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.
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.