When it comes to shopping for shoes, it is always better to choose substance over style, according to Gerard Benjamin Evans, senior podiatrist at SKH.
A good shoe has various features and characteristics to help our feet function optimally. The price or brand should not be deciding factors when looking for a good pair.
“Famous brands or price do not always guarantee the quality of the shoe and the support it should provide,” says Mr Evans. “Aside from foot discomfort, wearing improper footwear such as those incorrectly fitted or without enough support may eventually lead to problems in the lower legs, knees, hips, and lower back,” he adds.
That is why having the right footwear is crucial, as it can help the body correctly perform critical mechanical functions such as the efficient transfer of body weight through our feet to the ground.
“Falls, which can have dire consequences especially in the elderly, are most frequently caused by ill-fitted footwear.”
1. Don’t run in worn-out running shoes.
When running shoes wear out, their support and basic functions are compromised which can increase the stress and impact on your legs and joints, leading to overuse injuries. Ideally, running shoes should be replaced every 500 to 600 kilometres. You can use applications to track your footwear mileage or look out for these signs that indicate you need a new pair: your ankles and knees ache more after a run, your feet get extra sore, you get blisters, or your shoe treads are worn out.
2. Avoid flip-flops or sandals for prolonged walking.
Singaporeans love their flip-flops but footwear that is too flat and thin can lead to discomfort and foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis which causes heel pain. Flip-flops, sandals and ballet flats have very little arch support, heel cushioning and shock absorption.
The flip-flop’s thong in between your toes also forces your toe muscles to over-grip, leading to bunions and claw toes.
3. Keep high heels to a minimum.
Wearing high heels shifts the weight to your forefoot, increasing the pressure on the area which usually leads to forefoot pain. High heels also push your lower back forward, causing your hips and spine to be out of alignment, and the excess pressure on the knees can lead to pain in your back and legs. Prolonged use of high heels increases the risk of developing nerve impingements, bunions and hammer toes which are often permanent and may require surgical correction.
Find your sole mate with these tips!
LOOK FOR SHOES WITH LACES OR STRAPS
Opt for footwear with adjustable straps or laces to prevent your foot from slipping out and sliding within the shoe.
CHOOSE SHOES WITH STABLE HEELS AND MIDSOLE SUPPORT
The heel cup should be firm and thick to provide rear-foot stability. The midsoles should also be sturdy – look for those that do not twist in the middle. Avoid shoes that lack any fastening heel counters or straps.
GIVE YOUR FEET ENOUGH ROOM
When we stand or walk, our feet tend to spread out. So, a good fitting shoe is one that gives your feet enough width at the widest part of your foot, and approximately half an inch (one-thumb width) between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
BUT NOT TOO MUCH ROOM
On the other hand, avoid footwear with too much room at the toes as the extra room will encourage your feet to move around a lot, causing instability which may lead to foot and lower limb pain.
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