What do you always look at when shopping for some new pairs of shoes? Maybe you are always interested in comfort more than anything, hence making the appearance of the shoes to be of less importance to you. Maybe you are just interested in the shoe’s fit. However, do you always consider what gender the shoes you are about to buy are meant for?
It’s always tempting to dismiss the difference between women and men’s shoes. Most people think that those differentiating between men’s shoes and women’s shoes is a marketing gimmick. Studies have shown that men and women have different requirements for shoes, especially running shoes. Here are some of the difference between men and women shoes.
1. The shape of the Shoe
If you compare women’s shoes to men’s shoes, you will notice that there is always a big difference in the width of the shoes. When you compare women’s shoes to men’s shoes, you will realize that there is a difference in their build. Women’s shoes are usually wider in the toe and forefoot area and a bit narrow in the heel. This difference reflects the difference in foot shapes of men and women.
Overall, men’s shoes are generally large-sized and wider than women’s shoes. The two genders also have different requirements as far as heel support, comfort, fit and even weight of the shoes is concerned. That is why you will find shoes of the same brand having different features for different genders.
Most people don’t know what a Q-angle is. Well, it is the angle of incidence that the quad muscle makes with the kneecap. Women’s shoes generally have wider Q-angles as compared to men’s shoes. The reason being women have wider hips as compared to men. Larger Q-angles help to prevent pronation. Pronation is the motion of the outer and inner ball of the foot whenever a person walks or run.
Due to their wider hips, women tend to pronate more than men. They require shoes that will provide more support as a result. For overpronators, their foot always pushes off completely from their big toes and does not evenly spread the shock.
Underpronators, on the other hand, have the outside of their feet bear most of their body weight since the weight is not transferred to the big toes. This can cause serious injuries over time. Keeping this in mind, shoe designers usually use different materials for outsole and midsole for women’s shoes as compared to men’s shoes.
3. Effect of Weight
On average, women’s bodies are composed of 15 percent less muscle as compared to men. As a result, women weigh less than men. Women’s shoes are, therefore, made with midsoles that are capable of withstanding less impact whenever each foot strikes the ground. Because of this, materials used to make women shoes are usually a bit softer and lighter than those used in men’s shoes.
Besides that, although both men and women’s shoes are designed with carved flex grooves into the forefoot area, for women shoes, these grooves are significantly deeper. The reason is that women have a lower body mass that makes it a bit hard to flex the midsole. The grooves are thus added to help in flexing the midsole.
4. Personal Fit
There is a wide range of shoes in the market and most of them are designed to cater for a wide range of requirements and preferences. However, some women might have wider feet. Some men too can have narrower feet.
In such cases, they might find shoes meant for the opposite gender offering them the best fit. As a result, differences in the fit offered by shoes should not prevent you from finding the right shoes that will offer you with the perfect fit.
5. Shoe Styles
Men and women’s shoes are categorized differently. For men’s shoes, categorization is usually based on how closed or open they are or what kind of ornaments are on the shoe. Men’s shoes range from derby, Monk-straps, Oxford and slip-on. Oxford shoes are those that have a “closed lacing” system. Monk-straps, on the other hand, are shoes that use buckles and straps as their fastening mechanism.
Derby shoes have a lacing system where the laces are fastened independently to the vamp. Lastly, the slip-on types have no fastening or lacing mechanism. You just slip them on. Women’s shoes, on the other hand, come in a wide variety of styles. However, the most common types are the ballet flats, heels, mules, pumps and slingbacks.
As the name suggests, ballet flats have a very low heel. When you wear them, your feet will completely be parallel to the ground. They are the best shoe option for wearers who need to be on their feet for long periods of time. High heels, on the other hand, lift the heels at least two to three inches above the ground. They are best suited for formal occasions or social outings.
6. Decorative Additions
Men and women’s shoes also differ a lot in terms of decorative add-ons. Most men’s shoes are decorated with extra material like leather that usually covers the toes. Some are decorated with a cap while some are designed with perforated panels extending towards either side of the footwear.
When it comes to women’s shoes, there is a wide variety of decorative additions. Some shoes have metals, feathers, fabrics and gems as decorative additions.
So, what can is you say is the difference between men and women shoes? There are a lot of differences between men and women’s shoes as you have seen above. Most of the differences lie in the size and shape of the shoes. Men’s shoes are generally wider as compared to women’s shoes. Men’s shoes are also quite heavier than women’s shoes. Men weigh more than women hence their shoes are built with materials that can handle all the extra impact, making the shoes to weigh more than women’s shoes.
When shopping for a new pair of shoes, put the needs of your foot first. Keep in mind that when it comes to the right shoe for you, there is no fixed rule. Your comfort is what matters at the end of the day, as long as you get a shoe of the right size.