How shoes contribute to your head-to-toe health
BY ANISSA STAMBOULI
A person’s confidence is reflected in the way that they carry themselves. Matching shoes to a style of life is very important, but so is matching shoes to a pair of feet. Whether you’re athletic, chic, or casual, having the proper shoe can make all the difference in your physical well-being and performance.
“Get your shoe measured properly by an expert. We spend so much time in our shoes that the wrong fit will kill your day,” wrote To Take the Train blogger Cooper Samuels. As it turns out, there is a lot more to shoe shopping than most people know about.
For joggers and athletes, the Running Room is a great place to have your feet evaluated. By observing the way you walk and the arch of your feet, Running Room experts can find the perfect shoe to make you move with less effort and more comfort. You won’t need to “break-in” your purchase, and you’ll feel your quality of running improve in the next jog you embark on.
[pullquote]Whether you have a rigid or flexible foot, a low or high arch, or are flat-footed, makes a difference as to what will best suit you.
–The Running Room[/pullquote]
“Whether you have a rigid or flexible foot, a low or high arch, or are flat-footed, makes a difference as to what will best suit you,” the Running Room informs on their website.
Normally while walking, the foot will flatten when it hits the ground and roll inward to manage shock impact. For individuals whose feet don’t roll in enough, more cushioning —“a flexible forefoot and no motion control features”—may be required. Those whose feet role inward too much require motion control—“a firm midsole with a sturdy heel counter.” For those in-between individuals whose feet don’t role an excessive amount in either direction, stability is the most helpful.
In order to assess which one of the three—cushioning, motion control, or stability—is best for you, observe where your shoes tend to wear out on the bottom. To improve your posture and overall physical well-being, as well as prevent injury, you want to make sure that your body is aligned properly by shoes that support the right areas.
When it comes to high-heels, the shoes in your wardrobe should bring out the best in your posture, not cripple the way you walk. Despite their glamour, high-heels can take a toll on your feet and cause severe back-pain as well.
But if you’re set on the elongated look and dazzling effect of heels, know the perfect style to shop for and view a splurge on good-quality shoes as an investment, not a headache. Look classy without killing your feet and calves by seeking out:
- Good padding: In heels, more than eighty percent of your body weight is placed on the balls of your feet. Cushioning this area will absorb excessive pressure and help to reduce soreness.
- Strong heels: The thicker the heel, the easier it will be to walk in. Thin heels tend to make the angles wobble, as they require more support.
- Shape: When next shopping for heels, ask the sales representative for a shoe with proper lift, shock absorbers and arch support. Brand names like Aersoles and Clarks can be trusted, though the quality does come at a price. If you’re dead set on killer looking stilettos, shop for insoles to insert.
Also, remember that walking in heels does not come naturally. To transition smoothly from flats to heels, exercise your calf muscles (try one to two sets of POP Pilates: Slimmer Inner Thighs & Runner’s Calves, a ten minute workout!) which can make all the difference. You’ll have the strength to stand tall and avoid those shaky ankles!
You can pull your shoulders back to open your upper body, and slightly roll your pelvis upward by engaging your midsection—also known as your “core” or abdominals—to support your back and posture while walking. In addition model Moe Kelso suggested, in an interview with Best Health Magazine, to “step forward and land lightly on your heel, as if you’re putting your heel and toes down at the same time.”
As long as you keep these tips in mind, don’t hesitate to pull out those sexy sky-highs. Find your soul-mate running shoes and sign up for that marathon you’ve been eyeing. Take the time to seek out and invest in the proper shoes—it will do wonders for your posture, style of walking and general physical quality.
Photo Credits: iStock (top), Buena Vista Images (bottom)