Ah, the boot, the shoe par excellence for fall. Fun to buy in all textures, shapes and heel heights, the boots can still be a pain at times to push in, especially causing blisters and bunions. In addition to these common side effects of new shoes, podiatrist Jacqueline M. Sutera, DPM, cites ingrown toenails, pinched nerves, neuromas, hammer toes, and worsening of corns as potential results of wearing boots ( or any shoe, really) that are too stiff or tight.
The good news? You don’t necessarily need to deal with blood soaked socks and throbbing toes. Take a few pro tips – both for buying boots and for breaking them (if you’ve bought them before) – and you might prove that style and comfort can, in fact, coexist. Below is a podiatrist’s advice for your most comfortable boot season yet.
If you buy boots
Still in the buying process? Use these practical tips.
Take heel height into account
Simply put, your best bet is to stick with shorter, more blocking options that give your foot more support and allow you to distribute your weight more evenly across your sole. “The heels move your weight forward,” says Dr. Sutera. “The higher the heel, the greater the risk of pinching the forefoot. that they are too high to be considered comfortable or approved by chiropodists.
Forget about flat shapes
That said, while a dizzying heel is bound to cause pain, a totally flat sole isn’t ideal either. Flat shoes often lack the shock absorption needed to protect your feet from repetitive contact with hard surfaces like concrete. This can leave them feeling tired, unsupported, and riddled with issues. Something else they’re going to do? “Contribute to pronation [rolling of the foot outward] and arch collapse, which can contribute to planter and posterior heel pain, shin splints, knee pain and back pain, ”said previously Miguel Cunha, DPM. Good + Good.
Dr. Sutera offers a simple test to determine if the shoes in question provide sufficient support. “If you can practically feel the pavement pounding under your feet, you probably need a boost,” she says. Instead, look for a sturdy, chunky sole with a slight heel, advises Dr. Sutera. Besides creating a barrier between your feet and the street, styles like this provide more ankle stability, she says. When your ankles are more stable, you are less likely to roll them.
Switch between toe shapes
In addition to the heel height, the shape of the toes is an important factor when looking for comfort. In particular, it is best to avoid boots that narrow or end in a point as they have a high potential for pinching. Plus, such ultra-tight skin-to-skin contact is a recipe for friction… and, ultimately, blisters. Better options include boots with a round or square toe, as their toes are more roomy. This is especially wise advice to follow if you have bunions or hammer toes, says Dr. Sutera.
Pay attention to materials
As with clothing, the material of a shoe can make or break its comfort. According to Dr. Sutera, patent leather, as well as vegan leather, can be particularly difficult to ‘sink in’ because there isn’t much room for the material to essentially move, stretch and fit. to the unique shape of your foot. On the other end of the ‘stretchy’ spectrum: ‘Suede and natural leathers,’ notes Dr. Sutera, ‘which tend to’ give in ‘more easily. If your dress repertoire is, by choice, devoid of these materials, try an alternative designed to mimic the stretch and feel of the real deal – or slip into something comfy with cotton or canvas fabric shoes. . (These materials tend to have a bit of a natural “give”.) Additionally, Dr. Sutera suggests a “breathable, waterproof material” (think Gortex) as a great boot fabric, especially for the whimsical weather of the season. .
Find arch support
Like a loyal friend, your favorite ankle boots should support you. Specifically, the midsole support, says Dr. Sutera. Also known as arch support, midsole support “… can prevent tendonitis and heel pain,” Velimir Petkov, DPM, told Well + Good.
Tips for making uncomfortable boots more comfortable
If you’ve ever bought a pair of boots … and you think you already have foot problems … fear not! There are some things you may be able to fix.
Soften the exterior
Remember that less rigid materials have more flexibility, which makes them more malleable. If you bought leather boots, try “ay for this [purpose]Dr. Sutera suggests buying a shoe leather softener designed specifically to help make hard leather less stiff faster, rather than breaking it the hard way (read: at the expense of your feet) over time. time.
Another pro tip: Physically stretch your boots using a shoe tree, a foot-shaped device that you slip into your shoes to replace your feet and break your shoes while you’re not wearing them. Alternatively, you may be able to have your shoes professionally stretched by a shoemaker or at a local shoe repair shop.
Change your socks
While there are no set rules for sock selection and it really depends on your personal preference, Dr. Sutera cautions against socks that add significant bulk. “If your socks are too thick when you are wearing boots, they could contribute from minor ailments such as blisters and ingrown toenails to more serious conditions such as pinched nerves and worsening corns, hammer toes and limbs. onions, ”she said. Follow these tips from the boot pro and you can do your best this fall.
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