Whether you're in pain, recovering from an injury or simply someone looking to maintain and prolong an active lifestyle, your choice in footwear can make all the difference.
There are a few common features of what makes a good shoe - BUT- this isn't a black and white issue as different conditions and different activities may require a variation on these general guidelines.
The main features to test when choosing an everyday supportive shoe are:
1. The HEEL CUP - squeeze the heel cup or counter that sits at the back of the shoe. It should be strong and deep enough to accommodate an orthotic if required.
2. The WIDTH of the SOLE - soles that are narrower than the upper of the shoe - or narrower than the width of your foot - do not make for a stable base. Think of the sole like a house foundation. It needs to be as wide as the house to provide adequate support - especially in the arch area if you are injured.
3. Does it have a SHANK or CARBON PLATE ? - The shoe should NOT flex in the middle or arch of the shoe. If the shoe bends here, it can increase the stress on the middle of the foot.
4. MIDSOLE DENSITY - this is how hard the middle thicker part of the sole is. For most conditions it shouldn't be too soft. If you have problems with balance or are injured, the firmer the better is a good rule.
5. FOREFOOT FLEX - the shoe should bend easily where your toes bend. A small curve at the toe can also help roll-off.
Injured? Super charge your recovery with additional supportive features....
If you have had or are recovering from a foot &/or ankle problem, or need additional support to improve your function overall, you may benefit from shoes with specific features - which can vary depending on your condition.
Your podiatrist may recommend features different to these as a shoe is the quickest and simplest way to change the stress and strain on your feet. The right shoe can be a great medicine and the wrong shoe a poison!