Ask anyone who has a pair of UGG Boots and they'll tell you how incredibly comfortable they are. Cozy as they may be, their lack of arch support can wreak havoc on your feet. If you love your UGGs but don't love the foot pain that can come with them, there's an easy fix to your problem.
Australian surfers started wearing this style of shearling boots long before they found their way to the States. The style’s popularity grew slowly in the surf and beach community of southern California during the '80s and '90s, then gained widespread popularity in the early ‘00s. Since then, UGG style boots have become a footwear staple.
More recently, new styles have been added that are quite different from the original shearling boots, including UGG slippers, slip-ons, sneakers and more. UGGs now range from insulated footwear for winter to lightweight styles for summer. Some are waterproof. Luckily, many still feature natural sheepskin as insulation.
While the company says it has never had complaints of foot pain after nearly 30 years of quality craftsmanship, some physicians beg to differ.
Dr. Rock Positano, of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, says that UGGs "may feel cushiony; [they] may feel comfortable, but it doesn't mean [people are] getting the necessary arch support that a foot needs to function effectively."
The images below show the footprints of feet with different arch heights. The lack of arch support in UGG boots can decrease comfort for people with any of these arch heights. Podiatrists and physicians agree that lack of support can be especially worrisome for people with flat feet.
When you have flat feet, the entire bottom of your foot (the sole) touches the ground when you’re standing. Flat feet often occur when your arches don’t develop properly as you’re growing up or if you overpronate. They can also develop as you age or after a foot injury. For women, pregnancy can cause flat feet.
While having flat feet does not necessarily mean you will experience pain, some common consequences include:
Flat-footed people need shoes that provide structure and support. Loose-fitting boots like UGGs can't stop your ankle from rolling inward (pronating). Moreover, the lack of support may exacerbate the tendency of your arches and tendons to collapse.
Set both your UGG boots on the ground. Look at them from behind. Do the boots look like they are bending inwards? If so, your feet are overpronating.
And, as Dr. Positano posits, a lack of support in your shoes leads to "overuse, meaning the muscles, the tendons, the ligaments, and the bones in the foot and the ankle overwork," he said. "A recent study just came out that showed the correlation between a flat arch, and problems with the knee, the hip, and the back."
For people with flat feet, the best insoles for UGG boots will fully support your arch and stabilize your heel to concentrate the fatty pad underneath your heel bone. This will both prevent overpronation and provide additional comfort. Typically, UGG Boot insoles for flat feet will have a low but supportive arch.
Some people with flat feet benefit from a higher level of arch support. Here is a way to determine whether you have flat feet or not. If you have medium or high arches, the lack of arch support in UGG boots is still a problem. It may take a little longer to develop foot pain, but without proper structure in the shoe, your arches will suffer, no matter your arch height.
To ensure your feet are getting the support they deserve, find a pair of insoles that work for you and fit your UGGs appropriately. If your UGG boots have removable insoles, you'll want to follow these steps to add arch support:
If your UGGs do not have removable insoles and you want to add arch support, your best option is to get an arch support that doesn't take up space at the front of your foot and affect the fit of your boots. Look for short or 3/4 length insoles to give your arches the support they need, without crowding your toes.
When it comes to cozy winter footwear, UGG Boots are at the top of the list. Adding firm arch support will let you wear them all season long without the discomfort of foot pain.
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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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