Foot pain can hold us back from doing everything our daily routine requires, let alone doing those extra things we love. Luckily, our lives don't need to be dictated by our feet. There are plenty of ways to keep foot pain away, from the shoes you wear to what goes in them.
We spend about 235 days of our lives on our feet, so it’s no surprise that 80% of us have experienced foot pain. While the cause of your foot pain may be unique to you, there are some very common foot issues that could be the reason for your discomfort:
When you're on the hunt for shoes, sometimes you can tell if a pair of shoes will be comfortable just by looking at them. You can judge them by how they're constructed, what materials they're made of, if they're narrow, and how thick the soles are. Shoes that don’t give your feet enough room, support or cushioning won't leave your feet feeling good.
Shopping for shoes when you have foot pain ups the stakes. You want to make sure you're spending your money on comfortable footwear that makes your feet feel better, not worse.
Before you buy a pair of shoes that promises to “cure back and foot pain,” you’ll want to do some research to make sure you’re getting the greatest comfort for your feet and lifestyle.
It’s always better to try on shoes before you buy them, especially if it’s a brand you’ve never worn before. Spending some time walking around in a pair of shoes to see how your feet feel gives you an idea of how well they'll work for you long-term.
Harvard Medical School offers some helpful advice for shoe shopping:
Most of the shoes you try on probably don't have good arch support. This is because shoe manufacturers build in minimal arch support so their shoes appeal to the largest number of people. For example, if a shoe manufacturer put a medium arch in a shoe, people with flat feet would find them uncomfortable.
Your best bet to make any shoe more comfortable is to add an insole that offers firm, flexible support. When considering what kind of shoe inserts you need, think about the following:
For sufferers of plantar fasciitis or bunions, comfort and stretch that conforms to your feet are important details when buying shoes. Sonoma offers half sizes as well as a choice between wide, narrow, and even extra wide fits.
Most of Softwalk’s shoes have removable inserts so you can add your own orthotic insoles for added support. Some shoes even add stabilizing features to ensure your walk is as soft as possible and doesn’t add strain to the rest of your body.
Some of the most popular men’s dress shoes that get a thumbs-up for comfort are Rockport’s DresSports collection. They’re so comfortable that Rockport once sent a team of marathoners to run 26.2 miles in them.
Rockport ensures comfort in this series with a padded collar and tongue to help prevent blisters and lace bruising, a polyurethane outsole that reduces foot and leg fatigue through shock absorption, and shock-absorbing heel cushioning.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080V9
New Balance shoes are often cited as great for people suffering from foot pain. The Fresh Foam 1080V9 Running Shoes for men and women are stylish and comfortable with their mesh uppers. They have a wide toe box that helps to stabilize your feet and their ample cushioning helps with shock absorption.
Allbirds Tree Runners
Called the “world’s most comfortable shoe” by TIME magazine, Allbirds are beloved not only for feeling great on your feet, but also for their attention to using materials that are eco-friendly. With a focus on renewable and recyclable materials, Allbirds has styles for both men and women.
While you’ll probably need to add arch support insoles to your Allbirds, the flexibility of the fabric will be a relief for anyone suffering from bunions or hammertoes.
It can be so tempting to throw on a pair of flip-flops when the weather is warm, but if you already have foot pain, they’re not going to help. Having used almost the same sole design for almost 250 years, Birkenstock (and the millions of people who wear them) swear by the simple science behind their shoes.
These sandals are designed with an arch support that molds to your foot over time, providing a natural and comfortable walk that prevents foot pain.
No matter the footwear you end up with, the most important thing your shoes can do is keep your feet comfortable and pain-free. It may be that the best shoes are just a start, and you need to add arch support insoles to get them perfect for your feet. Once you figure out what works best for you, you'll be amazing at how far you can go when your feet feel great.
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Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.
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