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The worst types of shoes for your feet

Our feet may not be our main medical concern, but they are something we should pay attention to. Even the slightest problem with one of our feet can leave us hobbling and take us out of action for weeks. This is why it is so important to choose the right shoe. Proper footwear can offer you both long and short term protection, preventing you from injuring yourself or developing any sort of slow-onset condition. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the worst shoes you can wear, and why this is the case.

Ballet Flats

Ballet flats, or pumps, may seem like a comfortable shoe, but the truth is they are one of the worst types you can wear, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the shoes offer little-to-no arch support, which can lead to fallen arches. Secondly, there is no shock absorption in these shoes, which can not only hurt your feet in the short-term, but also lead to issues such as stress fractures or a neuroma (thickening of the nerves).

Ballet flats are also very thin, which means they won’t keep your feet warm, or protect them from any bangs or stubbing. Finally, the top of the shoes tend to be very narrow, which can lead to problems with toe alignment and issues such as bunions.

High heels

Most people will know that high heels can put your feet in awkward positions and make it difficult to balance, but did you know that even just a two-inch heel is bad for you? The higher your heel is, the worse it is for you, for a number of reasons. The taller you make yourself, the more your body has to account for the change in your centre of gravity. This means pushing the bottom of your spine forward, and the top of it backwards. This exaggerates the S curve of the spine, and can lead to pain in the muscles and tendons.

High heels also tend to have poor shock absorption, and often bad arch support. With so much pressure being placed on the ball of your foot, this can cause severe pain. Heels over four inches are by far the worst, but for anything over two, you should try to limit yourself to wearing for 2-3 hours.

Flat shoes

There some brands of shoe out there that are extremely popular, but not good for our feet. Vans & Converse are two good examples. Both are commonly worn by young people in Ireland, but both are famous for having flat soles and offering no arch support (though Converse did introduce a new line with arch support in 2016), which can be quite harmful, particularly to young people who are still growing. Both shoes are also made of very thin material, and have trouble keeping feet warm & dry.

Similarly, Dubbary shoes (dubes/boat shoes) are worn by students both in and out of school. Though these are made of thicker material, they still offer no arch support, and are very loose fitting. This is not only a tripping hazard, it can also lead to the development of corns, blisters, and calluses.

If you wear any of these shoes a lot, or are just wondering what shoes you actually should be wearing, visit our blog on choosing the best type of shoes for your feet.