Protect Your Feet in Style This Summer
What makes you think of summer? Warm weather, beaches, vacations and a lightweight wardrobe all give off summer vibes. We pack away our coats, trade heavy pants for shorts, and let our feet be free in sandals or flip flops.
While flip flops seem like the quintessential summer shoe, that doesn’t mean they are the best choice for our feet! Walking in flimsy, flat shoes like flip flops or ballet flats can contribute to plantar fasciitis, the most common form of foot pain. And over time, wearing unsupportive footwear can lead to problems in the knees, hips, and back.
Conversely, there are many benefits to wearing properly supportive footwear. Studies show that well-fitting and supportive footwear can help prevent falls in older adults. Foot morphology changes as we age, and shoes originally purchased a decade ago may no longer be appropriate for the changing needs of our aging feet or may be too worn out to provide enough support. Wearing unsuitable shoes affects balance and gait, which in turn may increase the risk of falls.
“What we choose to wear on our feet plays a big role in the injuries and trauma our feet can sustain,” said researcher Andrea Waters-Rist, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Western Ontario. Rist and her colleagues studied the 200-year-old skeletons found in the excavation of a church near Amsterdam. They found a higher-than-average incidence of bone damage in the feet. They concluded that the traditional wooden clogs worn at the time provided poor shock absorption for the farmer-laborers in that area.
The study offers lessons on how footwear can damage our bones. “Look at what high heels do: the constriction of our toes, the strain it places on our joints” said Waters-Rist. “If bio-archeologists were to come along in 100 or 500 years and look at the bones of our feet — would they ask, what on Earth were these people wearing?”
The good news is that we don’t have to trade fashion for foot health. There are plenty of stylish, affordable options for summer footwear that support the bones and muscles in our feet.
Here are some tips on supportive sandals for all your summertime adventures:
- Comfort: Comfort should be a top priority when choosing sandals. Look for designs that provide adequate arch support, cushioning, and a snug fit. Consider sandals with adjustable straps to ensure a customized and secure fit.
- Support: Look for sandals with sturdy soles and adequate support features like contoured footbeds or orthotic inserts.
- Stability: Opt for sandals with good traction to minimize the risk of slipping or falling, especially if you plan to wear them on various surfaces.
- Breathability: Summer sandals should allow your feet to breathe and prevent excessive sweating. Choose sandals made of breathable materials such as leather, mesh, or natural fibers, which promote air circulation and reduce the likelihood of foot odor or discomfort.
- Toe protection: Sandals with enclosed or partially enclosed toes offer added protection from accidental bumps or stubs. Consider designs with closed toes or reinforced toe caps if you’re concerned about toe safety.
- Sizing: Select the correct size for your feet. Try them on and walk around to ensure a proper fit.
- Durability: Invest in sandals made from quality materials that are built to last. Check the construction, stitching, and overall quality of the sandals to ensure they can withstand regular use throughout the summer season.
Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a podiatrist or foot specialist if you have specific foot conditions or concerns. They can provide personalized advice to ensure you choose the right sandals for your needs.