Check out the types of shoes available and the health hazards of each type:
Pencil Thins: You may adore those ‘killers’. They’re lethal and strangely sadomasochistic. Men love them. They’re wonderful to flaunt and visually elongate your legs. But they can also lead you to a doc! Remember, a few styles compress the toes together, or apply more pressure (in a few areas) than needed, causing blisters, corns, hammertoes, bunions, and other medical conditions. But if you just can’t live without your heels, make sure you’re wearing them only for short durations. Spend the rest of the time either barefoot, in flats, or in good sports shoes. The shape of the heel should fit the arch of your foot. Extremely high heels cause knee and hip ligament damage. Medically, the maximum recommended heel height is approximately between 1.5 cm and 2.5 cm. Try looking for a stiletto that fits your sole width, a heel that lies closer to the front and falls under your ankle, with good cushioning and room for toe movement. If you love dangerously high stilettos, make sure you’re high-arched.
Platforms: They’re shoes with broad, flat and thick soles, which became popular sometime in the ’30s and are hot this season. Wedge, espridilles, clogs and super-platforms (even 7 inch high!) fall in this category. Recollect the massively layered suede and cork style designed by Ferragamo in the late ’30s. In platforms, the weight of the body is evenly distributed to a great extent as opposed to the stilettos but they don’t necessarily offer more stability. A few style might cause torque movement to the ankles causing damage. But whatever said and done, they do rule the fashion scene! So keep the shape of the sole in mind before buying these styles. Largely, they suit supinators and neutral pronators. If you’re high-arched, you can go for the deep-set, colorful espridrilles.
In Betweens: Kitten and small heels can be considered medium heels. A few podiatrists recommend 5-cm heels for the flat-footed. According to some experts, these aid the foot contraction, support the mid-sole and distribute weight evenly in a normal arch. And if you have a high arch, you might have some problem carrying them (unless you find a matched-to-the-tee pair!).
Flats: Yes, they’re easy to wear and comfortable, but floor-kissers or wide heels can be dreadful too. Wide-heeled shoes increased knee-joint pressure by 26%, while stilettos upped pressure by 22%, which many experts believe, accounts for osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis) being twice as common in women as men. Very low heels shift the center of gravity backwards, cause difficulty in locking knees and strain the back. Super-pointed toes (both in heels and flats) are not great too, where the fore foot is compressed. Sometimes, narrow fronts cause Hallus Valgus, which is an overriding of the toes. If you’re flat-footed, you can go for semi-flat shapes. If your feet are extremely arched, you might have some problems wearing super-flat shoes for long. But if you do, make sure there is ample support and cushioning at the mid-sole.
Active Wear: Shopping for these shoes is a crucial bet. Good quality, even it comes at a price, should be your priority. After all, they’re for health benefits! The soles of walking or running shoes should be soft, flexible and shock absorbing. If not, they can cause shin splits. The rear part of the shoe should cover the ankle line and should have a well-padded rim so that the ankle doesn’t take the strain of the side-to-side movement. The shoe shouldn’t be too small or too large. So if you’re bulky, have flat feet or pronate heavily, you need motion control shoes.
They give stability while moving but might not be supersoft. If you’re high-arched, supinate or walk long distances, try cushioned but light footwear that offers support to your mid-sole. And stability or semi-cushioned shoes are for mid-weight, medium-arched or high-arched, or neutral pronators. These are cushioned lightly and offer a good level of stability. Remember, the shoe should bend at the ball of the foot and not at the mid-sole, and twist well. Poke the toe on the ground and check if it bounces well.