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Life in Motion

Summer Shoes: The Best and Worst Styles for Your Feet

Health & Prevention

Sandal season is almost upon us! Although the summer is a great time to show off your style with a variety of fun footwear, you need to be careful with which styles you select. NEBH Chief of Podiatry, Kenneth Leavitt, DPM, explains some of the best and worst shoe styles for your feet.

The Best Styles for Your Feet

One of the most important things to look for is a shoe with a one-inch heel differential (example: a shoe with a two-inch platform at the sole should have a three-inch heel). If you are going to wear sandals, make sure that they have straps so your toes don’t have to work as hard to keep the shoe in place. Also look for sandals that have contoured foot beds in which the heel sits and there is support in the arch.

When shoe shopping, consider trying on shoes in the afternoon, as your feet are naturally more swollen later in the day. If the shoe you try on is comfortable during that time period, it should be comfortable at all times. The type of shoe you choose is also important. Consider a shoe with a rounded toe. Shoes that have a pointed toe are narrower and constrict your toes, which can make your feet uncomfortable.

The Worst Styles for Your Feet

Avoid shoes that do not provide arch support, like flip flops and flats. Walking on a hard surface without the proper arch support can eventually lead to fallen arches, causing pain, swollen ankles, and weak lower leg muscles.

You will also want to stay away from high heels, which can cause foot problems like hammertoes, corns and calluses. They can also aggravate bunions, and the extra weight on the balls of your feet can lead to pain from inflammation or even stress fractures.

While these types of shoes are ok for occasional wear, for optimal foot health, you should wear a proper shoe 90 percent of the time. If you have any type of persistent foot pain, it’s important to consult a podiatric or orthopedic expert.

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