Dr. Lisa Smycz, chiropractor from Errol Street Chiropractic is chatting to Kerryn Moscicki, the owner and founder of Radical Yes (www.radicalyes.com.au) shoe store in North Melbourne.

We go through the 5 things that is important to be aware of when looking at purchasing shoes, especially when you have your feet, ankles, knees, hips and spine to consider.

1.Styles of shoes to avoid

  • High Heels                                                                                                                                                                         The increase in heel height changes the person’s centre of gravity once the heel is greater than 5cm. When the heels are greater than 5cm in height, then the body much compensate for that and the lower back curve will need to increase, otherwise that person will not be able to stand up straight. So aim to avoid high heels as much as possible – perhaps just for occasional special event.
  • Ballet Flats .                                                                                                                                                                        This style of shoe offers no support. If arch problems or low back problems  are present, then these shoes are important to ovoid. Choose shoes that have a thicker, more shock absorbing sole.                                                     
  • Platforms                                                                                                                                                                               Our foot has 26 bones and for healthy feet, these bones need to move. The sole of platform shoes do not have the flexibility to allow for normal joint movement in the foot, so avoid this style of shoe if you have foot, ankle and heel issues. This shoe can aggravate the back via the kinetic chain effect up the lower limb to the spine.
  • Flip Flops /Thongs                                                                                                                                                           This type of shoe offers no support to the foot and ankle. Best to avoid thongs if you have problems with the arches in your feet and/or the lower back. Walking in thongs can encourage toe gripping and can aggravate ankle, heel, knee and back issues. Perhaps keep the flip flops for beach use only.

Solution: Shoes need to support the foot and ankle. The foot and ankle need to be able to move too to keep the flexibility in the feet and help to support knees, hips and spine. Choose shoes that support heels, feet and ankles – shoes such as lace up, or shoes that have buckles and velcro support are ideal.

2. Shape of shoe

Tight fitting shoe at the forefoot (toe box) doesn’t allow toes to move, and can cause bunions, claw toes etc. Be extra careful if you have foot arthritis or diabetes.

Solution: Give forefoot plenty of room and choose the right shoe for you.

3. Get feet fitted properly

The length fitting is one aspect of the shoe, but width and instep of your foot is also important to take into consideration. Our feet are more swollen at the end of the day generally, so we need to be aware of this and as we get older our size can change, so regular shoe fittings for adults are important.

Solution: Get a proper fitting by a person who is trained to measure your foot and suggest the best shoe for your needs.

4. Quality product

Avoid cheap and nasty! Natural products, leather, cotton, suede help your feet breathe and move in the way you need. Avoid synthetic materials.

Solution: Find shoes like Radical Yes! Shoes that use great quality, natural products and shoes that are ethically made.

5. Right shoe for the right occasion

Make sure you are using the correct foot for each activity. For example, if  you are at a standing work station, use a shoe that supports the ankle and has thicker shock absorbing sole. Perhaps keep a pair of shoes at work if you don’t wish to wear runners to and from work.

Happy shoe shopping everyone.