Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world – said Marilyn Monroe, and many women around the world repeat that after her to justify a stunning new pair of shoes they have bought. But what does it take to pick a comfortable pair of shoes that are good for your feet?
A lot of people think that heels are the living hell for the woman – but a new survey by Cuxson Gerrard seems to say the opposite! The company surveyed 60 podiatrists – and as many as 65% of them advised their clients to change their footwear to take care of their feet. It turns out it’s not the height – ballerina flats can also be dangerous. The surveyed podiatrists picked ballet flats as the shoes that are likely to cause foot problems – with heels coming second, followed by flip-flops. What should we wear, then, to make sure we’re not putting ourselves at risk?
“There are several benefits to wearing flat shoes, these include comfort when walking long distance, reduced risk of injury and they can be more practical when driving or when you have to dash for your train. However, reduced cushioning in these shoes can lead to heal fat pad damage and heel bone bruising,” explains Michael Ratcliffe, the podiatrist at Carnation Footcare. “Flat shoes can also cause tight calf muscles when standing for over 8 hours per day, especially when your shoes are not supportive.”
There is a way to make them extra comfy – make sure you’re using insoles to help cushion your feet! And what about the heels, with which most women have that love-hate relationship?
“Heeled shoes are incredibly versatile for outfits and for that reason are a key trend in the fashion industry. Great for those of us who want to elongate their legs and look that bit taller,” Ratcliffe says. “These shoes can also help make your waistline look slimmer and can assist in toning calf muscles. However, as with any shoes there are some drawbacks, these include callous or corn formation and possible bunions.”
If your favourite shoes can lead to foot problems, what is the right way to choose them? Ratcliffe shared a few tips – make sure you try these out when you set out to shop for shoes!
Right time for shoe shopping
Did you know that it’s best to shop for a new pair of fantastic shoes in the afternoon? “Your feet tend to be more swollen then,” Ratcliffe advises.
Make some space for your toes
It seems quite obvious to keep enough room in front of your shoes to be able to move your toes freely- your longest toe should finish slightly less than an inch from the end of the shoe (around the width of your own thumb). It’s crucial, not only for comfort: that’ll help you protect yourself from corns and calluses! Also, make sure that the sole at the front of your shoes flexes at the same point where your toes bend!
Your shoes should have a fastening to adjust the fit of your shoe. You should be able to make it more or less tight – to make the shoes fit perfectly to your feet!
The right heel
“The shoes should have a slight heel gradient,” Ratcliffe advises. “The heel height of your shoe should be around 20 – 40 mm high and broad for stability and to offset any tightness that you may have in your Achilles tendon”. If you walk in flat shoes, you increase the tightness in the Achilles tendon – that could lead to discomfort and muscle pain, too! Moreover, make sure that the soles of your shoes are firm in the middle – if you can’t twist them, they are much more stable for your feet!
Feet on a cushion
It’s not just about resting with your legs placed upwards: cushioning inside the shoe is also crucial. Pick a comfortable pair of shoes with the cushions inside, or invest with some comfy insoles to reduce the impact of the hard surfaces while walking.
The right material
The upper part of the shoe should be made of natural material – it allows your feet to breathe, and increases the durability of the shoes, so that you can wear that pretty pair for far longer than just a few months. That’ll also ensure that the shoes are comfortable, and are not causing any unnecessary pressure on the upper part of your foot.