make it through the day with (relatively) pain-free feet.

Choose your shoes wisely I’m sure I don’t even need to tell you to stay away from high heels for a big shopping trip, but your beloved ballet flats are also a bad choice. They don’t offer any support for your arches, allow your feet to slide around inside them, and have thin soles that offer no cushioning or protection. Instead, choose shoes that have a thick enough sole to keep your feet off the hard ground, some kind of arch support, and laces or straps to keep your shoes firmly on your feet.

Add support If you have noticed that your feet tend to ache quickly when you stand or walk for even a short period of time, this may be a good opportunity to try out some insoles that add arch support. You can find these inserts that you just slide into your shoes for a pretty low price in your average drug store; many even come with cushioning or gel pads. These inserts can also be a big help if you insist on wearing the aforementioned ballet flats or the similarly bad for your feet UGGs. If you notice that they make a real difference in how your feet feel, you may want to consider consulting a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine ( 212.996.1900 ) to find out if you have a foot issue that can be resolved with custom-fit orthotics, which will fit better and last longer than the drugstore type.

Bring band-aids Do you really want to derail your shopping trip because a blister is forming? Do you want to waste time wandering around the mall looking for a drugstore that sells band-aids? Instead bring the band-aids with you, and if you feel a blister forming on your foot, find a place to sit down and carefully put the band-aid on your foot. Your goal is just to protect it from whatever has been rubbing on that area, causing the blister to form. When you get home, you can decide if it needs further care or if you can just leave it alone.

Shop for shoes last While most people hit the stores on Black Friday in search of electronics and toys, many apparel and shoe stores also have jumped on the bandwagon, offering sales for those who are inclined to pick up a little present for themselves along the way. However,  be careful about making a shoe store your first stop. Your feet swell throughout the day so the best way to get your most accurate fit is at the end of the day or at least at the end of your shopping trip. Don’t worry about missing out on something–most people will be too busy chasing bargains in the toy department to wear out the shoe stores.

Be nice to your feet when you get home Give your feet a break when you get home. If your feet feel sore, give yourself a foot bath in those bath salts you got last year and had no use for until now, or try one of these homemade foot soaks. You also can cool  tired feet with peppermint foot lotion.

If you enjoy the chaos of Black Friday shopping, then these tips will make your day even better by preserving your feet. If you don’t enjoy the shopping rush, then here’s the easiest foot care tip of all: stay home and shop online. Happy Thanksgiving!



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.