While every piece of your wardrobe serves a fashion function, your shoes are unique in that they can also affect your health from your toes to your back and everything in between.
That’s why it’s important to know exactly what to look for in a pair of shoes that will look great and keep you safe and healthy at the same time.
Here, Dr. Eric Blanson of PMC Foot and Ankle Clinic in Spring, Texas, explains the pitfalls of ill-chosen shoes and what they can do to your feet. He specializes in biomechanics, podiatry, and sports medicine, which gives him a unique perspective on choosing the right platform for your frame.
How the wrong shoes hurt your feet
Shoes that don’t fit well or that don’t address your feet’s unique needs can lead to several complications, including:
If you suffer from any of these conditions, switching to better footwear is part of your treatment. But swapping out your ill-fitting shoes for supportive footwear ahead of time can help you prevent these problems altogether.
Common shoe mistakes that harm your feet
It doesn’t matter if you pay two bucks for your shoes or fork over $200. The only thing that matters when you buy shoes is the support and fit. Unfortunately, most people buy shoes based on how they look, not how they fit and feel, and we see the harmful effects of fashionable shoes every day.
To help you avoid the problems that come with poor shoe choices, Dr. Blanson has compiled a list of the most common shoe mistakes so you can avoid them.
We get it — bare is natural and it feels great at the end of the day. But if you have hardwood floors or tile, your soft feet are no match for these hard surfaces. Without proper support under your feet, your ankles, knees, hips, and back take the brunt of the pressure.
Going barefoot also puts you at risk for stepping on sharp objects and stubbing your toes.
Wearing the wrong size
If someone asks you your shoe size, chances are you know that number off the top of your head. The problem is that just like clothing, different manufacturers have different sizing, so don’t lock yourself into a specific number.
Age, pregnancy, and weight fluctuations can all affect the size of your feet. Measure your feet every time you shop for shoes, and always go a half size up if they feel a bit tight.
Shopping for shoes at the wrong time of day
If you’re at your favorite department store when they open in the morning, you may buy a pair of shoes that’s too small for you.
The best time to shop for shoes is at the end of the day when your feet are a little swollen.
Wearing worn-out shoes
If you’re one of those folks who proudly wears shoes they bought 20 years ago, rest assured, your feet aren’t proud of you. In fact, they’re begging you to replace them because worn-out shoes can no longer support your weight and provide you the foundation you need.
Wearing the wrong type of shoes
There are different shoes for different activities and for good reason. Each sport requires a different type of shoes to protect your feet from the risks of that particular activity and help you perform better.
Even if you’re not an athlete, you need the right shoes for the right occasion. Flip-flops might work for the beach, but not if you're going for a long walk. Hiking boots protect you from sharp branches, snake bites, and uneven terrain.
Having the wrong arch support
Everyone has different arch support needs. If your feet are flat, you need a high arch in your shoes.
If you have high arches, a condition called cavus foot, you’re more prone to your ankle twisting inward (overpronation) or outward (supination). You need special shoes or custom orthotics to support your high arches.
Wearing high heels
High-heeled shoes force the pressure of your entire body weight onto your toes. As you know, this makes for painful walking.
But even if you’re willing to withstand the discomfort for the sake of fashion, the long-term effects on your feet — bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, ingrown toenails — aren’t worth it. If you must wear high heels, limit the amount of time you wear them.
To find out which types of shoes are right for your feet, schedule an appointment with Dr. Blanson today. He can evaluate your feet and your gait and help you land on the right pair of shoes for your style and your health. Call or book online.