One of the many things I love about spring is ditching the socks and boots and breaking out the summer sandals. Unfortunately, many of the most popular shoes for spring and summer are neither comfortable nor good for our feet.
Flimsy rubber Flip-flops offer no support, no protection and because your toes have to grip them to walk, they tend to alter your natural gait. It’s no secret that high heels are bad for women’s feet for several reasons, primarily because high heels force the foot out of its natural position and pitch the width of the body forward which in turn upsets the stabilizing mechanics of the foot. Foot problems develop over time, so foot pain that you might have now is likely the result of poor shoe choices you’ve been wearing for many years.
So what’s a woman to do? Sacrifice comfort for fashion? Hardly! Thankfully, many companies are now designing sandals and shoes that are both comfortable and stylish - even for women who have foot problems. It’s now possible to sport strappy sandals that look so good with business attire and dresses that you would never guess they are actually good for your feet! And “flip flops” have gotten a major overhaul in the last couple years. There are now many brands that are podiatrist approved – providing fantastic support, well designed straps and plenty of style including animal prints, metallics and stone accents.
One of my favorite brands is Vionic sandals. They all come complete with Orthaheel Technology, which provides a deep heel cup in every shoe for additional stability and support, a supportive arch to accommodate biomechanical deficits in a variety of patients, and a flexible foot bed to provide cushion to the toes and balls of the feet.
Here are some other things to look for when shopping for sandals:
- For BUNIONS or HAMMERTOES, choose a sandal with a wide strap across the top of the foot behind the big toe joint to alleviate pressures caused by traditional tight shoes.
- For HEEL PAIN, choose a sandal that provides a deep heel cup along with a low, wide heel base. Wedges are fine as long as you are doing your stretches to loosen up your Achilles tendon after use!
- For NEUROMAS , choose a sandal that is a bit wider in the toe box than you are normally used to. It will keep those toes from ‘scrunching’ together and causing nerve pain. You can go with a thong type sandal in this case as it keeps those other toes away from each other. And don’t forget your ball of foot cushion to alleviate pain as well! It can be used with sandals, shoes, or even barefoot!
My favorite sandal for 2016 is this backstrap slide. It has it all - the arch support, the back strap for stability, and the front strap that won’t interfere with bunions or hammertoes. Gone are the days when “old lady orthopedic” shoes were your only option!
Dr. Lockwood is the owner and founder of Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates. You may contact Dr. Lockwood or her team regarding your shoe and sandal needs. They all have “a healthy obsession with feet!”. For more information, please visit their website at www.HeartlandFootAndAnkle.comor call 309-661-9975. They offer several different shoe and sandal options in their office that include free shipping AND free returns.