Ask anyone who has a pair of UGG Boots and they'll tell you they're incredibly comfortable and cozy. But, their lack of arch support wreaks havoc on their 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. Keep reading to find out how you can take your UGG Boots to the next level of boot bliss.
UGG boots are made from natural wool insulation, which is both more comfortable than synthetic insulation and incredibly warm. The sheepskin uppers breathe well, so your feet don't get sweaty. The boot also comes with soft, flexible outsoles, which provide extra cushioning and insulate your feet from the cold ground. Few pieces of footwear feel so good to put on when your feet are cold.
Surfers on the west coast of Australia started wearing this style of shearling boots long before they found their way to the States. Nothing felt better on their feet after a day on the waves. The style’s popularity grew slowly in the surf and beach scene of southern California during the '80s and '90s, then gained widespread popularity in the early ‘00s. Since then, UGG and UGG style boots have become a footwear staple. Mostly worn in cool weather, their supreme comfort has generated tremendous brand loyalty.
More recently, new styles have been added that are quite different from the original shearling boots, including UGG slippers, slip-ons, sneakers and more. They now range from insulated to more lightweight. Some are waterproof. Luckily, many still feature natural sheepskin as insulation.
Despite the incredible warmth and initial comfort the boots provide on a cold winter day, they provide little-to-no support for your feet. In fact, traditional UGG boots have no arch support at all. They are fine for lounging around the house, but not so comfortable for walking or standing for longer periods. 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."
One of the most common problems podiatrists and physicians see occurring because of the lack of arch support in UGGs is in relation to 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 won'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 or UGG style boots on the ground. Look at them from behind. Do the boots look like they are bending inwards? If so, your foot is overpronating.
Dr. Krista Archer, a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon in Manhattan, worries about UGG's spaciness in the ankles and heels, as it allows your ankles to twist and roll in or out.
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 firm support. Typically, the UGG Boot insoles for flat feet will have a low but supportive arch. However, you should try different heights to determine which one will adequately support your feet.
But if you have high or medium arches, UGG boots still don't provide enough support for your foot. It may take a little longer to develop foot pain, but without proper structure in the shoe, your arches will suffer – no matter the height.
You don't need to swear off UGGs because you need more arch support than they have. Most physicians will tell you that by adding over-the-counter inserts with strong arch support, you can continue to wear your UGGs without any problem.
To ensure your feet are getting the support they deserve, all you need to do is 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:
For women, the following boots have removable insoles:
For men, the following styles have removable insoles:
If you are buying your UGG boots online and are still unsure if the model you like has removable insoles, scroll down to the "details" section of the page. If the words "removable/replaceable insole" or "removable contoured insole" appear, then that model has insoles you can take out.
There is no reason to give up your UGG boots just because you need more support. Just adding a pair of insoles will make some of the most comfortable shoes out there even more comfortable all winter long.
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