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The human foot combines mechanical complexity and structural strength. The ankle serves as foundation, shock absorber, and propulsion engine. The foot can sustain enormous pressure (several tons over the course of a one-mile run) and provides flexibility and resiliency. The foot and ankle contain: •26 bones (One-quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet.); •33 joints; •more than 100 muscles, tendons (fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones), and ligaments (fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones); and •a network of blood vessels, nerves, skin, and soft tissue. These components work together to provide the body with support, balance, and mobility. A structural flaw or malfunction in any one part can result in the development of problems elsewhere in the body. Abnormalities in other parts of the body can lead to problems in the feet. Take your time. If possible, buy your boots or shoes in the afternoon. Our feet are generally smaller in the morning and tend to swell in size as the day progresses. The same thing also happens on walks and treks, so this should be taken into account. If you use orthopaedic shoe lifts or insoles, take them with you when buying new footwear and try them with the shoes. It’s a good idea to take your favourite socks with you too. And ALWAYS try on both boots/shoes. How do I choose the right size? You should be able to measure a finger’s width of space between your big toe and the tip of the shoe. This is particularly important on descents, where you don’t want your toes to hit the front of the shoe. Check to see if the heel fits properly by trying the shoe on with the laces undone. If it is loose at the sides, the heel is too wide. Test your new pair of shoes/ boots for at least ten minutes, or even longer if you can. Walk around the shop, go upstairs and downstairs in them. Try to simulate how you will use them in the mountains. If you are still not sure, ask your specialist retailer if you can take the boots or shoes home with you to test indoors, for example under the desk at work.