QT: How Does Your Choice of Shoes Impact Your Foot Health


Last week, I talked about some simple ways that we can proactively address our foot health.

Making sure your feet are happy goes a long way toward avoiding a whole host of running injuries.

That's True

A big factor in making sure your feet are happy is your choice of footwear–both running and non-running.

The Role of Shoes

What role do shoes really serve in the 21st century?

Near as I can tell, the primary reason we wear shoes is to provide protection for our feet.

I certainly don’t have an issue with the protective quality of shoes.

My sensitive/tender feet certainly appreciate having a buffer between them and the ground when I’m out for my runs or even just taking the dog for a walk.

That said, this is one of those cases where too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily a good thing.

We Want Shoes, Not Splints

Shoes with too much protection, either in the form of massive cushioning or reinforced uppers, don’t allow the muscles in our feet to work.

And muscles that don’t work get weak.

And weak muscles?

The key, then, is to find the “happy medium” when it comes to your shoes: those that provide the right amount of protection while still allowing (forcing?) the muscles in the feet to do their job.

Things to Consider

Finding the right shoe can be a little tricky, especially when we look beyond just our needs in running shoes.

The next time you’re shoe shopping, here are three things to keep in mind in the pursuit of the right shoe for you.

  • Toe Box

A lot of shoes, running and otherwise, are tapered/rounded near the toes.

This can be a problem because it limits our toes’ ability to spread out, or splay, while we are walking/running.

This helps with shock absorption. Stability/balance. And it also forces the intrinsic muscles of our feet to work.

  • Heel Drop

If I was going to pick a villain related to footwear, I think I’d have to pick the heel.

High Heels are the Devil

Over time, wearing shoes with some sort of a heel can lead to shortened Achilles tendons/tight calves.

This can definitely be a contributing factor to plantar fascia tightness/pain, due to a constant state of slight tension at the insertion point of the tendon.

  • Support

I used to think that a good shoe provided ample arch support, now I basically think the opposite.

To be clear, there are folks that would benefit from wearing some sort of supportive shoe.

But more often than not, our bodies will work just fine with a shoe that provides no additional structural support.

Choices Have Consequences

To be clear, I’m not going to tell you what kind of shoes you should/shouldn’t wear.

You’re an adult. You’re capable of making your own decisions regarding your footwear.

What I am going to tell you is that your choices have consequences

The shoes you wear on a daily basis are going to impact the health of your feet.

Whether that’s a positive impact or a negative one, is pretty much up to you.

And remember, if you choose to wear some shoes that may be more likely to have a negative impact, all is not lost.

Provided, of course, that you be a bit more proactive in undoing the potential negative impacts of said shoes.

How?

Stretch. Massage. Strengthen.

You know, pretty much all the things I talked about last week.


Does your choice of shoes impact your foot health? Absolutely. #runchat #running Click To Tweet


When You’re Choosing Your Shoes, How Much Do You Consider the Impacts on Your Foot Health?

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