The impact of poor footwear

Pretty much everyone will admit to choosing style over substance when it comes to buying a new pair of shoes at least once. Whether it’s a pair of killer heels or a smart men’s dress shoe, the right footwear can really elevate an outfit and boost self-confidence. Choosing poor footwear can have health implications however and is a leading cause of several common foot ailments.

How does poor shoe selection affect the foot’s wellbeing?

Feet bear the whole of our bodyweight, which means they support our entire being. They hold us up upright and get us from A to B so regularly wearing ill fitting or non-supportive shoes can have fairly major consequences.

A poor shoe, such as a thin standard flip flop, fails to support the foot in key places like the arch. The plantar fascia is a piece of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes and supports the arch of the foot. If your choice of footwear doesn’t provide an appropriate level of support, the ligament is placed under intense strain. It can become weak, swollen or irritated and tiny tears can appear, leading to pain and swelling.

If your shoes don’t appropriately support your feet, your entire posture and balance can be thrown off kilter. This can lead to back pain and joint pain and place undue stress on the knees and spine.

Poorly fitting footwear can also place pressure on the bones within the foot, leading to the appearance of bunions and blisters.

Those with pre-existing conditions such as sciatica or diabetes will also find that poor footwear can make other symptoms worse. On the flip side, choosing a more supportive, healthier shoe can help to increase feelings of wellbeing with improved posture, balance and circulation.

So what should you look for when searching for ‘good’ footwear?

Knowing what differentiates good footwear from poor is an easy way to treat your feet to increased health and comfort.

Cushioning – look for designs that offer plenty of cushioning. This means that the shoe will absorb bumps and jolts rather than the foot and joints. Ample cushioning will also make the shoe more comfortable to wear over extended periods.

Orthotic arch support – supporting the arch of the foot is central to ending the day with happy feet rather than painful, aching ones. Look for designs that feature orthotic arch support to avoid stressing the plantar fascia and to ensure your body is well balanced and not putting undue pressure on ligaments and joints.