Sure, they look great, but are they wreaking havoc?

Metallic snakeskin shoes
Credit: Victor Schrager


Which styles of shoes are the kindest to your feet?

  • Low heels. Go for two inches or lower, which won’t alter the way your muscles work as much or add extra pressure to the balls of your feet.
  • Stacked or thicker heels. Spindly stilettos make for unstable feet. A slightly chunkier heel helps keep the foot in alignment and reduces the risk of straining ligaments.
  • Wide toe boxes. A rounded toe gives the foot room to move naturally. A pointy toe can squash toes, but “if the point begins to narrow beyond your toes, it can be OK,” says podiatric surgeon Marlene Reid.

Feet Defeaters

These shoe styles can be problematic.

  • Heels over three inches. They increase the pressure on the balls of the feet, says Marlene Reid. If you wear them, limit it to a few hours at a time.
  • Platforms. “A shoe should bend at the ball of the foot,” says Reid. A stiff style prevents natural foot movement.
  • Flat shoes. Flip-flops and ballet flats usually offer no arch support. Wear shoes with a wide ¼-inch heel.