What you wear on your feet has a direct impact on the health of your body, a fact that we gals like to conveniently ignore in our pursuit for the cute and the fashionable. The older we get, the less we can afford to mess this one up! There is a saying, “As go the feet go the ankles, knees, hips and backs.” Therefore, we have to examine WHAT is on the feet!
You may already know the highly negative effects of high heels- they alter how you walk, placing excess force on the inner knee, because your knees will bend a little to adjust to the height. Your posture is pushed forward, out of alignment. Your back will tend to arch, leading to what may become a chronic back ache. You put too much pressure on the front of the foot which can lead to neuropathy. If they’re too tight, your toes get scrunched and deformed, and bunions are a high risk. Your Achilles tendon shortens, your calves tighten. You get the not so pretty picture! In a man’s world, dress shoes and cowboy boots are just as dangerous to the feet, alignment, and posture as stiletto heels!
But high heels are not the only foot offenders! Women on average take 5,000 steps each day, and men around 7,000. Those steps create a lot of opportunity to do what is right or wrong for your body in the long run!
Flat flats are not the answer! Unsupported super flats in ballet and slide style are unfortunately just as bad. According to lab tests, flats cause 25% more impact pressure on your foot with every step than high heels do! That high impact creates pressure that drives up your legs and can lead to fallen arches, plantar fasciitis, sciatica and other forms of back pain. So if you choose flats, choose good arch and sole supports or add them!
Toning Shoes have become popular as a way to shape without exercising. It’s a bad idea! The curvy soles actually cause an unstable walking gait making you less steady on your feet, more likely to fall. The thick soles prevent a natural flexion in the foot causing the arch to soften- not what healthy feet want or need. They also use the muscles and tendons in an unnatural way, so many find themselves sore after wearing these expensive and not so great shoes!
Now that we’re at the tail end of summer it’s a great time to ditch your cheap flip flops! Sorry! Your poor toes grip and bunch up with every step as they attempt to keep your flip flops on your feet! This throws off every step you take not only in the foot but also in the hips, legs, and lower back. The worst are the thinner and cheaper ones. More expensive thicker soled and arch supported ones that stay on your feet are fine! Pay up and save yourself!
There is a bare foot movement that includes toe shoes- you’ll either love them or hate them but they’re worth a try! When you can, get all shoes off and walk in your bare feet consciously! There’s no shoe that can replace your feet!
In general, be willing to invest in supportive, flexible shoes for workouts, work, and dress up that cushion your feet as you walk are what we want. There are so many cute choices these days that your fashion statement won’t suffer and neither will your body any longer! Look for lower heels, around an inch. Insist on contoured insoles to support your arch. Make sure that your feet flex as you walk. Leave a ½ inch of toe room WHEN you buy shoes (don’t wait for them to break in- be sure you can wriggle your toes inside new shoes!)
If your feet are already in trouble, see your Podiatrist! A good set of insoles can make all the difference in the world. At the very least, get some over the counter insoles for arch, heel, or whole foot support- they can really make a huge and positive difference!
Let’s be Sole Sisters and wear SMART SHOES!
Special credit to Dennis Passetto My Sciatica Exercises
for his great article which inspired mine!
Questions? Send me a note! Nancy@oaksspa.com