Those stiletto heels may be "attention grabbers," but they can do some major damage to your feet, warns podiatrist Dr. Wendy Benton-Weil. Common problems caused by wearing the wrong shoes include: plantar fasciitis (heel pain), stress fractures, joint pain, sprained/broken ankles and "pump bump" (painful, swollen bumps on the heel).
Dr. Weil, of Weil Foot and Ankle Institute, knows the importance of finding shoes that are comfortable and healthy for your feet, while still trendy and in style. Here are some of her picks for hip, but wearable shoes in wide price range:
- Clarks Passion $99; dark brown heel, double strap Mary Jane dress shoe from The Walking Company www.thewalkingcompany.com
- Merona Red Patent Mertie $24.99; red patent heel from Target www.target.com Blowfish Hadassa $54.95, caramel colored, closed toe wedge from Famous Footwear www.famousfootwear.com
- Sofft Sabatina $99.95; dressy sandal from The Walking Company and Carson's www.carsons.com
- Sofft Nude $89.95; patent leather pumps with wooden heels from Nordstrom www.nordstrom.com
- Black strappy sandals in patent leather and elastic bands $49.95 ; from DSW www.DSW.com
- Steven Intyce boot $129; wedge heel built into boot from Nordstrom www.nordstrom.com
- Dansko www.dansko.com clogs in every color and design for those workers on their feet all day: restaurant workers, chefs, doctors, nurses, etc. Dr. Weil says these clogs are stylish and extremely comfortable. Range in price from $110 on up. She says you can pay less for other similar brands such as Alpro www.alpro.us and others on line.
Dr. Weil has some tips for finding the right pair of shoes:
- Did you know that you can figure out if a shoe is comfortable by stepping on the outside of it without putting your foot inside? That is a good way to measure comfort.
- Know your shoe sizes-- yes, plural! Shoe size charts only measure length of your foot, but a healthy shoe fits its width and height, too
- If you have a high arch, look for shoes with a small heel and good arch support to provide relief from foot pain.
- Avoid backless shoes (like mules) -- they cause pain in toes from gripping with your toes to keep the shoes on.
- Shock absorbers aren't just for your car. Look for shoes with rubber or leather soles to prevent feet from feeling the total impact of bumps
- Look at the inside of the shoes to make sure there are no uncovered seams or pieces that will rub against your foot.
- Look at the material of the shoe-- leather and suede provide the most flexibility and comfort because the material shapes to your foot
- Don't be an "early bird shoe shopper"! Your feet are the largest in the afternoon or evening, so avoid getting too small of a shoe during the morning
- Listen to your feet! If the shoe doesn't feel right in the store, chances are slim that "breaking in" will do the trick.
- Wear a variety of shoes. For example, always wearing heels will shorten your Achilles, but I you alternate with flats and gym shoes, this often can be prevented.
- People always assume flats are best when you have foot problems; however flats often have no arch support or support in the sole and aggravate heel and arch pain.
- Think roomy toes, good arch support and not pitched too far forward.
- If you want height, wear more a platform shoe with good arch support as opposed to stilettos.
- Here are some tips on good shoes for different conditions:
- Pain in heels: need good arch support, avoid flats
- Pain in balls of feet: stiff soled shoes with arch support, avoid high heels
- Pain from bunions, hammertoes: deep wide toes box or open toes.
For more information on foot problems, orthotics or good shoes for your feet, you contact Dr. Wendy Benton-Weil at the Weil Foot and Ankle Institute, 847- 390-7666 or log on to www.Weil4Feet.com.