Milwaukee Podiatrist, Dr. Lucy Meier put this page together to help you learn more about choosing the right shoes for the overall health of your feet. She is one of the podiatrists at Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists. On this page, Dr. Lucy reviews popular shoe trends and gives you helpful hints to have style while staying comfortable.
Trend # 1: Chunky Heels
If you are going for a heel, make it chunky. Broad heels and wedges are a popular style, which is good news for your feet. The more area of the shoe sole contacts the ground, the more evenly your weight will be distributed across your foot. Though we all love stilettos, indulge in this trend instead; your feet will thank you!
Trend #2: Platforms
The 70’s are calling and we asked them to stay! Broad, straight-lined platforms are back, though they can be tricky. Make sure you try these on in the store and do a few laps to gauge your level of comfort when walking in them. If they don’t have enough of a rocker built into the sole, you may look like a marching soldier trying to maneuver in them! Once again, the platform is a foot-friendly trend that evenly distributes weight across your foot.
Trend #3: Gladiator Sandals
Strappy and stringy, you can lace some pairs of these shoes all the way to your thigh! Typically a flat sandal with crisscrossing laces, these sandals may not be a go-to look for everyone. First, can we say tan lines? Also, multiple thin straps often irritate the skin, and the thin soles provide very little support. These are great for the runway, but I don’t recommend wearing them to Summerfest.
Trend #4: Comfort
Thick soles with broad straps and a cork midsole? Yes, please! Also referred to as the ugly sandal trend, these shoes put comfort first. The built-in arch support and shock absorption material make these shoes the everyday, all day kind of sandal.
Birkenstock: A new trend or a lasting favorite?
This brand was first introduced in the United States in the late sixties, but has been a popular brand in Germany since 1774. While on vacation, a woman suffering from foot pain found relief in a pair of shoes she bought in Germany. Amazed with the comfort of her new Birkenstocks, she lobbied for the brand at a variety of shoe stores in America. None of the shoe stores would agree to carry the sandals as they were convinced the sandals would never sell. Recognizing that most women suffered from foot pain due to shoe designs, she continued her quest and finally convinced a health food store to carry the brand. It didn’t take long for the brand to become the staple shoe of the American counter culture in the late sixties and early seventies.
Now, Birkenstocks can be found in almost every shoe store and have had cyclical fashion recognition. They have been featured on runways in every decade since by the most notable designers across the world. The designers of this popular sandal continue to modernize their designs without changing their signature of unwavering comfort.
Why I love this brand!
I bought my first pair of Birkenstocks when I was in high school. Suffering from flat feet, I was miserable while standing long hours at my summer job. I stumbled across what I considered an odd-looking sandal at Payless Shoes called Betula. Betula, a licensed brand by Birkenstock, has the same signature style but is made from more affordable materials, keeping the cost low. A week later, I rushed back to the store to buy a second pair in a different color. I was amazed. I could actually stand all day without my feet hurting. Almost twenty years later, I still have multiple pairs of Birkenstocks in my closet.
Why my patients love this brand!
Like me, many of my patients find this brand incredibly comfortable. The cork material slowly adapts to your foot, allowing for maximum comfort while maintaining stability and support. Though the brand does offer low-cost alternatives with lower quality material, the original is made of such high quality that the sandals last for years. The styles have been very consistent, and though the brand falls in and out of fashion, the sandals and clogs are always popular.
Who doesn’t love this brand?
There are some people who find Birkenstocks too supportive or have a hard time breaking in the foot bed. Much like the first time you wear an orthotic, the foot bed feels odd and can actually be uncomfortable the first time you wear them. There is a break-in period. People who are accustomed to soft shoes with a lot of cushion also have a hard time adjusting to the cork style.
Dr. Lucy Meier Discusses Rain Boots
In the spring as the snow melts, puddles and mud appear. While Milwaukee winters make us anxious to kick off our snow boots and jump into lighter footwear, our feet still need protection from the water accumulating in parking lots and driveways.
Rain boots are not just for rainy days. These are great boots to wear on many spring days, especially in early spring when the snow melts faster than the ground can thaw and standing water is everywhere. Rain boots can be very helpful to keep your feet dry, but they can also cause a lot of foot problems. Here’s how to shop for your spring shoe staple item: the rain boot.
One: Buy The Right Size
Rain boots are not made out of forgiving material, so if you’re not wearing the right size, you will get blisters and your feet will hurt. Make sure your toes aren’t rubbing against the top of the boot, especially if you have hammertoes.
Two: Always Wear Socks.
Rain boots are not made to breathe, so it’s normal for your feet to sweat. Moist skin rubbing against plastic or plastic-like material will wreak havoc. Protect yourself with socks and avoid 100% cotton as it will hold moisture against your skin. Try socks with less than 50% cotton to help wick away moisture.
Three: Don’t Wear Them All Day.
Rain boots are not built with much – if any – support. They are designed to keep feet dry, and comfort is often dismissed both by the manufacture and buyer. If you need to be in your rain boots for an extend period of time, make sure they fit properly, and if you can, try to use your orthotics with them. You may need to buy a size larger.
Watch Dr. Lucy Meier On The Morning Blend!
Can your shoes really give you a Kardashian butt?
Kim Kardashian doesn’t shy away from advertising her butt. Last year she was highlighted on a Super Bowl commercial for Sketcher’s Shape-Up Shoes. These shoes, among a number of other brands including Dockers Active Balance, New Balance True Balance, and Reebok EasyTone claim they can help tone your legs and bottom, improve posture, and reduce joint stress.
The basis for these claims is that an unstable shoe, made unstable with wobbling balls on the sole, odd-shaped soles, or extra squishy material, force you to use more leg muscles to maintain posture and control. This may be true. New studies coupled with old studies demonstrate greater muscle activations with these shoes compared to traditional motion control athletic shoes. However, it’s only a glimmer of hope because these studies had small sample sizes and studies that looked at long-term use found no significant benefits. Most studies examining these shoes have had very ambiguous results. Not only do these shoes lack big results, but they also carry the risk of injury. Achilles tendonitis and even ankle sprains have been reported.
New research on shoes is expanding our knowledge on how shoes can influence athletic performance, but whether you can actually tone your butt without doing squats is still not proven. As easy as Kim Kardashian makes it look, it takes more than a new pair of shoes to be toned from the waist down.
Born Elissa Ankle Boot
Why my patients like this boot:
The Born brand has a solid following and they consistently make durable, comfortable shoes. They stay on pace with fashion trends but strive for comfort. This boot has a rubber sole that helps with shock absorption and a shank that maintains the stability of the shoe. The moderate heel allows for some height without putting too much pressure on the forefoot.
Who should NOT wear this boot:
There are few treads on the bottom of the shoe, thus making it slippery on wet surfaces. Though a moderate heel, 2 1/2 inches can put pressure and cause pain on a neuroma. The leather will allow for some stretching and it has a moderately wide toe box. Persons with moderate bunions or hammertoes will do okay in these shoes, but most people with bunions or big toe arthritis will still find these uncomfortable.
The Cocktail Heel
The Cocktail Heel
These heels are comfortable for a couple of hours: “The Two-Hour Shoe.” They typically feel great and you think you’re wearing the world’s only comfortable heel, but any extended period of standing starts to cause pain or soreness. These shoes typically are above two inches but can be any height depending on your foot. Don’t wear these shoes to weddings or funerals as you often stand for extended periods of time throughout such an event, and sitting may appear rude or disrespectful. Great for nights out at the theater or small social gatherings where there is more sitting involved and walking distances are relatively short.
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Have you ever run into your doctor at McDonald’s right after he or she told you to watch what you eat? It’s like running into your podiatrist in high heels after she scolded you for your poor shoe choices. Oops.
So, I have a confession to make. I make poor shoe choices from time to time. I call it my two-hour shoe collection. Two hours into wearing them, I wish I’d never bought them. I’ve had painful flat feet since I was a teen, so I’m always searching for comfy, cute shoes. In my pursuit of the perfect shoe, I come across a lot of beautiful footwear. Occasionally, my female brain overpowers my podiatry brain.
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Nurses have long shifts and are on their feet for hours at a time. On a daily basis, I hear nurses complaining of foot pain and comparing shoe advice for long hours of working on their feet.
There are a lot of shoes out there that advertise comfort, and reviews are often mixed. Shoes are not cheap and it is quite an investment when you’re not sure if you will love them after eight, ten, or twelve hours of running around on your long nursing shift.
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More Tips When Wearing Heels
- Choose low to moderate heel height
- Go with wedges or chunky heels over stilettos
- Look for cushy material and rubber-like soles for shock absorption
- Always search for shoes with a wide toe box
- Peep toe = pinched toes!
- Full coverage, Mary Jane, ankle straps, or lace-ups help to keep your shoes on
- Stretch your calf muscles after wearing any heels
- Always search for heels with arch support
- Beware of flats!
Below are some videos about shoes and the overall health of your feet:
What are you waiting for? Call 414.257.0676 today and make an appointment with a podiatrist who can guide you to your best possible shoe choices. We offer same day appointments as well as a $25 Initial Savings Certificate that you can use at your first visit with us.
Experience, expertise, and exceptional care. That’s the Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists guarantee!
While our Wisconsin podiatry offices are conveniently located in Wauwatosa, New Berlin, Mequon, and Oak Creek, WI, we offer podiatry services to patients in and around Milwaukee including Franklin, Brookfield, Fox Point, Hales Corner, Waukesha, West Allis, Menomonee Falls, and South Milwaukee.