Have you ever wondered how to keep up with the latest shoe trends while building a collection that is versatile and comfortable enough for all the different activities you do, while not breaking your budget completely? Many women struggle to limit their collection only to essential shoes that are fashionable, but not painful to wear.
The shoes that every woman should own include athletic shoes, sandals, ankle boots, Oxfords, sneakers, wedge heels and supportive flip flops. These shoes are versatile enough to be comfortable for a wide variety of activities, and they are not harmful for your feet.
For an overview of the essential elements of a good shoe, which shoes to avoid, the types of shoes that you should add to your closet and tips for making your shoes last as long as possible, keep reading.
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What to Look for in a Shoe
For every woman adding a new shoe to her collection, it is important to make sure that each one has several key aspects:
- They should have a wide toe box.
- The sole should be firm, yet well-cushioned and provide adequate shock absorption.
- They should possess strong arch support.
- They should not encourage or force poor alignment.
- They should be versatile, so that you can use a few pairs of shoes for many different occasions.
Shoes to Avoid
Several types of shoes are especially bad for your feet:
Although many women already know that high heels are bad for your feet, it can be difficult to break away from the iconic shoe of allure, status and power. However, heels that are higher than two inches actually alter the alignment of your body and place a large amount of stress on areas such as your hips, legs and back. If you wear high heels often, your Achilles tendon will tighten and eventually shorten, which will cause it to be painful to wear flat shoes or walk barefoot.
High heels might make your feet look beautiful on the outside, but they will also cause calluses from the extra pressure on the ball of your foot while walking.
Most Ballet Flats
Unless you have a rare pair of ballet flats with added arch support and a wide toe box, ballet flats can be one of the worst kinds of shoe for your feet. Most styles of ballet flats offer no support for your arches, and the narrow toe box forces your toes into unnatural positions. Wearing ballet flats to work and during long periods of the day is the cause of hammer toes and plantar fasciitis for many women.
Shoes with Pointed Toes
Shoes that cramp your toes will cause a great deal of pain over time. These foot problems include bunions and hammer toes. Bunions are lumps on the big toe joint, and hammer toes are caused when a toe is placed in an awkward position for too long, forcing it to contract and eventually curl in order to touch the ground.
Thin, Flexible Shoes
If your shoes can easily be bent in half, they do not provide enough support for your arches, which leads to plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Overstretching your Achilles tendon also can cause bone spurs.
According to a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults by the American Podiatric Medical Association, the shoes that cause the most pain among wearers are:
If any of the shoes you own are causing blisters, ingrown toenails or aches in your hips, legs or back, that is a sign that your shoes are not good for your feet, as these ailments indicate your shoes are too narrow or are causing poor alignment.
Unfortunately, OnePoll conducted a study of 3,000 women in three countries that showed many women are willing to wear painful shoes because they are deemed essential style items.
Shoes That Are Both Stylish and Good for You
The most essential shoe for every woman is an athletic shoe, as it is crucial to have a comfortable and supportive shoe for walking, running, hiking and even running errands. Running shoes are one of the best shoes for your feet because they are wide enough for everyone, they give excellent arch support and they reduce the impact on your feet, which is perfect for people with plantar fasciitis.
A good pair of sandals can be excellent shoes for summer. Although there are many sandals that are too flat and uncomfortable, with the right material and enough arch support, sandals can be good for your feet. Look for sandals with a shock-absorbent material in the sole, a soft strap and a wide toe box.
Ankle boots are highly versatile and can be worn to work or on a night out. They are a much healthier alternative to high heels, especially for women with wide feet or hammer toes, as they usually have a rounded toe box and more room for your toes to spread properly. They are also stable and supportive of your arches.
Oxfords are not only in style right now, but they are a great shoe option for work if you do not like ankle boots, or you simply want to mix things up. Most Oxfords have padded footbeds with good support and a wide heel. However, if you have wide feet, be sure to get a pair with adequate room in the toe box.
Stylish sneakers that come in brands such as Converse go with a wide variety of outfits, making them an essential shoe to own. White sneakers such as Keds can be both casual and dressy.
Sneakers are well-suited for women who struggle with bunions or hammer toes, as sneakers will not put extra strain on the toes. Some sneakers have good arch support, so they are an ideal shoe choice for people with high arches or plantar fasciitis. However, sneakers from Converse or Keds tend to be narrow, so they are not the best brands for women with wide feet.
If you are too attached to high heels to give them up, a wedge heel is much better for your foot than stilettos because it is more stable and supportive. To protect your feet, wedge heels should be no higher than 1.5 inches, according to podiatrist Jocelyn Curry at Piedmont Healthcare. Buy a pair of wedges for a night out, and your feet will thank you.
In general, flip flops are not the best shoes for your feet, and they should not be worn for long periods of time, but they are also the most useful shoes to have on the beach. When you buy flip flops, make sure to buy a pair with adequate arch support and a top that will not put extra strain on your toes and increase the risk of hammer toe, such as thong flip flops.
How to Make Your Shoes (and Feet) Last the Longest
One of the reasons it is beneficial to have several pairs of shoes is so that you can wear different shoes throughout the week. If you wear the same pair of shoes for more than five consecutive days, you will wear them out much more quickly and overuse a muscle group or set of joints in your feet or legs.
If you know you will be walking or spending a long time on your feet, opt for athletic shoes or dressy sneakers, depending on the occasion.
Lastly, even once you find the perfect pair of shoes that is stylish and comfortable for your feet, you will have to let go of it eventually. When the sole starts to break down, the shoes must be replaced as they will start to cause pain in your feet.
A Word from Love at First Fit
Choosing shoes that are stylish, yet comfortable and versatile enough for many different situations can be a difficult task, but it is entirely possible. To build a collection of shoes that is affordable and good for your feet, select shoes that can be both dressy and casual. Most of all, be kind to your feet by buying shoes with good arch support, a wide toe box and adequate cushioning.
The shoes every woman should own are versatile and comfortable, so that each woman feels confident and powerful enough to take on the world.