As you may have already guessed, since you’re reading this post on my Elmhurst podiatry practice page, I take foot health seriously. But I also understand the importance of rocking the latest, cutest pair of shoes. For daily wear, like to go to work or to run errands, I typically recommend that my patients wear tried-and-true brands like Born, Earth Origins, Clarks, Merrels, Aravon, Danskos, or Alegria. All provide you with a decently attractive, well-constructed, supportive shoe style.
What makes these shoes ideal for all day wear? They are designed with support in mind. Good fit is almost guaranteed, since the shoe's design mimics the natural shape of men's and women's feet. And good fit means less blisters and more support both of which translate to all-day happy feet. But that's not all: the padding on most of these styles makes for maximum shock support, meaning they absorb much of the beating you put your feet through over the course of a long day. And, if all that weren't enough, these shoes come with soles that grip, meaning you are less likely to slip and sustain an injury like strained or sprained foot or ankle.
So, that's why I push sensible shoes for all day, every day, use. Still, I know that many of you are longing for something a little more on-trend. Never fear! There is a time and place for slipping on more fashionable shoe styles, even if their construction isn’t a podiatrist’s dream. Want to know more? Simply read on for my guide to safely wearing fall’s most in-demand shoe styles.
2019’s Trendy Shoes – Wear with Caution
Here is some good news. Many of the styles you’ll want to wear this season aren’t terrible for your feet, even if you can’t go out and run a marathon in them (or even wear them for a full day on your feet.) Let’s take a look at a few different trends, and I’ll share my recommendations for when you should—and shouldn’t—slip them on.
This adorable shoe brand claims to have on their soles, providing traction and shock absorption that’s far superior to traditional ballet flats. The back of the shoe is well padded, instead of being elasticized, which means this shoe is less likely to rub against your heels and cause blisters. But—and this is a big but—the shoes are designed to fold in half, so they can easily fit into your handbag. Sure, that’s great for convenience, but the extreme flexibility likely means the shoes aren’t so well constructed. My advice? These are great for short strolls or a quick trip to the mall. They’re even fine for work, if you’ll be sitting most of the day and just taking quick walking breaks. But if you plan to be on your feet most of the day, choose a different pair from your shoe closet.
In terms of style, I have to admit, Allbirds are not my favorite look. I'm not sure if it's the fabric, the colors, or the extra-wide opening, but they simply aren't my style jam. Still, they are soft and cushioned, and made from trees to provide extra breathability for your feet, a fact that can help prevent sweating (and foot fungus), especially when wearing the shoes without the benefit of socks. Simply in terms of construction, Allbirds offer more support than Tieks, but they are floppy and offer little support for your upper foot so, once again, I’d limit the amount of walking you attempt in this style of shoe.
Here is what I absolutely love about Rothy’s flats. They are very cute, coming in a wide range of styles and colors, and they are totally sustainable. That's because Rothy's shoes are made from recycled water bottles that would otherwise have taken up space in our overflowing landfills--a project I think we can all get behind. So, they feel good in your heart, and they feel good on your feet, because they are knit (plus, the 3D knitting process produces less waste and a sock-like feeling). Even so, I don’t want that initial comfort you feel to fool you. These flats provide your feet with zero support, which also means no shock absorption, so any period of extended wearing will leave your feet sore and tired. Wear for limited periods if you want to buy into this admittedly compelling brand.
This is a pair of shoes that is both on trend and great for walking, even if you have to spend all day on your feet! What differentiates these ballet flats from the other styles and brands I've discussed in this post? First, each pair of Wolk's comes with a built-in footbed, constructed from a mix of wood cork and memory foam to cushion and support your feet while you walk. Additionally, even the ballerina flats aren't truly flat--in fact, they are designed with a small, wedged heel to improve the shoe's arch support, something that is missing from nearly every other pair of ballet flats ever made. And, perhaps best of all, the shoe beds are al removable. That means you can replace a worn out shoe bed to keep the shoes supportive, even after years of wear. Or, if your podiatrist had recommended wearing custom orthotics for additional support, to correct a physical imbalance, or to help with conditions like heel pain or flat feet, you can simply remove the Wolky footbed and slip in your own supports.
As with any pair of shoes whose style you admire, you have to think about what you’ll be doing all day before you slip into any of the styles I’ve highlighted today. If you will be standing or walking around for most of the day, you’ll need to choose pairs with more support, like an athletic shoe or like the Wolky styles. But if you’re out for dinner or a movie, feel free to show off your fashionable fall flats, safe in the knowledge that they are still more comfortable than a pair of sky-high heels!