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Foot Products BUSTED - Part II

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Last month we began our busting brigade by examining the claims of bunion and hammertoe products.  We discovered that many of the so-called foot care products featured on TV, in stores, and in catalogs may not live up to their claims.  This month we will continue breaking this bust down by investigating shoes and inserts.

Custom Fit Orthotics- Over the counter inserts for your shoes   


Claim: Custom comfort that will last all day

Verdict: BUSTED
Facts: A custom orthotic is just that- CUSTOM! It is not mass produced in a warehouse somewhere; it is made specifically for your individual foot and arch prescription.  An over the counter insert, such as that advertised, will provide cushion but cannot adjust the way you walk as a custom orthotic can.  If cushion isn’t enough, visit a podiatrist to be casted for a custom made orthotic to change your gait.     





Foldable Flats- Ballet flats that fold in half to fit in your purse 

Claim: Stylish and practical solution for all day every day use

Facts: Ballet flats generally lack support and cushioning, allowing your arch to fall causing a strained painful feeling.  Without proper support, there is a risk of tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.  Usually if any shoe can be folded it doesn’t pass the twist test- hold the heel and the toe of the shoe and try to twist the shoe.  The middle (arch area) should remain firm and not twist. If your shoe contours and twists, it allows your foot to do the same thing and is not providing the necessary support.  Also make sure there is a real rubber sole to protect your feet!




Minimalist Running Shoes- Shoes with less than normal padding/support  

Claim: Naturally make your feet stronger and healthier

Facts: Some argue that minimalist running does not provide enough support or cushion for foot strike during running and therefore increases the risk of developing conditions such as fallen arches or plantar fasciitis as well as increased risk of injury due to puncture wounds, stepping on sharp objects, and inadequate foot support. Traditional running shoes position the foot so that the toes are lower than the heel.  This is because most people run with their heel hitting the ground first.  The minimalist shoes are designed to position your foot in a more natural position with it being more level to the ground.  With minimalist running the runner should strike the ground with the midfoot or the ball of the foot first rather than the heel.  Minimalist shoes and barefoot running do not have adequate padding for a heel-strike type gait.  If you want to try out this running style, make sure you SLOWLY transition and start on SOFT surfaces such as grass or dirt.




Rocker Bottom Shoes- Shoes with a thick, rounded sole

Claim: Make your body do more work while walking to tone and shape your behind

Verdict: BUSTED
Facts: A very popular shoe company encountered a $40 million class-action lawsuit involving more than 500,000 customers for false advertising.  While this type of shoe was not proven to help tone and shape your body, it does tighten the Achilles tendon with the rounded thick insole.  Once the shoe is removed and a person walks normally with the tightened tendon, it can cause tearing or ripping of the tendon.  For that reason, these shoes are highly not recommended for patients suffering from common foot problems such as Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis (heel pain). Instead, hit the gym to get your gluts in shape for summer!     

If you have questions about what shoes or socks are best, visit your podiatrist who can properly evaluate your condition, provide expert advice, and recommend treatment that works!

Next month we will bust the claims on nail products!

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