It’s important to consider what Spring and Summer shoe choices you’re making, because your choice in footwear can make a dramatic difference in how your whole body feels. Your shoe choices will either be setting you up for better health, or potentially can create more aches, pains, and increase your risk of injuries.
Ahhhh Spring…. flowers are blooming, the grass is turning green, and it’s the time for new beginnings! Which usually inspires a lot of us to start Spring cleaning around the house. Perhaps it’s time to evaluate what shoes you’re wearing to decide if they are helping or hurting your feet.
- Is it time to retire your old tennies, and get a new pair of shoes that have better arch support?
- Are you gearing up, and getting ready to wear more flip-flops, and sexy sandals?
Here are a few thoughts to consider as you start making your Spring and Summer shoe choices:
- Make Good Shoe Choices, and Be Picky with What You Wear on Your Feet.
Be sure EVERY shoe you chose to wear is comfortable. Your shoes need to provide enough space for your toes, and support your arches properly. It’s also important that your shoes don’t cause your ankles to roll inward or outward. And keep in mind, it is possible for shoes to be cute and still support your feet!
- Avoid Flip-Flops, and Strapless, Slip-On Shoes.
Flip-flops and strapless sandals are the worst possible shoe choice for your feet! Shoes without a strap around the ankle/heel to hold the shoe on your foot can lead to all sorts of aches and pains. You might not realize it, but bad shoe choices can create knee, hip, and back pain problems too…
With these type of poor shoe choices, the muscles of your feet cannot work properly. Your walking stride will be shortened (or you’ll walk out of your shoes…) In a flip-flop your toes scrunch up to keep your shoes on. (Your toes are supposed to be lengthening out and pushing off the ground to propel you forward.) The forefoot muscles (under the ball of the foot) will get weaker, and your hindfoot muscles will get tighter. You may face more problems with plantar fasciitis, more foot cramps, more achy ankles, and can end up with flat feet/fallen arches. Plus, flip-flops with that “thong” between your big and second toe, can create or aggravate bunions.
In addition to foot pain problems, this lack of support at your feet (because of poor shoe choices) is going to affect whole-body posture. No part of your body will be in optimal alignment for healthy movement. Which means, increased stress, wear and tear, and muscle imbalances from head to toe.
- Why are You Wearing Your Oldest, Most Worn-Out Shoes for Yardwork?
It’s interesting that we do this… Invest a lot of money in a good pair of shoes to workout. Save the oldest, crappiest, pair of shoes we’ve got, and designate them as our “yard shoes!”
So, you’re on your feet, walking, mowing, weed whacking, digging, planting… sometimes for hours, or an entire afternoon, or whole weekend, wearing worn-out, zero support footwear. Remember misalignment from the ground up is putting more stress and strain on your body. Do you ever wonder if maybe you’d feel better when you were finished working in the yard if your feet were in good, supportive pair of shoes for all those long hours of manual labor?
Here’s a suggestion: Buy a brand new pair of shoes that provide good support for your feet. Designate them as your “Yard Shoes.” If all you wear them for is mowing and gardening, they might even last a Summer or two. Do you even remember what year you purchased the shoes you’re wearing for yardwork right now? Throw them away and start fresh with a good pair of shoes. Can’t promise it’s going to make the job easier, but it will help support your body better.
- Like to go Barefoot – GREAT!
Barefoot activities are excellent for giving your ankles, arches, and toes an opportunity to move freely. But not everyone is comfortable walking around with bare feet. And if you’re at the pool, hot cement is no fun! While it’s quick to slide into a flip-flop, the risk/reward of reinforcing bad body mechanics (in my opinion) isn’t worth it. It only takes a few seconds longer to strap a pair of sandals onto your feet, whether you’re at the pool, or getting a pedicure.
Are You Experiencing Annoying Foot Pain Problems?
Recently, I’ve had several clients complaining about new foot pain issues. My first question has been, “How old are your shoes?” Every single person has commented…”Well…I’ve only been wearing them for a couple of years.” But the weather is getting nicer, they’re starting to get outside and are inspired to be more active… They’re just not wearing shoes that are supporting their feet, and the body is letting them know it’s a problem. Why wait until you’re feet hurt to buy new shoes?
As a general rule, it’s good to replace your walking/running shoes every 300-500 miles. Which might be every three to six months if you’re doing 20 miles a week. It’s also important to factor in your training schedule, the terrain, your body weight, foot strike, and gait mechanics. Another thing to consider: Are you just wearing this pair of shoes for workouts, or are they your all day, everyday shoes too?
If you’ve been wearing the same pair of walking/running shoes for a year, (or two,) or longer… you might seriously want to consider upgrading your shoes a little more frequently, to help better support your body.
It’s important to note:
If you are actively working on improving your foot fitness, posture, body alignment, strength, flexibility, and fitness whether it’s with Pilates, Yoga, targeted foot-fitness training, or other functional movement training methods, congratulations on working developing new and better movement habits!
Please keep in mind that continuing to wear old shoes is only going to reinforce old movement habits. This will make it more challenging to eliminate muscle imbalances. Get your feet in new shoes more frequently. New shoes can help you continue to progress your functional fitness, and support better alignment for your feet and whole-body.
And if you’re inspired to be in Spring cleaning mode, take the time to evaluate what’s in your shoe closet. Toss or donate the shoes you’ve got that you know aren’t good for your feet. Start fresh and make good shoe choices to set yourself up for fewer annoying foot pain problems. Keep your feet healthy to ensure you can enjoy all the sports and activities you love this Spring and Summer.
Interested in focusing on improving your foot fitness? Check out the Centerworks RunFit Kit 2.0 (not just for runners…) Get targeted training resources for foot-care. Discover easy to learn exercises to help improve the strength, flexibility, and fitness of your ankles, arches, and toes.
Benefits of Incorporating Foot Fitness Training into Your Weekly Workout Routine:
- Reduce and/or eliminate foot cramps
- Get help for plantar fasciitis issues
- Improve toe alignment and mobility for bunions & hammer toes
- Activate arch support to help flat feet
- Reduce stress from high arches
- Take the pressure off tight Achilles tendons
- Strengthen your ankles to reduce the risk of ankle sprains and strains
- Reduce the risk of injuries (for your feet and whole body)
- Maintain healthy feet
- And more…
The foot fitness resources in the Centerworks RunFit Kit 2.0 can help you keep your feet healthy!