Peoples legs and showing their footwear

The impact of footwear on your posture

A fabulous pair of high heels or a fashionable pair of sandals can make you feel fantastic and boost your confidence.

However, wearing the wrong shoes for too long can not only hurt your feet, but can also affect your posture.

Shoes with poor arch support

Shoes like flip-flops, flat sandals, ballet shoes, and poorly made sneakers tend to lack arch support. Arch support follows the natural curvature of your sole, distributing pressure evenly across your foot.

When a shoe doesn’t have arch support, this causes your feet to either roll inward (overpronation) or outward (supination). This has a knock-on effect on the alignment of your ankles, hips, and knees.

High heels

High heels don’t just cause bunions and squashed toes when you wear them too much, but they can also affect your posture.

When you wear high heels, you put more pressure on your forefoot, meaning you have to shift your balance forward and adjust the rest of your body to compensate. This means more strain on your lower back and spine.

Narrow shoes

53% of women in the UK have wide feet. 81% of women have also admitted to wearing shoes that aren’t comfortable and don’t fit properly.

While it can be tempting to squeeze your feet into too-narrow shoes for the sake of convenience or fashion, this can have a harmful effect on your posture. Narrow shoes can cause pain and discomfort, forcing you to alter how you walk and hold yourself.

Wearing shoes that are too wide can cause issues too. As your feet slip around in your shoes, this can cause reduced stability and balance, affecting your gait and increasing the risk of slips and falls.

6 top tips for walking with confidence

A high-quality, well-fitted pair of shoes will reduce your risk of foot pain and help keep your posture in check:

  1. Make sure your shoes fit your feet. They shouldn’t be too tight or loose, and you should be able to wiggle your toes in them. If in doubt, visit a store that offers professional shoe fitting.
  2. Buy shoes with good arch support, or buy an orthopaedic insole that provides arch support.
  3. Get rid of old and worn shoes. These are less likely to offer you the proper support, increasing the risk of foot pain and posture problems.
  4. Choose the right kind of shoe for the right type of activity. For example, if you’re going on a hike, pick a pair of hiking boots or sturdy trainers with good grip.
  5. It’s okay to wear heels but stick to lower heels or only wear them for limited amounts of time.
  6. Avoid wearing the same shoes every day. Wearing different pairs of shoes allows your feet to experience different types of support, keeping your posture healthy and prolonging the life of your footwear.

Don’t forget that while the right footwear can help improve your posture; it’s also important to stretch your body, exercise well, and optimise your work environment too!

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