As the weather warms up, people tend to switch from their closed toe shoes to sandals or even walking barefoot. Unfortunately, this often leads to more foot problems during the summer months. Most sandals, especially flip-flops, are not supportive and do not provide much cushion. Because they are also composed of less material, this often means that your feet have to work harder just to keep the sandals on. Not all sandals are necessarily bad for your feet, though. More and more brands carry sandals with built-in arch supports, cushioned footbeds, and lifted heels that can better support and protect your feet, as well as improve body alignment.
Continue reading below to learn about certain key sandal features that may come in handy the next time you go shopping, and next week, I will share my top sandal brands for this summer (hint: some are pictured below).
The more straps, the better.
You may have already noticed this, but when you wear flip-flops, your toes tend to curl, or grip the sandal, as you walk, and as you pick up your feet, your toes extend, or lift upwards. Your feet instinctively do this to keep your sandals on. When you wear tennis shoes, your feet are completely enclosed and the shoes do the work for your feet. Therefore, when it comes to sandals, finding ones with multiple straps, especially a strap that goes around the ankle, will keep the sandal on
your feet better without your toes having to work so hard.
Sandals with an arch support do exist.
Having support under your arch can help keep your lower extremities in proper alignment and take tension off certain soft tissue structures, such as your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. If you have extremely high arches, you will likely not find a sandal with a high enough arch built into the footbed of the sandal, but
even some arch support is better than nothing.
Cushion is extra!
You will likely have to pay for a better constructed sandal, but it may be worth the extra cost. You may think you’re saving money with that $10 pair of thong sandals, but they will not do much for your feet, will likely wear out quicker, and may even put your feet at increased risk for injury. Therefore, consider investing in a good pair of sandals with extra material that will give your feet the cushion they need and possibly last years.
It’s OK to wear wedges.
If you’re looking for something a bit more stylish, it is actually OK to wear a sandal with a wedge to it and, sometimes, I actually encourage it. For multiple foot types, having a little heel on your shoe is more supportive for your foot, specifically the arch, than wearing a completely flat sandal. Just keep in mind that once you get to a 2” heel or higher, over half of your body weight gets placed
onto your forefoot, which can cause other foot problems.
As you can tell, there is a lot that goes into shopping for the best sandal for your feet. By taking extra time, though, and investing in a better pair, you may find a sandal that protects, supports, and cushions your feet more. They may also last years, and you could possibly get through these summer months injury- and pain-free.
Remember to stay tuned for next week's post, where I will discuss my top sandals brands for the 2018 summer season.
DISCLAIMER: The above information is meant for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please contact the doctor, or your own healthcare professional, should you have questions or concerns related to your health.