Despite the fact that most of us will have spent more time in our flats and/or trainers than ever before, due to the working from home revolution, the Christmas parties and events we’re set to attend will undoubtedly see many women dust off their high heels.
They’re not the easiest things to walk in, particularly if you’re out of practice. Luckily, it’s much more acceptable to wear flat shoes or trainers to parties and events nowadays. There are some wonderfully stylish designer flats out there for women and sparkly trainers that would make a three-year-old squeal with delight.
As well as feeling unbalanced due to their height, high heels can force your feet forwards, which puts more strain on your toes and pushes them into unnatural positions. Prolonged wearing of heels can see bunions form, where the bone and/or cartilage forms a bump aside the joint of your big toe. It’s also easy to sprain an ankle if you lose your balance/topple over on your heels.
It may sound as if we’re calling heels the footwear of the devil. However, it’s not necessarily much better to live in flat shoes either.
Your feet need some support under the arch, which makes well-fitting shoes with a small heel (think: Brogue-style shoes) a good design for healthy feet. If you live in ballerina-style flats, which typically have very thin soles and no heels, you may be at risk of developing plantar fasciitis. The continual wearing of flats stretches your feet unnaturally and can result in the arch of your foot ‘dropping’. When this happens, the ligaments and tendons in your feet are further stretched, which can cause pain, particularly at night.
You can buy decent flat shoes that have a small heel, and which provide support for your arches. They will actually feel more comfy than truly flat, ballerina-style shoes, and will be much better for your feet and posture over the long-term. Consider also, without any support from your shoes, your knees, hips and back take more impact from your movements.
Trainers typically come with plenty of cushioning inside the shoe and a decent flexible sole on the underside. However, though they’re infinitely comfier to wear than many other kinds of footwear, it’s not a good idea to wear these continually either.
Trainers are made of textiles that are soft and springy. Imagine strapping cushions to your feet…they would no doubt be comfortable to walk on, but they won’t support the whole of your feet. In trainers, your feet have the space to spread, but nothing of any strength to pull them back in as you flex and bend them as you walk, like ‘proper’ shoes would. Over time, this can cause your feet to effectively ‘flatten’; as above, this stretches your ligaments unnaturally and can cause pain. Trainers may be good at absorbing shock, but they don’t actually provide much support to your whole foot, which is what they need. It’s therefore common for runners and athletes to experience feet problems as they age, for this reason.
The moral of the story is: any style of shoe is fine to wear…in moderation. Whether you opt to dress up your Christmas party outfit with heels or dress down your look with some striking trainers, go for it. Just be wary of the consequences that come from wearing one type of footwear all the time, if it’s a style or design that doesn’t offer the right kind of support for your feet.
Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the festive period, from all of us at Treat Your Feet.