When it comes to foot care, probably two things above all others will influence your foot health: having a good relationship with your local podiatrist (that’s a foot and ankle doctor), and wearing good shoes. The former should be fairly simple. Since foot and ankle doctors are educated and licensed just like other kinds of doctors, you’ll just need to find one in your area with whom you have a comfortable rapport and remember to keep up with your appointments.
The latter, however, can be a little trickier — especially if you don’t want to be wearing running shoes with your business suits or going-out clothes. Of course, a supportive athletic shoe will provide optimum support for your feet, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on foot health entirely when picking out more fashionable options. Here are five things to look for in any style of shoe when you’re shopping for footwear:
- The Right Flexibility:
Good shoes will bend where your foot bends, at the joint of the big toe. Shoes that are overly flexible throughout the sole won’t provide enough support.
- Toe Box Room:
The toe box should provide ample room for your toes (at least a centimeter of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. The toe box should also be wide enough that your toes are squeezed together, meaning pointed-toe shoes are a bad idea.
- Longitudinal Strength:
Good shoes should limit a twisting motion in the foot. To test this, try a “wringing out” motion on a potential shoe and see if it resists.
- Fastening Choices:
Whether you prefer buckles, straps, elastic, laces or even Velcro, your shoes should be secured to your feet by some means.
- Low Heel Height:
It should come as no surprise that high heels are bad for the feet. They shift the weight forward, lead to shortening in the muscles and tendons in the back of the leg, and make the wearer more prone to falls. If you must wear a shoe with a heel, keep it below an inch.
Did you know that wearing well-fitting, supportive shoes can help to prevent everything from Achilles tendonitis to serious ankle and foot injuries? Discuss in the comments how good — or bad — you are about your shoe choices.