Types of Shoes

Not all shoes are created equal. Some shoes are designed simply for style and do not give you the comfort and support you need to avoid injury, feet deformities, or other conditions.

It is possible to find stylish shoes that do not hurt your feet; you just need to know how to find them. Learn more about the importance of proper shoes and how to select the best footwear for your needs:

Aerobic Shoes

Proper footwear is crucial to avoiding injury during aerobic training. Aerobic shoes should provide cushioning, shock absorption, and forefoot stability. They should also have plenty of room in the toe box to prevent irritation and bruising of toenails.

Finding a good aerobic shoe is simple once you know what to look for. Most major shoe companies sell shoes specifically designed for aerobic workouts. Unlike running shoes where the cushioning is in the heel of the shoes, an aerobic shoe should have most of the cushioning under the balls of the feet.

What to look for in aerobic shoes

There are three primary things to look for in a good aerobic shoe:

The shoe should provide enough stability and arch support to accommodate side-to-side movements.

  • The shoe should have enough cushioning to minimize the impact of bouncing, stepping up and down, and running in place.
  • The toe box of the shoe should be high enough to prevent damage to toes and bruising of toenails.

Aerobics routines often involve jumping and repeated up and down movements, so the lighter the shoe the better. Above all, do not purchase running shoes or grab any old pair of sneakers to wear to an aerobic workout. Running shoes are not built to withstand the lateral movements that occur during aerobic routines.

Issues created by improper fit

In a physically challenging sport like aerobics, injuries to the feet are common. The total impact force from aerobic routines is far greater than the impact from walking and running. Movements like running in place, jumping, lunging side-to-side, and stepping up and down can all contribute to injury if there is insufficient support and padding in footwear.

Wearing poorly fitting shoes or shoes with insufficient support for aerobic exercise can contribute to any of the following foot conditions:

  • Achilles tendon pain.
  • Arch pain (plantar fasciitis).
  • Blisters and calluses.
  • Calf and knee pain.
  • Heel spurs.
  • Sesamoiditis.
  • Shin splint.
  • Stress fractures (of the toes, foot, and ankle).

If you are experiencing foot problems related to aerobic exercise, talk to your doctor to find out if your shoes are contributing to the problem.

Baseball and Softball Shoes

Baseball and softball players at all levels need to make sure they have the right equipment to enjoy the game and avoid injury. The rapid stops and starts, running, and sliding associated with sports like baseball and softball put extreme pressure on the feet and ankles. Improper shoes worn during training can lead to tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and a host of other debilitating foot conditions.

As with any other athletic shoe, comfort is the top priority when it comes to choosing the right baseball or softball shoe. Try to find shoes with a snug heel, roomy toe box, and plenty of ankle support.

What to look for in baseball shoes

For little leaguers, sneakers are usually suitable for playing baseball or softball. When children start league play, cleats are recommended to provide the traction needed for running the bases.

When trying on cleats, make sure feet are measured properly and wear thick game socks. The widest part of the foot should fit comfortably in cleats. There should be plenty of room in the toe box and flexibility in the sole. Find cleats that breathe; fungus thrive in moist, dark environments like athletic shoes.

Cleats can expose ankles to twists and turns when running the bases, sliding, and fielding balls. Look for athletic cleats that cover and support the ankle. Make sure to break in cleats before wearing them during a game. Most importantly, check cleats periodically for signs of wear.

Issues created by improper fit

Baseball and softball players are vulnerable to a variety of foot and ankle injuries from the movements involved in the game. Improper shoe wear only increases the danger of foot injuries. Poorly fitted cleats can lead to:

  • Achilles tendonitis.
  • Ankle sprains.
  • Metatarsalgia.
  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Shin splints.
  • Stress fractures.

Watch out for irritation, blisters, and redness when wearing cleats for the first time. Any pain while wearing cleats is a clear indicator of a problem. If cleats are causing serious discomfort, have a podiatrist evaluate the fit of the shoes.

Basketball Shoes

Basketball players often overlook the importance of investing in a pair of high-quality, durable athletic shoes. With movements like jump shots, lay-ups, and pivoting, these athletes face a high risk of ankle sprains, stress fractures, and ligament tears. The average basketball player can reduce the risk of injury significantly by purchasing shoes with good ankle support and shock absorption. Wearing high-top basketball shoes is also one of the best means of preventing ankle sprains.

Above all else, basketball shoes should be comfortable. Experts recommend replacing basketball shoes before the soles become smooth and the upper portions of the shoe begin to stretch too much.

What to look for in basketball shoes

Basketball requires jumping, running, and sudden directional changes like pivoting. As a result, basketball shoes have to provide stability, flexibility, and shock absorption.

Here are some tips to consider when selecting basketball shoes:

  • Choose lace-up shoes, they keep the heel stable and reduce pressure on the toes.
  • Make sure the shoes have a broad toe box.
  • Try shoes on when standing and spread your toes to make sure there is sufficient toe room.
  • If your feet are different sizes, always fit the larger foot.
  • The heel of the shoe should be firm and snug.
  • Select shoes with leather or open weave synthetic uppers.
  • High-top shoes are preferable to three-quarter or low-top shoes, they provide the best ankle support.
  • Always replace basketball shoes when you begin to see signs of wear.

Issues created by improper fit

Basketball players spend most of their time pounding their feet into the ground. It is no wonder foot and ankle injuries are common in the game of basketball. Without proper footwear, injury will usually occur.

Two types of injuries to the feet and ankles can occur during basketball play: acute injuries and chronic injuries. Acute injuries result from a sudden movement or collision; for example, twisting or landing improperly from a jump. Chronic injuries are injuries that develop over time. One of the primary causes of chronic basketball injury is improper footwear.

Common injuries seen in basketball players include:

  • Achilles tendonitis.
  • Ankle sprains.
  • Ligament tears.
  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Pulled muscles.
  • Sesamoiditis.
  • Shin splints.
  • Stress fractures.

If you suffer any of these injuries while playing basketball, be sure to visit your doctor for treatment.

Children's Shoes

As your child begins to walk, you may have questions about what type of shoes they should be wearing. The size and shape of children's feet change quickly and it is important to purchase new shoes frequently to accommodate for this.

Children's shoes should be comfortable from the start. Never purchase shoes that need to be "broken in." Pay attention to length, depth, and width when fitting your child with new shoes. Remember, poorly fitting shoes can lead to toe problems, blisters, calluses, and ingrown toenails, even in small children.

What to look for in children's shoes

Children's feet grow in spurts; you should expect to replace your child's shoes every four months. In terms of sizing, toddlers usually grow about half a shoe size every two to three months. Children age two to two and a half will grow half a foot size every four months. By age three, your child will be growing half a shoe size every four to six months.

When shopping for new children's shoes, follow this advice:

  • Do not rely on your child to tell you what is or is not comfortable, have your child's feet measured standing in the store.
  • Make sure your child's toes are fully extended in new shoes; there should be about half an inch between the toes and the end of the shoe.
  • Avoid buying shoes that are more than a full size too large. Shoes that are too big can cause your child to stumble while walking.
  • Avoid buying shoes that are too tight.
  • Make sure shoes are comfortable from the start; you should never rely on your child to "break in" new shoes.
  • Buy shoes made from breathable materials.
  • Avoid heels on children's shoes; instead look for shoes with flexible soles and good traction.

You should check your child's shoes periodically for signs of excess wear. If the sides are bulging, the shoes may be too narrow. If your child's toes bend upwards when walking this is a sign that you need to move up a size in shoes.

Issues created by improper fit

Unfortunately, it is often difficult to tell if a child is wearing shoes that hurt their feet. Young children tend to adapt to whatever they are asked to wear and accept it as normal. As a parent, you should be checking your child's feet regularly and looking for any of the following warning signs:

  • Skin: Look for areas of redness, scaliness, or signs of itching. This could indicate some type of fungal infection. Check periodically for blisters and red marks near the shoes, these are signs of ill-fitting shoes.
  • Nails: Discoloration and inflammation near the toenails could be a sign of infection or an ingrown nail.
  • Foot deformities: Make sure your child's toes are straight and not curled or tucked under.
  • Posture: If your child's feet are turned in or splayed, seek the advice of a podiatrist. Most children outgrow these types of problems but you should talk to a physician regardless.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can get the proper footwear for your child and help reduce the risks of foot problems.

Corrective Shoes

Corrective shoes are recommended for people with chronic foot injuries, deformities, and medical conditions like diabetes that put them at a higher risk of developing foot problems. If a patient is experiencing foot numbness or neuropathy, one of the first things a podiatrist will suggest is a switch to corrective shoe wear to protect against blisters and ulcers.

Every corrective shoe is different, but they all have a few things in common, including:

  • More padding in the shoe.
  • More space to accommodate insoles and orthotic devices.
  • Smooth interior construction.

What to look for in corrective shoe wear

Corrective shoes are designed to address trouble areas on the feet. For example, if you have fallen arches, you can find a corrective shoe with a built-up arch to provide much needed support.

Corrective shoes can also be built wider to accommodate bunions or built with a higher toe box to avoid putting pressure on hammertoes. The goal is to stabilize the deformity, reduce pain, and stop the progression of the deformity.

For diabetics, corrective shoes help to reduce pressure. Areas of pressure on the feet, or hot spots, can lead to skin breakdown and the formation of ulcers. Diabetics should also look for corrective footwear that limits motion of the joint. This can help reduce inflammation and stabilize the foot.

Types of corrective shoe wear

There are several different types of corrective shoes available, including the following:

  • Custom-made shoes: A podiatrist can construct a custom pair of shoes based on a model of the feet.
  • External modification: The outside of shoes can be modified to stabilize the foot. This may include changing the shape of the sole.
  • Healing shoes: These are shoes worn after surgery or ulcer treatment. They are worn during recovery and help patients transition to a regular shoe.
  • In-depth shoes: An in-depth shoe is an athletic shoe that has extra depth to allow room for orthotics and protects the foot from deformities.
  • Orthotics and shoe inserts: Orthotics provide relief from pressure on certain areas of the feet and help absorb shock.

Talk to a podiatrist about corrective shoe wear, and find out if orthotic shoes can help relieve your foot pain.

Cycling Shoes

You can ride a bicycle in just about any shoes, but serious riders should always invest in shoes designed specifically for mountain biking or road biking. Compared to cross trainers and typical athletic shoes, cycling shoes are designed with much stiffer soles. The soles help to transfer power from feet to pedals, making riding more efficient and less tiring.

Cycling shoes are typically paired with clipless pedal systems. The shoes and clips work together to provide extra support and reduce cramping and fatigue.

What to look for in cycling shoes

After selecting a bicycle that fits your needs, the shoes you wear will be the second most important piece of cycling equipment you purchase.

Cycling shoes should be comfortable from the get-go. The heel should be snug and there should be plenty of arch support. You should also have room to wiggle your toes. When walking in cycling shoes your heels may slip a bit, this is due to the stiffness of the soles. As long as your feet feel stable when you are clipped into your pedals, there is no need for concern.

The style of cleat for your cycling shoe will depend on the type of biking you plan to do. For road biking, the cleat will protrude from the sole. For mountain biking, the cleat should be recessed into the sole.

Cycling shoes should be monitored for signs of wear. Cleats should be replaced immediately if they are worn to the point where the shoe becomes inadvertently disengaged from the pedal.

Issues created by improper fit

Cycling shoes need to provide enough support to transfer power from the feet to the pedals. Improper shoe wear can cause the foot to collapse through the arch when pedaling. This can result in:

  • Arch pain.
  • Burning, numbness, tingling, and shooting pains through the foot.
  • Sesamoiditis.
  • Tendon problems.

If you have pre-existing problems with your feet, it is important to see a doctor before investing in cycling shoes. A podiatrist can help you find a cycling shoe that will fit comfortably and accommodate foot conditions and deformities.

General Athletic Shoes

If you are an experienced athlete or are just trying to stay active, it is important that you wear the proper footwear when exercising. Many sports and activities have shoes designed specifically for the activity. For example, running shoes are designed to support your feet and ankles from repeatedly pounding your feet on the pavement.

Before starting any athletic activity, including walking, be sure to have shoes that will give you the comfort and support that you need.

What to look for in athletic shoes

No matter what sport you play, when selecting athletic shoes, be sure the shoes:

  • Are not too old. Worn shoes can lack the necessary support.
  • Have an adequately sized toe box that allows you to wiggle your toes.
  • Have proper stability and cushioning for the specific activity.
  • Snugly fit at the heel.

When shopping for athletic shoes, you should also remember these tips:

  • Buy athletic shoes at the end of the day because your feet are typically swollen at that time.
  • Comfort, support, and proper fit should come before style.
  • If one foot is larger than the other, size your shoes for the larger foot.
  • If you wear orthotics, bring them with you to get proper fit.
  • Purchase shoes that are designed for the activity (i.e. don't buy soccer cleats for running). Your podiatrist or an employee at a specialty shoe store can help you choose the proper shoe.
  • Wear the same type of socks you plan to use for the activity when you get your shoes fitted.

Issues created by improper fit

Your athletic shoes should give your feet and ankles the support they need to avoid injury or other foot conditions. Improperly fitted athletic shoes can cause numerous problems, including:

  • Achilles tendonitis.
  • Ankle sprains and ligament tears.
  • Arch pain (plantar fasciitis).
  • Athlete's foot.
  • Blisters, calluses, and corns.
  • Bone spurs.
  • Calf and knee pain.
  • Fractures.
  • Heel pain.
  • Muscle strains.
  • Neuroma.
  • Pulled muscles.
  • Sesamoiditis (pain in the ball of the foot).
  • Shin splints.
  • Stress fractures (of the toes, foot, and ankle).
  • Tendon problems.
  • Toenail bruising, bleeding, and irritation.

If you suffer an injury due to improper footwear or if you have questions about the proper footwear for an athletic activity, visit a skilled podiatrist.

Golf Shoes

Proper foot positioning is an important aspect of a successful golf game. Without proper shoes, it can be difficult to carry the force of a golf swing through properly. Poorly fit golf shoes can also bring on blisters, neuromas, and other debilitating foot conditions. The best solution is to find a golf shoe that is lightweight, well-cushioned, and comfortable enough to walk in for the time required to play a full round of golf.

What to look for in golf shoes

In the past, golf footwear was limited to wing-tip oxfords with spikes. The focus was fashion over comfort. Golf shoes today are designed much more like athletic footwear.

There are countless styles and shapes to choose from when selecting golf shoes. Here are some tips to consider when trying-on and purchasing golf shoes:

  • Look for shoes with well-cushioned soles and heels.
  • Shop for golf shoes in the late afternoon when your feet are slightly swollen.
  • To guard against fungal growth, choose golf shoes that are breathable.
  • Transfer your shoe inserts to golf shoes in store when you try them on.
  • Try a practice swing when you try on golf shoes to ensure there is sufficient traction.
  • Try on golf shoes with the same type of socks you will wear when you play.

If you are a serious golfer, consider purchasing golf shoes with spikes. Shoes with spikes can help stabilize your feet when you swing.

Issues created by improper fit

Foot injuries are common among golfers. Injuries are exacerbated when there are any underlying structural problems with the feet. Poorly fitting footwear is often to blame for many of the acute and chronic injuries facing golfers, including:

  • Ankle sprains.
  • Blisters.
  • Capsulitis.
  • Heel pain.
  • Ligament sprains.
  • Morton's neuroma.
  • Stress fractures.
  • Tendonitis.

If you are experiencing foot pain after a round of golf, check your shoes. Persistent foot pain means that you should seek help from a podiatrist.

Men's Shoes

Many common foot problems that develop in men are related to their choice of footwear. While men may not have access to as many varied shoe styles as women, they face several of the same issues with fit.

The average man will experience a gradual increase in foot size over their lifetime. If years have passed since your last foot measurement, take the time to have your feet measured the next time you visit a shoe store. You may be surprised to find that your foot size and width has increased.

What to look for in men's shoes

Men's shoes should conform to the shape of their feet. Some of the best shoe styles for men are oxfords, slip-ons, dressy loafers, and dress boots.

If you are unsure about what size shoe will fit your feet, have your feet measured in a shoe store. Above all, focus on comfort. If shoes are uncomfortable, you will not feel good wearing them. Here is a list of tips to consider when trying on and purchasing new shoes:

  • Bring a pair of your own socks to try on with shoes.
  • Choose flexible, shock absorbing soles.
  • Flat shoes are the best for foot health; if you need a heel, look for shoes with a heel height of two inches or less.
  • Have both of your feet measured in store for the most accurate sizing.
  • If a shoe feels too stiff, do not expect to break it in. Invest in shoes with soft materials that have some give.
  • If you can see the outline of your foot, size up or look for a wider shoe.
  • Make sure there is enough room in the toe box to flex your toes.

Issues created by improper fit

Foot problems can often be traced to an issue with shoe sizing or shoe material. Shoes that are too tight, too loose, too airtight, or not shaped properly to conform to the foot can contribute to the following foot conditions:

  • Aching, tired feet.
  • Arch pain.
  • Blisters, corns, and calluses.
  • Bunions.
  • Fungal infections.
  • Hammertoe.
  • Heel pain.
  • Ingrown toenails.
  • Metatarsalgia.

Among men, one of the most common foot conditions is athlete's foot. Tight-fitting shoes made of synthetic materials are usually the culprit. To avoid fungal infections, it is important to choose shoes that breathe and to periodically air out shoes and socks.

If you develop any foot conditions due to improperly fitting footwear, schedule an appointment with a skilled podiatrist for treatment.

Running Shoes

Running and jogging are excellent forms of cardiovascular exercise, but they put considerable stress on your body, particularly your feet. Selecting the proper running shoe is vital to preventing injury and protecting your feet and ankles.

There is no "best" running shoe. Every runner will have different needs when it comes to fitting running shoes; however, good running shoes have several things in common: they provide stability, arch support, and cushioning.

What to look for in running shoes

The challenge in selecting running shoes is choosing between different brand and model. Foot structure, weight, and running routine all factor into running shoe selection. For this reason, it is best to visit a podiatrist or a specialty running store for an individual fitting prior to selecting shoes.

Here are some general tips to follow when selecting running shoes:

  • Bring an old pair of running shoes with you so your podiatrist or shoe salesperson can see how your foot pronates.
  • If you normally wear orthotics, make sure you bring them to the fitting.
  • Make sure the shoes are comfortable right off the bat, breaking in running shoes is never a good idea.
  • Make sure the shoes grip your heel firmly; you should not be falling out of the shoes.
  • Shop in the afternoon when your feet are slightly swollen. This will mimic how your feet swell when running.
  • Walk and run around in the store to test the fit of the shoes. You should have room to wiggle your toes.
  • Wear the same socks you would wear running when fitting your shoe.

Issues created by improper fit

Every time a runner's foot pounds the pavement, it generates a force that is three times the body's actual weight. It is no wonder runners suffer from a variety of injuries affecting the feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

Good running shoes are essential to preventing injury. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Poorly fit running shoes can increase the risk of injury. Improper shoe wear can contribute to any of the following injuries:

  • Ankle sprains.
  • Calf pain.
  • Heel pain.
  • Plantar fasciitis (arch pain).
  • Sesamoiditis (pain in the ball of the foot).
  • Shin splints.
  • Stress fractures.

One of the most common causes of running injury is overpronation. Finding running shoes that provide motion control and a high level of support can go a long way in preventing injury. The same is true for supination, or underpronation. A supinated foot cannot absorb shock while running, so it is important to fit runners with underpronation with shoes that provide sufficient cushioning.

If you have injured your foot while running or want to be properly fitted for running shoes, visit your podiatrist.

Soccer Shoes

Soccer is a game played with your feet, and buying the right kind of cleats is essential for any player. A good pair of cleats can enhance play and reduce the risk of foot and ankle injury.

There are countless styles of soccer cleats to choose from; each is designed for different field types, weather conditions, and skill levels. Make sure you talk to a shoe expert or podiatrist before purchasing a pair of soccer cleats.

What to look for in soccer shoes

Before buying a pair of soccer cleats, contact your league to determine if there is a specific type of cleat you will be required to wear. Take this opportunity to ask about field conditions. Will you be playing on fields or artificial turf? Will fields be mostly dry during league play? Is the field soft or hard? All of these conditions should factor into your choice of footwear.

Keep in mind that when it comes to soccer cleats, expensive is not necessarily better. Pricey soccer cleats made from real leather may conform to the foot better, but if you are playing on a wet field the shoe will absorb moisture and feel extremely heavy. Rather than focusing on price and the style of the shoes, make sure the shoes are comfortable, with a reinforced toe, well-padded soles, and a wide toe box.

Here are some things to consider when selecting soccer cleats:

  • Soccer shoes will fit more snug than other athletic shoes due to their narrow design.
  • Soccer shoes come with different cleat patterns, make sure you select the cleats that fit your field conditions.
  • Bring your shin guards when trying on cleats so you can make sure the two fit together with room to spare.

Issues created by improper fit

It may be true that soccer has one of the lowest injury rates of any sport, but regardless, athletics and injuries go hand in hand. By choosing the right soccer shoes, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of foot injury during practice and games.

In soccer, shoes that are too small are a major cause of injury and foot pain. While soccer shoes are designed to fit more closely than other athletic shoes, they should not be so tight that it is impossible to move toes around. Running in shoes that are too tight can lead to toe injuries, including fractures, ingrown toenails, and bruised toenails.

One of the most common complaints among youth soccer players is heel pain. When soccer cleats are under cushioned, heel pain is often the result. Lack of proper support in soccer cleats can also lead to plantar fasciitis and shin splints.

If you suffer from a foot injury or condition caused by improper fit of your soccer shoes, visit your podiatrist for treatment.

Tennis Shoes

Tennis is a safe, popular sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. You do not have to be an expert to play the game, but it is important for serious and recreational players alike to use care to avoid injury.

If you play tennis, it is best to buy a shoe designed specifically for the movements of the sport. Tennis requires bursts of sprinting and quick side-to-side movements. The best shoes for tennis have proper cushioning, arch support, and enough "give" to allow for sliding back and forth.

What to look for in tennis shoes

You should never play tennis in random shoes you grab from the back of your closet, particularly running shoes. Tennis shoes allow for side-to-side movements; running shoes provide too much traction and can lead to foot and ankle injuries.

Proper tennis shoes need to have a roomy toe box and should grip the heel. There should also be adequate cushioning and arch support.

When shopping for tennis shoes, bring a pair of athletic socks. Put on both shoes and lace them up completely. You need to make sure that:

  • The collar of the shoes is not rubbing against your Achilles tendon.
  • There is room enough in the toe box to wiggle your toes.
  • Your ankles do not roll in the shoes.
  • Your feet do not slip out of the heel.

Issues created by improper fit

Tennis is a sport that requires quick reaction. The twisting, pivoting, and side-to-side movements put feet and ankles under stress. While properly fitting shoes can help reduce the risk of injury during tennis play, poorly fitting shoes can exacerbate existing injuries and put players at risk for new injuries.

Some of the most common injuries that occur on the tennis court include:

  • Ankle sprains.
  • Blisters and calluses.
  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Shin splints.
  • Stress fractures.
  • Tennis toe.

Wearing proper tennis shoes greatly reduces the risk of injury. If you have any existing foot conditions, make sure you talk to a podiatrist before shopping for new tennis shoes.

Walking Shoes

Walking provides an excellent cardiovascular workout. Compared with running, walking is much easier on the joints and carries far less risk of injury. Even people who are recovering from a serious injury are encouraged to begin a regular walking regimen.

Most running shoes are acceptable for exercise walking, but there are also specialty walking shoes available for purchase. Ideally, walking shoes should be comfortable, lightweight, and well-cushioned.

What to look for in walking shoes

Walking shoes should always feel stable and comfortable. Here are a few things to consider when selecting walking shoes:

  • If you have weak ankles, try to find a shoe that provides ankle support.
  • Look for a shoe with breathable upper materials (this will help reduce the risk of fungal infection).
  • Make sure the shoe is wide enough to fit the ball of your foot and long enough that you can wiggle your toes in the shoe.
  • Walk around the store in the shoe; make sure the heel does not irritate your Achilles tendon or ankle.
  • Walking shoes should feel snug; your feet should not slip out of the shoe when you walk.

Issues created by improper fit

Some walking injuries are unavoidable, like tripping over an object or slipping on a wet surface, but most exercise-related walking injuries can be avoided.

Walking injuries can be caused by overexercising and doing too much too fast. Improper footwear can also contribute to chronic walking injuries. Choosing good walking shoes can help you avoid many of the following injuries:

  • Ankle sprains.
  • Athlete's foot.
  • Blisters, calluses, and corns.
  • Bone spurs.
  • Bruised toenails.
  • Bursitis.
  • Heel pain.
  • Runner's knee.
  • Shin splints.
  • Stress fractures.
  • Tendonitis.

If you have any existing foot injuries or abnormalities, make sure you talk to your doctor about proper footwear before you start a walking regimen.

Winter Sport Shoes

When it comes to winter sports like alpine skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, cross-country skiing, and ice-skating, proper fitting footwear is a must. The key to keeping feet and ankles free from injury is finding shoes that provide ample support.

Winter sports involve high-speed forward motion, jumping, and rapid lateral movement. Shoes that fit properly can help absorb some of the pressure put on your feet and ankles and reduce the risk of injury.

What to look for in winter sport shoes

Finding winter sport shoes that fit properly is not easy, especially for newcomers. If ski boots or ice skates are too tight, they can cause blisters or abrasions and cut off circulation to the lower extremities. This is particularly worrisome in cold climates. When shoes are too loose, they can cause toe irritation and leave you vulnerable to falls and ankle sprains.

When purchasing shoes for winter sports, the easiest way to ensure that you find a good fit is to visit a specialty shoe store. Have a salesperson measure your feet and recommend the most appropriate size. Ski boots and skating shoes should feel snug but not overly tight. If you purchase winter shoes but are not sure they fit properly, have a podiatrist evaluate the fit.

Issues created by improper fit

There is little room for error when it comes to fitting winter sport shoes. When shoes are too loose or too tight, the results can be disastrous.

Improper shoe wear can lead to the following injuries:

  • Ankle sprains.
  • Bleeding under the toenail.
  • Blisters.
  • Cold feet.
  • Fractures.
  • Frostbite.
  • Muscle strains.
  • Nail irritation.
  • Neuroma.

Existing foot conditions can become irritated in ski boots, snow boots, and ice skates. If you are experiencing pain from bunions or hammertoes, you may need to switch to a better-fitting shoe.

Women's Shoes

According to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, foot problems resulting from poorly fitting shoes are a major health risk among women. Nearly 90 percent of women wear shoes that are too small for their feet. In fact, women are at least nine times more likely than men to develop foot problems from improper shoe wear.

Many of the foot deformities that women develop are caused by wearing narrow, high-heeled shoes. To avoid painful foot conditions like bunions and hammertoes, it is important to invest in shoes that blend fashion and comfort. Limiting the amount of time spent in heels can help prevent foot problems.

What to look for in women's shoes

High-heeled, narrow, and pointy-toed shoes can cause serious discomfort. These types of shoes result in an uneven weight distribution, placing too much pressure on the forefoot and leading to muscle imbalance and posture problems. To avoid painful foot conditions like bunions and hammertoes, women can try the following:

  • Alternate high-heeled shoes with flats during the course of the day.
  • Avoid inflexible, stiff shoes.
  • Buy heels with varying heights.
  • Focus on comfort; keep shopping until you find a shoe that looks AND feels good.
  • Have both feet measured while you are standing, if one foot is larger than the other, buy shoes that fit the bigger foot.
  • Make sure shoes do not pinch your toes.
  • Match your shoes to your activity. For example, if you will be walking a long distance to work, bring a comfortable pair of shoes for the trek.
  • Never purchase shoes without trying them on.

Issues created by improper fit

Selecting shoes that fit properly is the first step toward eliminating foot pain. Studies show that in nine out of ten cases, women's foot deformities can be attributed to wearing shoes that are too tight.

Part of the problem is in the design of women's shoes. Overall, there is a lack of availability of wide sizes and toe boxes are becoming narrower every year. High-heeled shoes and shoes that are too narrow can cause numerous orthopedic problems. Some of the most common foot conditions that result from the unnatural shape of women's shoes are:

  • Arch pain.
  • Arthritis.
  • Blisters.
  • Bunions.
  • Corns.
  • Hammertoes.
  • Heel pain.
  • Knee pain.
  • Morton's neuroma.

For women to relieve the pain associated with inappropriate footwear, they must prioritize comfort, and avoid shoes that do not fit properly. Many women will have a hard time avoiding high heels completely, so part of the compromise can include alternating high-heeled shoes with flats and bringing comfortable shoes to wear in the workplace.

If you suffer from any foot conditions caused by improper footwear, visit your doctor for treatment.

Work Footwear

If your feet hurt at the end of a workday, you are certainly not alone. More than half of all Americans have developed a foot condition on the job. Workplace foot injuries can be caused by everything from continuous standing to overexertion. The best way to reduce your risk of developing foot injuries on the job is to wear appropriate footwear.

Work shoes come in varying shapes and materials. Though different occupations require different types of work shoes, it is just as important for a receptionist to wear well-fitting shoes as it is for a construction site worker. The key to preventing injury is to find a work shoe that provides comfort, support, and safety.

What to look for in work footwear

As a rule, all work footwear should have the following qualities:

  • The front of the shoes should allow for movement of the toes.
  • The shoes should be comfortable.
  • The shoes should grip the heel firmly.
  • The shoes should not pinch the ball of the feet.

Safety Issues

Buying safety footwear comes with its own set of unique requirements:

  • Construction and similar work environments: If you are working in an environment where there is a risk of falling objects, cuts, and punctures, invest in steel-toed boots that cover the full length of the toes. If necessary, you can add on foot guards, shin guards, and puncture-proof inserts.
  • Lab and industrial environments: If you are in a lab or industrial environment where there is a risk of chemical or solvent exposure, buy shoes with synthetic stitching made of rubber, plastic, or vinyl.

Boot soles have varying levels of traction and come in different thicknesses. Make sure to take into account the hazards of your workplace when choosing work boots.

Issues created by improper fit

Work shoes are often worn nonstop for anywhere from eight to 12 hours a day. When you spend that much time in a pair of shoes, it is essential that they fit well. Simply standing in poorly fitting shoes for that many consecutive hours can cause damage to the feet. If your job requires lifting or running, the risk of injury is even higher.

Work shoes that are too tight or narrow can lead to chronic foot and toe problems like:

  • Arch pain.
  • Bunions.
  • Corns and calluses.
  • Hammertoes.
  • Ingrown toenails.
  • Metatarsalgia.
  • Plantar fasciitis.

Work shoes should also breathe; when shoes are excessively airtight, there is a risk of fungal growth.

If you suffer from chronic foot pain due to your work shoes, visit a podiatrist for treatment.

If you are unsure whether your shoes are the cause of your foot pain, visit a skilled podiatrist to have your feet examined and your shoes evaluated.