I have a fairly neutral foot, slightly teetering on the edge of having a flatter foot (thanks Dad!) and my mom has SUPER high arches so when she tells me she found a shoe she loves, I know that I will most likely not find it comfortable at all and vice-versa. I know I’m not the only one with this problem-trust me, I hear it all day-but how can the SAME shoe feel so DIFFERENT?!

It’s all about the height of your arches! Most people have some idea of their arch height - there are those who proclaim to have the highest arches in all of the land, or the flattest pancake feet you have ever seen, and then the people in between who have no clue.  You’re probably trying to identify who you are at this point, but don’t overthink it. We’re not trying to do rocket science, we’re trying to pick out shoes.  If you’ve sorta figured out what your arches are like, let’s move on. If you’re totally lost, now’s the perfect time to call and make an appointment with me so I can tell you!

High Arch

This is the most uncommon foot type, so when a patient comes in with high arches it’s like a unicorn sighting (this is my life people…I get excited over high arches). Typically, they are bad at absorbing shock, so they walk REALLY loud (aka chandelier shaker). They also put too much pressure on the outside edges of their feet so they are more prone to lateral ankle sprains and tendinitis.

Shoe Recommendation – Cushion, cushion, cushion! Shoes with a nice heel cushion will help to absorb the extra shock your feet are not so good at doing on their own.  Also, if you find yourself with pain on the outside foot and ankle look for a shoe that has LATERAL heel support.

Medium Arch

Most individuals fall into this category, but they usually have a medium-high or medium-low arch; the most important thing to remember is to change your shoes often. Replacing shoes before they become excessively worn can prevent injury and save you a trip to our office.

Shoe Recommendation – If you fall into the medium-high category then opt for a neutral cushion shoe, if you’re a medium-low then a little stability in your shoe will help to give you some extra support.

Low Arch

Our most common patient! Low arches are typically very flexible and take on as much of the ground reaction forces from walking without sharing any of the load with the rest of the body, consequently their feet are more prone to tendinitis, bony deformities like bunions and hammertoes, and other musculoskeletal conditions.

Shoe Recommendation – Support is your friend! Keywords you will want to focus on while shoe shopping are “stability”, “motion control”, and “heel stabilizer”. It may seem tempting to buy shoes that have yoga mats on the inside of them, but often times those are minimalist style shoes and will land you an all-expenses-paid trip to our office! (I’m just kidding, your insurance will need to pay)

Shoes should be comfortable when you buy them, so the most important tip I can give you is IF IT DOESN’T FEEL GOOD, DON’T BUY IT! We love talking to patients about their feet and their shoes (well, at least I do), so please come see us if you have other questions and want to learn more about your foot type.

Dr. Misty McNeill
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D.P.M. - Founder of Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic