A Podiatrist on the 3 Fall Boots That Are Actually Good for Your Feet (They’re Cute, Too!)
Don’t get us wrong: We’ve loved wearing sandals for the last few months, but we’re positively buzzing at the prospect of boots season. Seriously, bring on the leather and suede…in every color! But before we filled our carts with a few new pairs for fall, we wanted to check in with a podiatrist to find out which styles are healthiest for our feet. Here are three boot shapes to consider, according to Dr. Miguel Cunha, founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City.
Dr. Cunha is a fan of the very slight heel most riding boots have. “It’s actually better for you than shoes that are completely flat,” he tells us, “because it takes the stress off the Achilles, which can help maintain proper posture and alignment of your ankles, knees and spine.” Everyone's feet pronate (a natural movement of the foot that occurs when your foot lands while running or walking), but flat shoes can cause your feet to pronate too much, which could increase the progression of underlying foot deformities like bunions and hammertoes. No, thanks! Also, look for riding boots that have a wider toe box, “which will give the forefoot more wiggle room and places less aggravation onto feet,” Dr. Cunha says.
According to Dr. Cunha, a low wedge (we’re talking three inches max, preferably with only a 1.5-inch difference between the heel and the toe) allows you to add a little height without overworking your arch. In general, the foot expert advises against any heel over three inches, since higher styles change the way you walk, which could lead to shorter strides, more pressure placed on the balls of your feet and unnecessary stress on your knees and lower back. Another advantage of the wedge boot? It provides support to the foot and ankle—but remember, only if it’s lower than three inches.
As previously mentioned, wearing a short heel is preferable to a completely flat shoe. Another great option, then, is a Chelsea boot with a low, thick heel. Dr. Cunha stresses the importance of choosing a chunkier heel with a wider toe box, to accommodate the toes comfortably. This, he tells us, can reduce the probability of developing Morton’s Neuroma (a condition that affects the ball of your foot) or aggravating an existing bunion.