Some people need supportive shoes more than others, but everyone can benefit greatly from wearing supportive shoes.
There are people who are prone to foot pain such as plantar fasciitis, people with unique foot shapes such as very high arches, and people with tight achilles tendons or other reasons why they should wear supportive shoes.
The good news is that there are plenty of great products and solutions out there (including footwear accessories) specially designed to assist with keeping your feet in good shape. For instance, Move Insoles, designed and tested by professional athletes, feature a specially designed foundation to soak up any impact on your feet, and give you extra protection when you’re running or walking on hard surfaces.
Arch support pads are another footwear accessory that works, designed as either an alternative or an enhancement to arch support shoes. These pads can be strapped to the center of your foot, to protect you from placing additional pressure on your arch. Products such as the Foot Active comfort insoles even help to reduce the risk of back pain and joint pain, by balancing your weight more evenly while you walk.
Even simple solutions, such as the Dr. Scholl's pads intended for short-term use can provide more cushioning for the balls of your feet, the arches, or the heels, depending on where you experience the most discomfort. They can even make high heels easier to wear.
Here are some great examples of comfortable, supportive shoes, designed for activity to prevent pain and other foot issues:
1. Hoka Bondi 8
Widely regarded as one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes available, the Bondi 7 or Bondi 8 shoes feature an internal heel counter to help position your foot perfectly for reduced ankle pain. Hoka Bondi 8 shoes feature a memory foam collar around the ankle, to minimize the risk of rolling, and a full-length compression molded midsole to provide additional arch support. These products are more than just your standard set of arch support shoes, they can even provide ample support for those with foot injuries and back pain.
2. Teva Hurricane Verge Sandals
Some people need supportive shoes in sandal form if they live somewhere hot or they plan on vacationing somewhere hot. We deserved to be able to walk around for long periods of time (even in sandals) and not have to deal with pain or sore feet.
Sandals have a reputation for being some of the most unsupportive shoes out there, but that doesn’t have to be the case if you’re wise enough to go with Teva sandals. The Teva Hurricane Verge Sandals feature bouncy and supportive Eva soles, to help protect your arches and heels. They also include a number of strong, supportive straps to keep your sandal glued perfectly to your foot when you’re walking. These sandals can even be used for hiking trips, depending on the terrain.
3. Allbirds Tree Runners
If you’re looking for an alternative to the standard arch support shoes on the market today, the Allbirds Tree Runners are a versatile choice. They’re great supportive shoes for walking in warmer weather, as they feature a lightweight structure, with plenty of breathable materials. They have a built-in insole for arch comfort, and an extra strong rubber sole. Plus, Allbirds shoes are made with recycled and sustainably sourced materials, so they’re good for the environment.
4. Ugg Yose Waterproof
For those in search of the perfect combination of form and function, the Yose Waterproof boot from Ugg is an excellent choice. Designed to withstand temperatures of up to -32 degrees Celsius, these shoes are perfect for colder climates. They’re made with waterproof materials, to protect your feet from extra moisture, and have a plush insole for extra cushioning. As an extra bonus, they provide plenty of support around the ankles too.
5. Sketchers Trego Rocky Mountain Hiking Boots
Love hiking? If so, you’ll need supportive shoes designed for hiking to be able to endure on those long hikes without pain. Designed with air-cooled memory foam insoles, the Sketchers Trego Rocky Mountain Hiking Boots keep your feet cool and comfortable, even on long hiking trips in the great outdoors. They’re supportive and comfortable, with all-terrain rubber traction on the bottom for an extra layer of safety. Plus, they come with extra structure and support around the ankles, to prevent injuries. They’re even waterproof, so you can continue your adventures in cold weather.
How to Choose the Best, Most Supportive Shoes for Any Activity
Part of making sure you have the right footwear on hand (or on foot) for any occasion, is realizing that different activities place different strains on your feet. While you might be fine with a standard set of arch support shoes for everyday life, it’s worth looking at other factors when choosing footwear for specific activities. For instance:
· Running: Running is an activity that puts a lot of pressure on various parts of your body, including your feet. This is why there are so many different running injuries that can take place. The right shoes will protect your ankles and feet from the impact of hitting the pavement. Typically, supportive running shoes come with extra strong materials to help keep your feet in place when you’re moving, but also feature flexibility so you can move your muscles well. Look for shoes that are firm but flexible, which can provide exceptional traction on any surface.
· Walking: Long-distance walking is a fantastic way to build up endurance, improve heart health, and even lose weight. A good set of walking shoes should provide support to your feet, similar to running shoes. However, they should also be lightweight. Many options come with special soles that help to protect your sole as you walk.
· Cross training: Cross-training involves a range of different fitness activities, to boost muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness, and joint flexibility. Cross-training shoes are designed with extra cushioning, to prevent pain from the impact of your foot against the floor. They also have a wider base than most running shoes, which allow for greater stability when you’re engaged in movements from side-to-side.
· Weight lifting: The right shoes can make a huge difference to how confident and stable you feel when lifting weights. Many weight lifting shoes have a slightly raised heel, to give you more balance, and reduce your risk of injury. Weight lifting shoes typically have an extra-hard sole, to help distribute the force from when you’re lifting your weights.
· Hiking shoes: Hiking shoes generally provide protection to both the foot and the ankle at the same time. They need to fit snugly around your foot, so you’re less likely to pull a muscle or roll an ankle on rocky terrain. Make sure you know your foot size, and consider trying on shoes at the end of the day, when your feet might be slightly more swollen.
· Gym workouts: If you’re looking for a standard pair of shoes to accommodate activities at the gym, the most important things to look for are comfort and stability. Look for thick soles to protect your feet from running and movement, but avoid anything too heavy, as this can increase fatigue.
Do You Have Increased Risk of Foot Injuries Due to Your DNA?
Some people have a higher risk of injury due to their DNA. Your CircleDNA test will tell you if you have a generally higher risk of injury due to your genetic makeup, but it will also reveal if you have other risk factors such as genetically tight achilles tendons. If something like this is in your DNA, it’s especially important for you to buy supportive shoes and wear the right shoes when you go out to do any type of physical activity, even walking. You may even want to consider custom orthotics, though a great pair of high-quality, supportive shoes, may be enough protection for you. A podiatrist (a foot doctor) is the best person to see if you constantly have foot pain after doing physical activity, even though you’re wearing good shoes. Your family doctor can refer you to a podiatrist.
- NCBI: Footwear comfort: a systematic search and narrative synthesis of the literature https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8650278/Women’s Health: https://www.womenshealth.com.au/choosing-the-right-footwear-for-different-activities/