3 Podiatrist-Approved House Shoes (and 2 That Will Wreak Havoc on Your Feet)

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By this point in quarantine, most of us have our stay-at-home wardrobes figured out. There’s the requisite sweatpants or leggings, the comfy hoodie, the optional bra and some cushy socks. But shoes? There’s no need to worry about those...right? According to Dr. Miguel Cunha, founder of Gotham Footcare, no shoes is actually the wrong choice.

He explains: “Walking barefoot on hard surfaces for an extended amount of time is bad because it allows your foot to collapse, which can lead to a tremendous amount of stress not only to the foot but to the rest of the body.” Your lack of shoe (and thus, lack of support) could lead to bunions and hammertoes or shin splints and Achilles tendonitis, leaving your knees or back in pain. And, yeah, that applies if your house has a wood floor or carpeting.

But it turns out even your household slippers are doing you wrong. Here, Dr. Cunha shares two types of shoes you should not be wearing around the house and the three styles you should replace them with. (Sorry in advance to your beloved bunny slippers.)

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podiatrist house shoes backless slippers

Don’t Wear: Backless Slippers

“Backless slippers aren’t really supporting your feet; it’s the other way around,” Dr. Cunha explains. “Your feet are supporting the slipper, which you can tell with every step. You’re crunching down to hold onto the slipper, gripping them with your feet.” That tension can lead to the formation of hammertoes over time, especially if you’re padding around in fluffy slippers, seven days a week during quarantine. However, if you’re just slipping them on to go from the bedroom to the bathroom in the middle of the night, the short-term wear shouldn’t cause major issues.

podiatrist house shoes flip flops
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Don’t Wear: Flip Flops

The lack of support in flip-flops is similar to that in backless slippers. “While flip flops are a convenient option, they can be worse than walking barefoot if they don’t have arch support incorporated into the design and are worn for prolonged periods of time,” the doc notes. Keep these rubber shoes relegated to (very) short walks to the beach.

podiatrist house shoes slippers with backs

1. Do Wear: Slippers With Backs

Good news: You don’t have to give up the plush fuzz of a house slipper, if you don’t want to. Simply seek out a style that combines built-in arch support with an actual back. A fur-lined moccasin or bootie is probably your best bet—and you might even find them to be more comfortable than your slides, anyways.

Get the look: Vionic McKenzie Suede Faux Fur Moccasin Slipper ($100; $60); The FLEXX Women's Smokinhot Plush ($63); Olukai Olani Genuine Shearling Slipper ($140)

podiatrist house shoes sneakers

2. Do Wear: Sneakers

Yes, the shoes you wear to Zumba or HIIT class are the ones you should be wearing in your home. First and foremost, make sure the sneakers you’re choosing are both supportive and durable (you might want to order a few styles to try on at-home before settling on a pair), they should have a wide forefoot (so your toes have ample room). Keep in mind: You should reserve this pair of sneakers to be your house shoes only. As in, they shouldn't be worn outside. Why’s that? “To avoid the unnecessary and non-hygienic transfer of soil, bacteria, viruses and pollen from the environment into our homes,” says Dr. Cunha. He notes that this is especially important if you have toddlers or young kids crawling around.

Get the look: ASICS Gel-Cumulus 21 ($120; $100) ASICS GT-2000 8 ($120); Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6 ($130)

podiatrist house shoes sandals

3. Do Wear: Sandals With Arch Support

If you do want to let your toes breathe, you can wear a sandal around the house. Just make sure the style you choose has both arch support and a back strap, so it keeps your foot in place. While Dr. Cunha doesn’t recommend long-term wear of a sandal outside, he does consider them to be a great house shoe to protect your feet (and arches) against hard floors like wood or marble. Plus, we think these strappy kicks are kinda cute.

Get the look: Teva Original Universal ($50); Birkenstock Rio Ankle Strap Sandal ($100; $60); Vionic Keomi Sandal ($90)

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From 2019-2021 Dena Silver held the role of Fashion Editor covering product recommendations, trends, and what you should be shopping this season.