The Worst Shoes for Your Feet

October 13, 2017 in STSMPT

Foot pain is a very common problem for adults. In fact, according to recent statistics from the American Podiatric Medical Association, 77% of us have reported experiencing foot pain. Foot pain makes it harder to move and live out daily life. Below you will find popular recommendations for what shoes to avoid if you have foot pain or arthritis.

• High heel shoes. Defined as having heels of more than two inches, high heels put a lot of pressure and strain on the feet, hips, and back. According to the American Osteopathic Association, excessive wearing of high heels can cause the Achilles tendon to shorten.

• Pointed-toe shoes. This type of shoe scrunches the toes together in an unnatural position which can cause damage. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, this can cause hammertoe to develop. Hammertoe requires medical intervention to fix.

• Flip flops. The Arthritis Foundation does not recommend flip flops as most provide little support. This lack of support can cause foot and knee problems. A good test for flip flops is to see how easily you can bend and twist them. If you can manipulate them easily, they don’t have enough support for your feet.

• Flats. Flats present a similar problem and have the same recommendation from the Arthritis Foundation. If you can easily bend and twist your flats, you may want to consider shopping for a pair that is firmer and provides more support.

• Foot gloves. These are those shoes that are feet shaped. The scientific research on these shoes is mixed. Some studies have found them to be relatively safe and others have found that they can cause harm. For example, a 2014 study found that these shoes put much more pressure on the Achilles tendon (Sinclair J). If you wear these often and have foot pain, it might be best to switch out for a while to see if that is the cause.

Most of the above shoes are fine to wear in moderation. However, the excess wearing of these kinds of shoes can cause major problems down the road. If you are experiencing foot pain, schedule a consultation with us. We can get to the root of your issues and develop a plan to reduce and repair your foot damage.


Sinclair J. “Effects of Barefoot and Barefoot Inspired Footwear on Knee and Ankle Loading During Running”. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2014 Apr;29(4):395-9.

doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Feb 23. PubMed PMID: 24636307.

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