How Your Shoes May Be Hurting Your Feet
Why you should think about more than just style when choosing footwear.
Ever get home and kick off your shoes, only to find that your feet are red, swollen and achy? Maybe it's because you've been on your feet all day. Or it could be your shoes that are causing the problem.
Here are some signs that your shoes are causing more harm than good, even if they look cute with your outfit.
- Wrong Size: Just because you wore a size 8 when you were 20, doesn't mean you're still a size 8 when you're 45. Weight fluctuations and medical conditions may cause your feet to change size. When trying on shoes to find the proper fit, do it later in the day. Feet swell as the day goes on and shoes should be fitted when they are at their largest. When buying running shoes, go up at least half a size to compensate for foot swelling while exercising.
- Worn Out: Wearing shoes past their "expiration date" may cause foot pain from plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, stress fractures and shin splints. This is because the padding and support wear thin. Depending on your activity level and how they're constructed, consider replacing shoes after 6 to 12 months of wear.
- Going Barefoot: Podiatrists are seeing an increase in foot issues due to people ditching their shoes as they work from home. Standing and walking barefoot on hard floors puts undue stress on your feet and ankles, causing inflammation and pain. Flip flops aren't much better because they don't provide arch support or shock absorption. Instead, wear a supportive pair of slippers or slip-on shoes with memory foam inserts.
- Wrong Footwear: Do you wear flip flops when you take the dog for a walk? High heels to grocery shop after work? Wearing the wrong footwear for the task may cause more damage to your feet than you realize. If you're heading out the door for more than a few minutes, make sure you're wearing shoes with good support. Need to wear those heels for an important meeting? Bring flats to change into afterwards. Your feet will thank you later!
- Not Enough Arch Support: If you have tingling or pain in your toes, heels, balls or arches of your feet, it means your shoes aren't giving you enough arch support. Many stores sell over-the-counter arch supports. If these don't help, a podiatrist can make recommendations for something that will.
- Fashion Failure: Unless you're Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City, the fashion statement high heels make probably isn't worth the pain they cause. High heels shift your weight forward to the balls of your feet, putting too much pressure on muscles and joints. If you still want to wear heels, look for ones with rounded toe boxes and a block heel or wedge that's less than two inches high. To stay fashion forward, don't discount the strappy sandal. There are many brands that offer cute but supportive styles.
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Date Last Reviewed: February 16, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD