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The Importance of Good Footwear and Your Health


When you go to put on your choice of footwear each morning or browse through the sandal aisle to find what you’ll like best this summer, you’re most likely not thinking about your health. As Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported, poor footwear decisions can lead to life-long damage on the feet. Not only is this uncomfortable or even painful, but can make it less likely that you’ll stay active and engaged in physical activity, which is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

To get back on the right path with footwear, consider these tips for improving the health of your feet, ankles and everything else:

Choose Support Over Fashion
Though everyone loves a good pair of shoes that show off their style, when it comes to footwear and your health, opt for function over fashion. The two things you should look for prior to making any footwear purchase are shock absorption and built-in arches, according to Natural Remedies and Treatments. Long-time use of shoes that don’t offer these features can lead to pain in the heel and balls of your feet. Many people may even begin to experience planter fasciitis, when tissue in the heel becomes irritated and inflamed. Shock absorption and built-in arches are important for everything from a pair of flip flops you only wear out in the garden to loafers worn to work each day. Even though you may not think having good support in your summer sandals is important, each hour and day on your feet adds up.

“Shoes without shock absorption or arches can lead to planter fasciitis.”

Ankle support should be another concern when making a shoe purchase. Most ballet flats, loafers and sandals lack any sort of sturdy support, which can be a risk factor for trips and falls. If you’re not careful, you could easily end up with a twisted ankle or worse, based solely on your choice of footwear. At the end of the day, it’s best to choose support over fashion.

Invest in Good Sneakers
Any athlete or runner knows the necessity of picking sneakers based on fit, comfort and performance. However, these factors are important for anyone – from beginner to competitive athlete – interested in purchasing a new pair of shoes.

To get the best idea of how supportive a sneaker will be, be sure to look at the midsole as this is where the majority of the support and cushioning will be, explained the Huffington Post. Ensure that this part of the shoe is thick, strong and supportive. You also want to be sure your toes have enough room in the sneaker. Most runners will advise having a thumb’s worth of space between your big toe and front of the shoe. This is because feet tend to swell and get bigger throughout the day, especially if exercise is involved.

It's important to choose athletic sneakers wisely and opt for support and comfort over looks.It’s important to choose athletic sneakers wisely and opt for support and comfort over looks.

According to the news source, gait is another factor to be considered when buying sneakers for exercising. As David McQuade of City Sports told the Huffington Post, an analysis of your running form and gait can help make an informed decision on a shoe. You may have a neutral, overpronated or underpronated gait, each of which would require a slightly different fit.

“Running starts with your feet, so if you’re already off alignment in your lower body, each step is another opportunity for you to get injured,” said McQuade of City Sports. “Having the right kind of shoe that’s properly aligning your foot really sets you off in the right direction for healthy training.”

Avoid Wearing High Heels
High heels and comfort have been a topic of conversation for decades. Interestingly, the percent of women who report wearing high heels on a daily basis has declined over the past few decades. According to the Spine Health Institute, in 1986, 60 percent of women were wearing them each day. Ten years later that figure dropped to 50 percent and most recently, in 2003, just 39 percent of women reported putting on high heels each morning.

While you may see them as the perfect shoe to match your outfit, whether for a day at the office or a gathering with friends, high heels can have a negative impact on all parts of your body. One of the biggest problems women who wear heels regularly encounter is spine misalignment. As the Spine Health Institute reported, wearing pumps causes the chest to be pushed forward, which in turn, does the same to the lower back. This can cause both the hips and the spine to move out of place. In some cases, a condition called foraminal stenosis can occur.

Consider giving your feet a break from high heels.

Essentially, adding a few inches of footwear causes the body to move off balance. As it works to offset that imbalance, muscles in the calves, hips and back must work harder, which can lead to discomfort in those areas. The Spine Health Institute explained that stretching calf muscles before and after wearing high heels can help remedy the situation.

Consider Orthotic Insoles
Many specialists will recommend custom shoe inserts for those who experience pain or discomfort in their feet or even for those looking to take preventative measures against conditions such as knee pain, neuromas, plantar fasciitis or back pain that results from the feet. In addition to comfort and ideal, personalized foot support, these are a number of benefits that orthotic insoles can deliver, as the Spine Correction Center of the Rockies explained.

Two common problems related to arches are pronation and supination. The first, caused by collapsed arches, results in more stress on hips, knees and the back. The latter is when ankles lean to the outward, also causing stress on the hips, knees and back. Supination can be even more problematic when the arches in the feet are two different heights. Using custom orthotic insoles can help to correct both of these conditions, and, reduce the effects that they cause, noted the Spine Correction Center of the Rockies. As a bonus, these inserts can also help to improve athletic performance.

This year, make it a goal to enhance your foot health so that you feel great overall.


  1. MRS B SMITH February 26, 2018


    • Melody Hord February 26, 2018

      For me, comfort rules! I LOVE Brooks running shoes. Can not beat their Glycerin 15! My husband will not let me wear them to church. Another really comfortable shoe is the Merrell Breeze. I am currently in the process of finding dress shoes. I will report back if I find something attractive and comfortable.

    • So true. Nearly everything comes from Asia these days. Cheap and nasty, last 1 season and it needs to be replaced. 90% of shoes here in New Zealand come from: Vietnam, China and Thailand. Not one that I have looked at in the last 3 years from these countries have I bought due to quality issues. Have bought Hush Puppies, but even those are nowhere near the quality of the shoes I bought in 2004, those lasted 8 years of darned near everyday use. They did of course fall apart but hey, I’ve never had any shoes last that long before. Bought another pair which didn’t feel as comfortable as the originals and they are falling apart after 4 years. Same brand, different model, go figure.


      I wear a wide width so comfortable shoes with support are.hard to find.

  2. I work part time at SAS (San Antonio Shoemakers). Except for a few dress styles made in Italy, all the other shoes are handcrafted in San Antonio, Texas. Most have great arch, made of first quality leather, and very comfortable.

    Some other comfort brands are Born, Clarks, Alegria, Ecco, Easy Spirit, Merrell, and many more. I have a very comfortable pair of dress shoes from Trotters.

  3. Therafit Shoes

  4. I like how you say that the midsole is where most of the cushioning and support will be. My feet are rather flat, so it can be hard for me to find a good shoe to wear that gives me enough support. I’ll have to start looking at the midsole as I look for a new pair of athletic shoes to get.

  5. Thanks for explaining that orthotics help align the foot in a manner that decreases stress on it. I’v e been having some problems with my right foot, so I think I may need orthotics. Do you have any tips for choosing a podiatrist to help me?

  6. I agree that good footwear is very important to good health. Avoiding high heels is a good idea. High heels can cause misalignment of the spine.

  7. Jayme C. April 25, 2020

    This article is spot on! It is so worth it to invest in a good supportive pair of shoes. I found that what I thought was back pain, from working long hours on my feet… was actual spine pain from being on my poorly made shoes support. Then I found out I’m able to order custom supports from my chiropractor.

  8. I have found over the years that shoes from Keen Targhee II or III are the best for me. I have a wider foot and need
    good support because I use to be a housekeeper in NH. These shoes last a long time for me.

  9. Angela May 27, 2020

    The older I get the more I find myself going for comfort over fashion. This is a great artcle of how important it is to take care of your feet and go for comfort.

  10. Joan Wyatt June 7, 2020

    Highly recommend

  11. Melody Hord June 8, 2020

    I still think Brooks running shoes are the most comfortable shoes on earth. They are pricey, but worth it!

  12. Thank you for the info. Honestly that is something I’ve never really thought about. It’s time to invest in good shoes.

  13. I definitely agree that function over fashion is way more important as I get older. Haven’t worn a pair of heels in a LONG time. Maybe a small wedge occasionally. Thanks to the ladies that shared brands that they have had success with in finding comfortable, supportive shoes.

  14. Thanks a lot for this big article.

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