Did you know that not wearing the correct shoes can affect your entire body and overall health? Yep, that’s right….you read that correctly. It’s crazy to think that shoes can play such an important role in your health, wellness, and fitness.
Wearing the incorrect shoes, not having insoles for your arch support, and even wearing worn or older shoes can also contribute to the health problems of your legs, knees, hips, IT band, back, neck, and stability. Not to mention you are more likely to be prone to injuries if you wear improper shoes when staying active, walking, running or jogging, working out, or even standing on your feet a lot. (1)
Most people are unaware that they should replace their shoes every few months, depending on how active you are or when you have reached the following:
- The outer sole is worn or worn down
- You’ve reached 300 to 400 miles of running or walking in your current pair (even if your shoe looks good and are not worn, because most shoes lose their impact protection, support, and cushion after they have reached the 500 max miles )
It is essential when choosing a new pair of shoes, is to make sure that they are helping to keep your body aligned, are best for your arch type, type of gait (how you walk), have a good amount of cushion, fit correctly, and is not too tight.
Why are all those critical in buying a shoe v/s buying a shoe for the lowest price and style? When we choose fashion over a good supporting shoe for our body and foot type, we are choosing to inherit tons of ailments and become prone to injuries.
Finding the correct and perfect shoe just for you can help align your body, increase your stability, relieve pain, and improve your performance.
Make sure when looking for a shoe that you consider the following:
- Width-Always measure and make sure you get a shoe that fits the width of your foot, not too loose or too tight. Shoes too narrow or too wide can lead to painful blisters and calluses.
- A Toe Box is important to consider. You want to make sure to have plenty of space for the toes and be able to wiggle. Leaving a roomy space and not too tight helps prevent calluses, bunions, and hammertoes. (2)
- Heel-Choose a shoe with a heel collar that cushions the ankle and ensures a proper fit.
- Midsole-Make sure you choose a shoe with a good cushion at the midsole that will help cushion and reduce impact when your foot strikes the ground.
- Orthotic Insoles-Choosing an insole can help cushion and support your foot and arch. Orthotic insoles can be a game-changer as they are engineered with unique features that improve mobility, enhance comfort and help relieve foot pain. Removable insoles can be laundered or taken out to dry between walking sessions.
- Arches-Your arches are not all created equally. Everyone’s arches are not normal arch as many are born with structural issues, such as high arches and flat feet, which means they need added support. Not wearing supportive footwear when you have abnormal arches can cause a lot of symptoms to set in, such as pain in the feet and lower legs. This is where having the correct shoes come inhandy. *Unsure on which arch you have? Try the paper-water test. Take a piece of paper and put it on the floor. Then wet your feet and walk over the paper. Look at the shape of your foot. If you see the top and bottom of your foot and not much in the middle, you have high arches. If your whole foot shows no curve in the middle, you have flat feet. If you can see your entire foot and a slight curve in the middle, you have a normal arch.
- Foot Support-A good supporting shoe will provide your body with the support you need. Whenever you take a step forward, your ankles, knees, hips, and back rely on your feet for proper balance. If you wear improper and unsupportive shoes, it can negatively impact your joints and affect your body’s balance when you stand. So it is vital to make sure to have shoes that provide cushions and good support. Ankle support is also a must as it limits the side-to-side movement that knocks your ankle out of alignment.
- Your Gait Pattern (how you walk) is very important to know. It is good to know if you have neutral pronation (which is when your foot comes in complete contact with the ground, rolling inward about 15 percent to absorb shock). Or do you tend to underpronate (which is when the outer part of your heel hits the ground first, and your foot rolls inward just a little or do you tend to overpronate (which is when your foot rolls inward more than 15 percent.) Overpronation can cause stability issues with your foot and ankle, so it is important to know how to correct it with the correct shoes and insoles.
This is all great to know, but how can you figure out what kind of arches, gait, and support you need in a shoe if you are unsure what you are currently dealing with? The best way to find out all this and which shoe would be best for you is to go to a specialty store like Fleet Feet. Speciality stores shoes like Fleet Feet can do a 3D scan of your foot to find your arch and more details on your size, width, etc. They also have you walk to figure out your gait so they can recommend the correct shoes for you.
The bottom line, happy feet lead to a happy body and a happy life. They can also improve your performance in reaching your wellness and fitness goals. So, go show your feet some love and take care of your body.