Often we are asked about what kind of shoe we recommend here at Balance Chiropractic, and our answer is always: “It depends.”
Whether you are an athlete or not, your choice in footwear is an important one. You’ll want to wear different shoes depending on the activity. For example, road racing, trail running, strength training at the gym and nights out on the town will all require a different ideal pair of shoes. Bearing no structural issues in the foot, our GENERAL recommendations for everyday footwear include:
Wide Toe Box – Our feet bones and (specifically) toes are meant to move for increasing surface area, balance and grip. When we stuff our toes into a shoe with a small width, we may lose proprioceptive (spatial awareness) input, and therefore balance and stability.
Low Heel – The higher the heel the more our ankles, knees, hips and (most importantly) our spines are stressed. As seen in the picture to the left, with high heels the normal biomechanics of the entire body are altered and abnormal. This may increase wear, tear and degeneration along any of the aforementioned body areas. Because of this, we recommend a heel drop of 4mm or less.
Snug – The heel and top of the mid foot portion of shoes should be snug and secure feeling. We discourage the presence of too much pressure or tightness.
Length – Feet may swell with lots of walking and activity, so make sure that there is a thumb widths distance between your toe and the end of the shoe. Make sure the thumb widths distance is measured when standing, as your feet move and elongate with downward pressure.
Sandals vs. Flip Flops – Thong sandals, also known as Flip Flops, are the WORST type of shoe for the feet. When wearing thong sandals, we overuse muscles in the foot that may play a factor in shin splints and bunion formation. If showing off your cute new pedicure is a must, we recommend footwear that anchors your foot via the toes, midfoot and heel.
As a Foundational Chiropractic office, we understand the importance of proper body mechanics and structural alignment. When it comes to shoes it can make all the difference and choosing the correct shoe for the occasion can allow for more fun and longevity in whatever it is you decide to do!
We are NOT saying that wearing high heels or tight and narrow shoes is the worst thing you can do, but with these choices, we believe it’s your responsibility to perform maintenance to keep your musculature and structural system stable. As we’ve stated before, there is a unique shoe requirement for every adventure. But for daily activities, a pair that’s versatile and allows for normal biomechanical foot motion is ideal.
Make sure to check out our in-office workshops focused on lacrosse ball massage and foam rolling self-maintenance tips that can keep you feeling good even if proper shoes aren’t the highest thing on your priority list.