We’ve all heard warnings about dangerous stilettos but your comfortable flats may just be more dangerous than heels. When you are wearing heels that may lead to injury, there are usually tell tale signs like pain, instability and general misery. Dangerous flats on the other hand may feel completely comfortable with you experiencing no symptoms at all - until its too late. You may not notice any symptoms until the following morning or sometimes until you’ve been wearing them consistently for months. The effects of the wrong flats shoes may present themselves as foot or heel pain when waking up in the morning, sore ankles, a seemingly out of the blue knee injury, hip aches and/or lower back pain. And sometimes you may not have pain but after years of wearing the wrong shoes notice that your feet actually become disfigured by bunions and hammer toes.
The reason so many women suffer from the consequences of unsupportive flat shoes is that most of us are over-pronators which means we roll in too much when we walk. Genetics can predispose you to this gait but even things like too much time spent sitting, weight gain and an imbalance in muscular strength can cause over-pronation. When you over-pronate you put a lot of stress on your plantar fascia [the connective tissue that provides shock absorption at the bottom of your foot] leading to disorders like plantar fasciitis. This can also accelerate the formation of bunions, lead to osteoarthritis in your toes, knees and hips and cause pain inducing inflammation in your feet.
These changes can take some time to happen which is why most women who wear seemingly comfortable flats don’t realize they aren’t healthy until its too late. There are however some things you can look out for in flats to make sure that they are not only comfortable and cute, but also good for you.
The twist test - Generally if you are able to easily twist shoes like a wash cloth or fold them in half, they lack the support you need - especially if you are an over-pronator.
Insole - A completely flat insole can lead to problems even if they are cushioned. You want a flat that that has some level of arch support so that there isn’t too much strain on your fascia.
Heel - That’s right! You actually want a bit of a heel on your flat shoe. I recommend an approximately half inch heel in order to accommodate for slightly shortened calves that most of us have thanks to too much time spent sitting.
Material - Our feet can fluctuate up to a full size within a day so shoes made out of a natural material like leather that can expand with our feet while still providing enough support is essential.
Sole - A slippery sole can make for extra work for the muscles in your feet and stabilizing glute muscles.. Choosing a flat that has a little bit of a grip [like rubber] will make walking easier and your feet will thank you.
And naturally the dr. Liza flat passes all 5 tests!