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“Good for Older Ladies, Not Me”

How Elderly Women Choose Their Shoes

Annette Davis Podiatry Department, Southern Health, Kingston Centre, Cheltenham, VIC, Australia.

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Anna Murphy Clinical Gait Analysis Service, Kingston Centre, Cheltenham, VIC, Australia.

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Terry P. Haines Allied Health Clinical Research Unit, Southern Health, Cheltenham, VIC, Australia; Physiotherapy Department, Monash University, Frankston, VIC, Australia.

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Background:

Footwear selection is important among older adults. Little is known about factors that influence footwear selection among older women. If older women are to wear better footwear that reduces their risk of falls and foot abnormalities, then a better understanding of the factors underlying footwear choice is needed. This study aims to identify factors that drive footwear selection and use among older community-dwelling women with no history of falls.

Methods:

A cross-sectional survey using a structured, open-ended questionnaire was conducted by telephone interview. The participants were 24 women, 60 to 80 years old, with no history of falls or requirement for gait aids. The responses to open-ended questions were coded and quantified under a qualitative description paradigm.

Results:

The main themes identified about footwear selection were aesthetics and comfort. Aesthetics was by far the main factor influencing footwear choice. Wearing safe footwear was not identified as a consideration when purchasing footwear.

Conclusions:

This study indicates that older women are driven primarily by aesthetics and comfort in their footwear selection. These footwear drivers have implications for health-care providers when delivering fall and foot health education. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(6): 465–470, 2013)

Corresponding author: Annette Davis, BAppSc(Pod), Podiatry Department, Southern Health, Kingston Centre, Cnr Warrigal and Kingston Rds, Cheltenham, VIC, Australia 3192. (E-mail: annette.davis@southernhealth.org.au)