How many of us have squeezed our feet into uncomfortable shoes? We've all had a pair that inevitably pinched the toes, provided little support, made walking unsteady, dug into ankles or worse, rubbed until blisters appear. Maybe there's still a pair taunting you in a closet somewhere.
The truth is that it really doesn't matter how good they look, bad shoes do a number on the body. On a short-term basis, wearing uncomfortable shoes can affect posture, create inflammation (a negative response of the body) and lead to issues like corns and nail problems. On a long-term basis, uncomfortable shoes can contort feet, messing with bones and tendons that'll shift permanently out of place which may then lead to pain, arthritis and deformity, requiring surgery or special shoes whose ugliness won't offset even the most beautiful pair of shoes.
The negative effects of bad shoes affects people of every age. I'll never forget that time I saw a friend take off her pumps to reveal bunions (likely a hereditary issue that's worsened by bad shoes) at just 20 years old. It broke my heart a bit to see because bunions are difficult to remedy as the condition is progressive. We use our feet everyday to do things we take for granted. Be kind to your feet -- if you can avoid this problem, do it. No pair of shoes is worth a lifetime of pain.
If you have no choice but to wear uncomfortable footwear, minimize the pain by:
- Limiting time in them is a good start. There's zero shame in carrying a comfy pair in your bag to switch into.
- Shop smart by trying on new shoes after you've walked and done your thing for a full day. Your feet will be a bit larger than morning from all the activity and this will ensure your shoes will pinch less after a day on your feet.
- Stretch out shoes a touch before wearing them out.
- Pamper your tootsies when you're home. Exfoliate, massage, moisturize and care for them. Stretch and elevate them daily.
- Switch up your shoes regularly to ensure your feet are getting the proper space and support.
- Choose sneakers or any supportive shoe when walking long distances.
- Avoid cheap shoes. Generally, we get what we pay for. Cheap shoes often lack durable, high quality materials and construction. On the flip side, an expensive price tag doesn't guarantee a pair that'll be good for feet either.
- If you're feeling chronic or sharp pain, go to a foot doctor so you can get the problem treated asap. It may be something minor and easily correctable.