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worst shoes for your feet

Shoes play a very important role in our lives. Because not only do they play the role of fashion accessory, our shoes also have a very real impact on our overall health!

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about the best brands for comfortable shoes based on input I had gotten from readers. And while today’s post is also about shoes, we’ll be focusing on the other end of the shoe spectrum.

Because the fact of the matter is that not all shoes are good for your feet! Wearing the wrong type of shoe over a long period of time can lead to lasting injuries.

So today I wanted to share a list of 4 of the worst offenders when it comes to potentially harmful footwear. For each type of shoe, I’ve also included recommendations for minimizing potential damage if you just can’t give them up! 🙂

The 4 Worst Shoes For Your Feet

worst shoes for your feet

1. Stilettos Over 2”

It’s no surprise that stiletto heels are near the top of every “worst shoes for your feet” list. The height of the heel means you are putting all of your weight onto the balls of your feet, which can cause pinched nerves and shortened tendons.

Shortened tendons can eventually make it painful to wear non-heeled shoes. And since many high-heeled shoes can be painful to wear to begin with, that’s not a cycle you want to get stuck in!

worst shoes for your feet

Do This Instead: If you must wear your towering stilettos, stick to wearing them on date nights. Doctors recommend limiting your time in high stilettos to 2-3 hours, so an evening out would fit the bill nicely.

Make sure to do some foot stretches and exercises too to keep your feet healthy. (Tracing the alphabet with each foot is an easy option!)

worst shoes for your feet

2. Ballet Flats

All the way on the opposite end of the shoe spectrum, ballet flats can pose problems too. Ballet flats offer very little arch support, which puts a lot of pressure on your heel.

Over time, that pressure can even lead to plantar fasciitis. This painful condition is caused by inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot.

worst shoes for your feet

Do This Instead: Put supportive inserts in your flats, which will help ensure that pressure is distributed more evenly across the bottom of your foot.

worst shoes for your feet

3. Flip Flops & Slides

Much like ballet flats, lack of support is also an issue with flip flops and slide sandals. Wearing them too often can not only lead to plantar fasciitis, but even hip, knee, or back problems too.

Another issue with flip flips and slides is lack of protection. They leave your feet exposed to potential splinters, cuts, scrapes, and more!

worst shoes for your feet

Do This Instead: Love flip flops? Try a toning flip flop designed for walking. They typically offer a thicker sole and more arch support than standard flip flops.

You may also consider choosing a Birkenstock sandal. Their cork footbeds are firm and supportive, plus they offer better protection than most sandals.

worst shoes for your feet

4. Mules

Heeled mules are my personal favorite style of shoe! But as much as it pains me to say it, they aren’t doing our feet any favors!

While heels aren’t great to begin with, heels that don’t support the back of your feet are even worse! When you walk in them, you have to curl your toes to keep them in your feet, and that can lead to sprains, hammertoes, and bunions.

worst shoes for your feet

Do This Instead: Try a slingback instead! You can still have the heel, but you also get the support of the strap. No more toe-curling to keep your shoes from flying off!

Have you ever experienced foot issues that were caused by your shoes?


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