There are thousands of options when it comes to shoes! The shoewear industry is a billion-dollar business, and it's not hard to imagine why. We all wear shoes, most of us owning many different pairs of shoes.
Any podiatrist or athletic trainer will tell you that the shoes you choose make a huge difference for your feet. Wearing comfortable, supportive, stable shoes during your day-to-day life now will help existing pain and prevent heel pain in the future. Today, we'll discuss how to choose a good shoe for you. We'll also share a list of our top ten favorite supportive shoes to prevent heel pain and keep your feet happy!
How to Pick a Good, Supportive Shoe
First off, you should know your shoe size. Most shoe stores can check your size, and we encourage you to be re-checked after any significant weight gain or loss, as this can cause a change in foot size. While knowing your shoe size is essential, the shoe's fit is what matters. You might wear a men's 9.5 in one brand and a size 8 in another. The fit is what is important, not necessarily the size.
There are three qualities to look for when purchasing new shoes.
1. Stable Heel Counter
The heel counter refers to the part of the shoe that supports your heel. This part of the shoe should be stable, not too rigid, but not too flexible. In the picture above, I demonstrate checking for a sturdy heel counter. Gently press the back of the shoe to check its stability.
2. Difficult to Twist
You should not be able to "wring out" your shoes. Hold the shoe as pictured above, with one hand on the back of the sole and the other at the toe-box. Gently twist your hands at the wrist away from each other to test the twist in the sole. A good shoe will have a little give, but not too much.
3. Bend at the Toe
A stable shoe should bend slightly where the toes bend but not in the shoe's middle where the arch is. The flex at the toe-box allows comfortable movement of the toes. Too much flex in the midfoot can cause instability.
What Shoes Should I Wear?
Choosing comfortable, stylish, and supportive shoes is not easy, but you will be glad you did. Shoe stores and online shops carry hundreds of brands and styles. We've compiled a list of some of our favorites to make things easier.
For Exercise, Walking, and Running
Brooks and New Balance are our top choices for great sneakers. Whether you are training for a race or just going for your nightly stroll through the neighborhood, these styles offer comfort and support:
- Brooks' Addiction
- Brooks' Adrenaline - Dr. Dailey wears his Brooks Adrenaline sneakers almost every day in the clinic and on his runs!
- Brooks' Ariel
- Brooks' Beast
- New Balance 990
- New Balance 1012
- New Balance 1260
- New Balance 1540
Hiking is physically demanding and an adventure we can help you enjoy with ease. While you may not always sprint up and down the trails, hikes are typically longer with more mileage than an average run. Be sure to keep an eye on the treads of your hiking shoes to avoid decreased traction.
For the hikers out there, Hoka and Merrel are two brands well-suited for rough, uneven terrain and long trails.
- Hoka's Tor Ultra Hi
- Hoka's Tor Summit
- Merrel's Chameleon Refuge
If you are an avid hiker, we recommend combining a proper hiking shoe or boot with the advanced technology of our custom orthotics. These custom inserts are another effective way to prevent heel pain from taking you off the trails. Keep your feet supported on long hikes or even longer backpacking trips; you can hike and reach your next goal with comfort.
Dress Shoes for Men and Women
Years of high heel wearing can lead to severe foot and ankle problems and significant pain. Men wearing stiff, narrow, non-breathable dress shoes can lead to smelly, pinched, or blistered feet and heels.
Brands like Rockport and Dansko make dress shoes for all genders, styles, and sizes. You are sure to find a comfortable and fashionable shoe that fits your feet and your style! It is always best to try on shoes before buying them, especially dress shoes with dress socks. They may fit differently with an everyday sock on. For those who wear high heels, keep in mind the higher the heel is, the more strain you are putting on your ankles.
For the Warmer Months
Even here in snowy Michigan, we all enjoy the few months of the year deemed warm enough for sandals. As far as good, supportive sandals are concerned, Birkenstock might as well be considered a household name, and for a good reason! They provide excellent support to the feet and are made with sturdy construction. This is an office favorite! Vionic is another brand to check out when shopping for sandals, offering a wide variety of options. Style and comfort meet to support the foot and set you up for happy, healthy feet!
If you are hesitant to put your toenails on display due to discoloration or fungus, click here to learn more about how we can help you confidently sport your stylish sandals.
Prevent Heel Pain With Professional Care
Do you love leading an active lifestyle? To keep your feet happy and healthy, make an appointment today and find out all the other ways you can be kind to your feet, prevent heel pain, and continue being able to do the activities you enjoy. Feel free to call us at (989) 695-6788 or fill out our handy online contact form! Our friendly team of knowledgeable staff is ready to help you meet your goals and get you on track for less pain and more fun!