It is estimated that our feet walk 115,000 miles in a lifetime and, considering that our shoe choice is central to our every day health, the potential risk to our feet and overall health is great.
Footwear should protect your feet, enable you to walk and provide enduring comfort. Unfortunately, in fashion-forward, modern society, health often takes a backseat in the consciousness.
Flip-flops—with their thin, single strap—require constant gripping to stop them from flinging off. This compromises the way that the foot pushes off from the ground, making it impossible for the arch of the foot to flex properly and forcing the knees and hips to absorb the impact. When the connective tissue along the bottom of the foot gets stretched out, it causes inflammation, pain, tired feet and heel spurs. Wearing flip-flops frequently can also shorten your stride and turn your ankles in, leading to lower-body fatigue and ankle problems.
The perfect pair of high heels can dress up any outfit, but regular wearing has been proven to increase the risk of osteoarthritis, alter posture, cause bunions, clawed toes, lower back pain and ankle injuries, and put pressure on the forefoot and the knees. Calve muscles may shorten, tendons can thicken, and the vertebrae of the spine can slip over each other (Spondylolithesis). The higher the heel, the more weight and pressure is placed on the foot. Sticking to the 80/20 rule and keeping high heels for limited activities, is recommended.
On the opposite end of the scale, wearing flat shoes with little integral support can lead to painful foot conditions. Unsurprisingly, consistent wearing of flat shoes can lead to ‘flat feet’—where the foot overstretches and the arch collapses. This increases the impact on the heel, causing stabbing pain in the area (plantar fasciitis).
According to studies, only about a quarter of people are wearing shoes of the right length and width. Ill-fitting shoes can cause damage to the foot almost immediately. Corns, nail problems, athlete’s foot, inflammation and soreness in the legs, hips and lower back are common.
Worn out shoes
If your shoes look physically worn out or warped, it’s a sign to get rid of them. Shoes can actually be worn down before any visible damage is clear and, depending on the footwear, it can take between a few months and a year of every day use for the shoes to need replacing. If the sole is breaking down, the angle at which the foot meets the ground alters, causing pain in the feet, knees, hips and back.
Tips for buying new shoes
Being mindful of the type of footwear that you buy can prevent such problems. Ensure there is enough room in the front of the shoes to wiggle your toes and pick models that are broad and have a slight heel (around 20-40mm). Cushioning inside a shoe will provide comfort and reduce impact, and shoes that are firm in the midsole but flexible around the upper part of the shoe will provide the most durability and comfort. Specialised shoes or trainers are also a good idea if you’re walking or partaking in an activity for a long period of time.
Wolkyshop is a leading Dutch shoe retailer, providing comfortable and quality boots, sandals, slippers, lace-up shoes, clogs and sneakers. With a huge range of sizes, removal, anatomically shaped soles and the best materials, Wolky shoes combine elegant styles with the pain-free feeling of walking on air!
The new Autumn/Winter range is on display at Wolkyshop Brighton (37 Bond Street).
To view the rest of the collection please visit www.wolkyshop.co.uk. (Free delivery and returns)