In the beginning, footwear provided protection and comfort. This podiatric paradise did not last. First we began to decorate our footwear, and after that we became “well-heeled.” Down, down the slippery slope we’ve slid ever since, to the point where fashion produces bunions and hammertoes, and where absence of pain equals frumpiness.
Is it really true that stylishness and comfort are mutually exclusive? If by “fashionable” we mean 5-inch stiletto heels and some of the super-pointy toe boxes we’ve spotted lately, this may appear to be the case. But if we just reject the more extreme styles, we can see it’s a false choice. We can successfully challenge the idea that you can’t have it all, and we will do it by returning to “anatomically correct” footwear.
Comfortable shoes have:
- A foot shape. These days it often seems footwear styles are designed more with corsetry and reshaping in mind than anything else, but the First Rule of Toe is that foot shape equals comfort. Look at the sole of the shoe you’re considering to see what it resembles. The widest part of the shoe should correspond to the widest part of the foot and so on. If the sole profile looks more like the topside view of a canoe and you buy it anyway, your foot is in for trouble with a capital T. We don’t believe it’s necessary to make canoe-imprisoned, sacrificial lambs of your piggies in order to look stylish. Insist on ample room through the toe box because comfort says there’s nothing wrong with a shoe that looks like it’s prepared to encase a human foot.
- The right size. As adults, we tend to get it into our heads that because we’re grown, our feet have reached a certain size for good. When footwear suddenly doesn’t fit quite right, we have to change size. We have to keep in mind that weight loss or gain, lower body injury, and changes in exercise patterns are just a few of the developments that may impact shoe size at any age. This means taking measurements each time you shop for shoes is a good habit to have if foot comfort is the goal.
- Support for “high” fashion. While they’ll never hold you like your favorite sneakers do, your high heels don’t have to kill you. The key is to find shoes that are constructed right, with strategic supports built into the front platform, midfoot and heel. Check out how stylish support can be in women’s dress shoes. Before you know it, you’ll be on the road to finding your own personal intersection of comfort and style.
The bottom line is whether you wear your shoes or the other way around. Liberate yourself from foot pain with a better shoe today.
FootSmart® Blog: The effects of high heels on your feet includes photos that demonstrate the features of more comfortable high heels.