Comfort & Foot Health

The Importance of Proper Footwear in the Summer

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Summer is the perfect time to kick off your socks and shoes and just let your feet be free.  After a long, cold winter (especially here in Minnesota anyway), kicking off boots or closed toe shoes and slipping into a nice pair of sandals, seems like a little slice of heaven.  For some of us though, this can be kind of tricky.  As much as I would love to go barefoot all summer like I did when I was a kid, my feet (wide, with high arches) require more support in order to stay pain free.

 

Are you like me and love flip flops, but notice that your heel hurts when you wear them? Do you need extra support, but not sure what to look for in a sandal?  Dr. Langer from Twin Cities Orthopedics offers sound advice when it comes to choosing summer footwear.

“Summer is great because it gives us many more footwear options than the colder seasons do. It is healthy to allow our feet a reprieve from the confinement of conventional footwear.  Light weight shoes and sandals allow for better air movement around the skin of our feet and tend to allow the feet to spread out and function more naturally than conventional shoes. Many people with wide feet, bunions or hammertoes, find relief when they can wear sandals or less restrictive footwear.  Conversely, some people, especially those who wear orthotics benefit from more structured/stable shoes, may be more prone to foot problems if they wear less supportive footwear.  Fortunely, there are a great variety of summer footwear options to address almost any foot need.

 
First of all, I would like to state that I  am not a flip flop “basher” as some in the medical community are. Wearing flip flops does not automatically doom someone to injury.  I advise my patients that if they are prone to foot pain or falls, then they probably would be at higher risk of injury in flip flops than the average person.  But, if they do not have foot issues then they may wear flip flops as much as they find comfortable. Personally, I think it is healthy to wear a variety of shoes, so that our your feet are not subjected to the same stresses step after step, day after day.  Each person has to find out what their personal limit is for each type of footwear.
 
A nice trend of the last few years has been that there are more and more sandal options, many of which have supportive footbeds, built in metatarsal pads and even forefoot rockers.  These better quality sandals are much more durable and stable than flip flops and some of them can be an important part of protecting the feet for those who may be prone to foot pain.  Sandals with increased arch support often work well for those prone to heel or arch pain.  Those who may experience metatarsalgia may benefit from metatarsal pads or domes built into the forefoot.  In addition, some sandals have a small forefoot rocker which can relieve some of the stress on arthritic joints like the great toe joint or mid foot joints. 
 

As with shoes, a skilled shoe fitter cannot predict which sandal would be most comfortable for a given individual, but there are great options available to address many of the most common foot conditions.”

Dr. Langer

Paul R. Langer, DPM of Twin Cities Orthopedics is a board certified podiatrist who specializes in sports medicine, foot disorders, biomechanics, surgery and diabetic foot care. He has lectured at and served on the medical staff of international athletic events including the Boston Marathon and China’s Gobi March. He is a clinical advisor for the American Running Association, and an associate of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He is the author of Great Feet for Life: Footcare and Footwear for Healthy Aging and has contributed to three other medical texts.

 

Dr. Langer is an avid runner and triathlete and has completed more than 25 marathons and an Ironman triathlon.  

 ***  If you would like to talk sandals with us, stop in at any of our store locations.  We have Board Certified Pedorthists and Shoe Fit Experts that will help you pick out sandals that are right for your lifestyle and your feet.

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