Throughout the summer people wear a wide variety of footwear, ranging from super-casual flip-flops to strappy heels. But although these shoes may be stylish and more comfortable in the hot sun, many summery shoes pose risks to the health of your feet. The longer you stick to “bad shoes,” the greater your chances are of injury. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your feet healthy–and to look good while doing it!
What makes “bad shoes” bad?
“Bad shoes” go the extreme in putting form before function. In other words, shoes that do more harm than good fall under the category of “bad shoes.”
Some of the most common things to look for in “bad shoes” include:
- Shoes that are too thin (such as flip-flops)
- Shoes that are too flat (such as many ballet flats)
- Shoes that are too open (such as strappy heels)
Risk factors of wearing bad shoes
The potential consequences of wearing bad shoes too often over an extended period of time is more substantial than many people may think.
Over time, wearing bad shoes too often can lead to:
- Cuts and bruises (as a result of open shoes that leave your feet vulnerable)
- Stress fractures
- Chronic foot pain (which can ultimately cause arthritis and even foot deformity)
- Plantar fasciitis (especially for flip-flop wearers)
- Additionally, foot pain problems caused by bad shoes can spread to the ankles, knees, hips, and back.
Despite the risks that accompany wearing bad shoes, they can still be worn without causing any damage if the following precautions are taken:
- Limit the amount of time you wear un-supportive shoes (for example, by wearing flip-flops for a few hours at the beach or the pool). Bad shoes typically don’t begin to hurt your feet unless they’ve been worn for extensive periods of time..
- Buy shoes that fit your longest toe.
- Look for shoes that offer good arch support and cushioning.
While it may seem like just about every pair of summer shoe is bad for your feet and should be avoided, there are a good deal of alternatives that don’t sacrifice comfort or style.
- Leather flip flops are more durable then their plastic and rubber counterparts and tend not to cause as much irritation (i.e. blisters).
- Sandals that have some form of backing (such as a strap that encloses your heel or ankle)
- Flats that have sturdy soles and provide more in the way of arch support. (We listed a few good brands on a previous post.)
- Flats with thicker “uppers” (the main body of the shoe)
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- Wedges tend to offer more support for your feet because they distribute the weight of your body more evenly (wedges with cork or rubber bases are ideal because those materials provide some shock absorption)
- Shoes that have heels under 3 inches