Dr. Kristin Woodward takes a look at sensible sandals.
When it comes to summer shoes it is important to mix it up and not wear one shoe type all day every day. Overuse injuries can occur from wearing one type of shoe too often. Many summer shoes for example some sandals, ballet flats, and flip flops lack arch support. This can lead to excessive strain on the plantar fascia and ultimately plantar fasciitis.
Flip flops are a summer favorite. However due to the lack of a supportive arch plantar fasciitis is a risk. We also tend to grip the shoe with our toes which can lead to tendinitis. It is important to limit use for trips to the pool or short errands. When picking out a flip flop look for one with a supportive arch and sturdy straps. Don't forget to put sunscreen on your feet.
Wedges are a nice option when looking for a slight high heal. Look for wedges that limit the height of the wedge to two inches. This will lesson the force placed on the ball of the foot. A platform option can help. A cork wedge places less force on the foot and joints compared to a wooden wedge. Look for a wedge with a wider toe box compared to a narrow one. This will add more stability to the shoe. An added ankle strap will also make the shoe more stable and decrease the chance of an ankle sprain.
Ballet flats seem like a great option for a comfortable summer shoe. However some ballet flats have a very thin flimsy sole. The lack of arch support can lead to plantar fasciitis when worn for long periods of time. Look for a ballet flat with a thicker sole and added arch support.
Gladiator style sandals add support to the ankle. It is important to make sure the straps aren't too tight. To test if the straps are too tight try to place two fingers under each strap. Try out the shoe at home for an hour or two just to make sure there are no areas that rub the foot or leg. Look for a pair of sandals that offer added arch support.
Wearing high heals places a great deal of stress on the ball of the foot. This can lead to inflammation of the metatarsal bones. Stress fractures can result from long term use of high heals. Ankle strains and sprains are also a risk. To lesson the risk look for heals that are no more than two inches in height. A wide toe box places less stress on the front of the foot. A platform style high can help lessen the forces placed on the foot. Reserve high heals for special occasions and short periods of time.
There are some sandals that can be worn for long walks and or all day use. Make sure the sandal has excellent arch support, heal support, and adjustable straps. People with poor circulation and diabetes should consult with their health care provider before choosing a sandal intended for long term use.