All too often the topic of footwear comes up in our clinic, even if the person isn’t there for a foot problem. The shoes you choose to spend your day in will greatly impact all areas of your body including your knees, hips and spine. Your foot is the first part of your body to absorb the impact of the ground. That being said, it’s best to arm it with the right surface to stabilize against the force of the ground reaction.
First and foremost be sure to fit your shoe properly. Amazingly, many people have not recently measured their foot and commonly wear a shoe that is too small. Another frequent misconception is that if looks good on the outside, it’s good on the inside. Even if your shoes look clean, intact and gently used the guts of the shoe may still be worn and inadequate. This is where you want to consider the age of the shoe and how many miles or steps you’ve put on them. If you spend thirty minutes a day or 3-4 hours a week walking in a pair of shoes its a good idea to replace them in six months. Another tell tale sign is if the tread has worn. The cushion and shock absorbancy of the shoe tends to wear faster than the tread so at this point you are overdue.
When looking for a good shoe choose something that is comfortable for your whole body. Avoid the temptation of picking a pair of shoes simply based on looks. Depending on your activity level and how much you are on your feet be sure to consider the amount of cushion and stability the shoe offers. The type of shoe is extremely relevant when you consider your daily foot needs. If you spend a great deal of time on your feet throughout the day, explore a sturdier shoe with support and firmer cushion versus a sneaker. With this in mind, flats and backless shoes do not offer the shock absorption and motion control most of us seek, especially when we are on our feet for a good portion of the day. When in doubt on your footwear needs its a great idea to visit your local shoe store with experienced staff or contact your physical therapist for guidance.