Shoes and feet go together like a horse and carriage, right? We’ve been encouraged to spend lots and lots of money on shoes – either because they look good, feel good or impress your friends. But have you even stopped to ask your feet what they want to wear? Sure, you’re going to look odd talking to your feet, but, on the other hand, your feet are constantly giving you their opinion on the matter. If a pair of shoes leaves your toes sore and aching, then it’s a pretty good bet your feet don’t like the purchase – regardless of how much money you spent. Want a fashion critic? You’ve got two.
Want to know what sort of shoe is bad for you? Let your feet answer that. Even expensive shoes marketed for ‘comfort’ might be disagreeable. A study by the Duke University found that casual comfort shoes like clogs are actually harder on the knees and feet than thongs or going barefoot. Ultimately, the more complex, or less foot-like your shoe is, chances are it will cause you trouble.
Finding the right shoe for you can be judged by the wear patterns on your regular shoes. Wear on the inner sole can indicate flat feet, wear on the outer sole can be high arches – and high arches makes you more likely to role your ankle when wearing thick-soled, elevated shoes and clogs.
Not surprisingly, the minimalist shoe has become increasingly popular in recent times as sore feet rail against heels and cushioned shoes. The minimalist shoe appears and acts more like the foot, with minimal sole or cushioning. Some studies have found cushioned shoes encourage runners to land on their heels instead of their toes – causing knee and ankle strains or injuries. But using minimalist shoes has been shown to cause injuries to the achilles tendon and stress fractures – these may be related to the weight of the person, so if you’re exercising with a few extra kilos than you should, the cushioned runner might be better for you. Still, remember to ask your feet – if a type of shoe is constantly causing foot pain, you shouldn’t keep buying that type of shoe, and if another type of shoe gives you relief or pain free movement then they probably should stay on your shopping list.
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