While many types of women’s shoes are created solely with fashion in mind, podiatrists recommend choosing shoes that meet the criteria of footwear that supports the health and well-being of the foot. The four qualifications for a stable shoe include a removable insole, firm medial or inside midsole, firm heel counter and good torsional stability, where the front of your foot cannot twist easily on the rear of your foot.
Podiatrists and shoe companies are making strides against the common problems associated with high heels such as ball of the foot pain, bunion pain, heel pain and toe pain with the development of more foot-friendly high heels as well as custom orthotics for women’s heels. For example, a collaboration between Cole-Haan and Nike has produced a line of heeled shoes with Nike’s Air technology built into the ball of the foot of each shoe. The shoes in this line include the Air Sandal, the Air Boot and the Air Wedge.
Between warm weather and a good pedicure, most women can find a need for flip-flops. While this style of sandal is not generally recommended by podiatrists as healthy foot wear, there are certain types of flip-flops that promote foot health. Foot-healthy brands include the Orthaheel Wave flip-flop, the Kinetic flip-flop, the South Beach flip-flop and the Solona flip-flop. These flip-flops are distinguished by their built-in arch support systems that can help prevent and reduce the general foot pain that can be a characteristic of wearing flip-flops.
Rocker Bottom Shoes
Rocker bottom shoes can either be used for toning shoes, as they target multiple muscle groups, or to relieve specific foot conditions. This style of shoe is available with either a forefoot rocker sole or heel to toe rocker sole. Forefoot rocker shoes can treat hallus limitus, otherwise known as big toe arthritis, and ball of foot pain. Heel to toe rocker shoes can help people suffering from ankle or midfoot arthritis. Podiatrist-recommended rocker bottom shoe brands include Sketcher Shape-Ups, MBT and Dansko shoes.
For women suffering from a range of common foot problems including pain in the ball of the foot, the heel, the top of the foot or the joint of the big toe, wearing an orthotic pair of slippers can offer relief. The Orthoheel slipper meets the criteria of a podiatrist-recommended slipper as they have a gum rubber outer sole to increase traction, a removable insole and a biomechanical footbed that is designed to hold the foot in a more natural position for increased comfort.
References and ResourcesFoot & Ankle Center of Washington: Recommended Shoe List
Foot & Ankle Center of Washington: High Heel Comfort
Foot & Ankle Center of Washington: Healthy, Comfortable Flip-flops and Sandals
Foot & Ankle Center of Washington: Rocker Bottom Shoes
Foot & Ankle Center of Washington: Women's Cozy Orthotic Slippers with Built-in Orthotic