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Summer footwear: What’s good and bad for your feet?

Are ballet flats a good option?

Many people turn to ballet flats during the summer months as a nice, simple alternative to heels that can work for both business and casual environments. However, you should be careful about wearing ballet flats and other flat, non-supportive shoes. This type of shoe can lead to knee, hip, and back pain.

What about heels?

When you choose to wear heels, whether sandal, peep toe, or traditional heels, you could also end up with leg problems. Constantly wearing heels causes the muscles in the back of your leg and the Achilles tendon to tighten up, leading to chronic problems. Stilettos are worse than larger heels. One sign that your muscles are becoming too tight is if you experience cramping when transitioning from from heels to flats. Although stretching can help mitigate some of the problems, you should still avoid prolonged heel wearing.

Should you wear flip flops on a daily basis?

Flip flops are typically a staple for summer, but they should not be worn every day. These shoes are fine for occasional wear, especially to the pool or the beach. However, prolonged wearing can lead to foot pain. Although they may seem comfortable, especially when it is very hot outside, they provide no foot support, such as arch support, cushioning for the heel, or absorption of any shock.

Some people can get away with wearing flip flops for longer because they do not need as much support. Most people can be fine with wearing flip flops to run a quick errand. However, you should not wear flip flops for extensive walking, such as during a vacation. You also put your foot at risk of wounds and cuts, since there is not real protection.

How important is it for your feet to breathe?

It’s important for your feet to breathe, especially if you suffer from diabetes or another condition that decreases blood circulation to your extremities. However, you do not have to wear sandals for your feet to breathe. Plenty of materials allow for air flow for your feet. You should avoid vinyl or plastic, which hinder your feet’s ability to breathe. Wearing socks made from cotton, certain wools, and special knits also helps your feet breathe.

The best summer footwear for your feet

The best summer footwear for your feet depends on your own unique needs, including the type of support you need. Wearing a variety of shoe types and choosing the right style for the activity, such as hiking boots for hiking and running shoes for sports, can help. The American Podiatric Medical Association provides a list of approved shoe brands for a variety of shoe types, including flip flops and sandals, to help you find something that will work for you.

You don’t have to throw out your sandals, flip flops, heels, ballet flats, and other potentially harmful shoes. Instead, you simply have to be aware of the dangers and be smart when wearing them, especially if you are already at risk of leg, hip, knee, and foot problems.