We never think about shoes as integral to our long-term health, yet a pair of good shoes can go a long way towards keeping us healthy. Many physical problems can be traced back to the feet. Due to this, a wide range of issues can be partially treated with proper footwear, especially any concerns related to the spine.
At Dr. Lee’s Health & Wellness Centre in Waterloo, we always recommend clients supplement our treatment with other impactful lifestyle changes. Buying a pair of good shoes is one of our favourite recommendations! In this blog, we’ll dig into how to pick a pair of good shoes.
What Good Shoes Should Have
At the end of the day, your choice of shoes should depend on your own personal preference. You want to do what feels right for your body.
That being said, if you know you have a certain condition, then we recommend keeping an eye open for certain features. Overpronation is the most common condition that our team encounters on a daily basis, so we’ll focus on that as an example.
Over-pronation is what people commonly refer to as ‘flat feet’. A healthy foot will distribute most of the body’s weight into the heel and ball. An overpronator will roll their feet inwards and place more weight on the sensitive arch of the foot. That’s why they call it ‘flat feet’.
Someone with flat feet (overpronators) should look for a pair of shoes with the following features:
- A good, deep heel cup — to keep the ankle from rolling. A heel cup with more depth will provide the stability needed by over-pronators. Think of the high ankle in a basketball shoe and picture the same thing for your heel.
- A lateral stabilizing bar or torsion bar. Look for extra material on the inside of the shoe, between the heel and toe. This is a lateral stabilizing bar. As the name suggests, it will provide additional stability for over-pronators, stopping their ankles from rolling inwards.
- A thick sole for impact cushioning. Press the bottom of the shoe’s interior with your fingers. Look for shoes with just the right amount of give — not rock solid, but not too soft either. Thickness is the key.
- A breathable fabric. This feature is mainly for comfort, but it’s never recommended for your feet to be sitting in their own sweat all day.
Here’s a great trick for finding a shoe with good stability: grab the shoes, with the toe in one hand and the heel in the other. Twist it in opposite directions, like you are wringing out a towel or a dishrag. If the shoe bends easily, it has poor stability. Look for another option. There should be some give, but the shoe must not be too flimsy or flip flop from side to side.
These tips won’t apply to everyone! If you have supinating feet (high arches), you will need to look for other features. We will be able to provide you with advice on finding a pair of good shoes!