4 Podiatrist-Approved Shoes for Summer (and 4 Pairs You Should Never Wear)
You’ve got your sundress on and your floppy hat at the ready. All that’s left to do? Decide what shoes to wear. But before you slip on a pair of flimsy sandals, you might want to consider what they’re actually doing to your feet. We checked in with Dr. Miguel Cunha, a New York-based podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare, for his take on popular summer shoes. Here are four pairs he advises against (yep, you should probably ditch the flip-flops)—and what to wear instead.
Skip Flip-Flops & Wear Wedges
We can’t say we’re shocked to learn that flip-flops aren’t doing anything for your feet, but we didn’t realize how bad they could actually be. Per Dr. Cunha, wearing flip-flops for prolonged periods of time can affect both gait and posture, which can lead to stress on the foot and the rest of the body. A safer option is a wedge. Because it’s elevated, Dr. Cunha says, it puts the Achilles tendon in a more relaxed position, which slows down the progression of symptoms associated with arch collapse.
Skip Stilettos & Wear Block Heels
Stilettos simply aren’t good for your feet, we all know this. Because of their height (and how thin the heels are), a single night in stilettos means risking ankle sprains and foot injuries, Dr. Cunha says. If you’re looking for a taller sandal, he suggests a block heel with an ankle strap, which will offer support, hold up your weight better than a stiletto and reduce the risk of a twisted ankle. They’re also much comfier to wear and easier to walk in. Win-win.
Skip Slides & Wear Slingbacks
Slides are similar to flip-flops in that they lack arch support and don’t provide any reinforcement around the ankle. Slingbacks, on the other hand, often have some heel height (around three quarters of an inch should be good) and they support the ankle. One thing to keep in mind: Dr. Cunha recommends avoiding tight, pointed styles because they can aggravate your toe area.
Skip Mules & Wear Oxfords
If you’re in the market for a closed-toe summer shoe, consider a pair of oxfords instead of mules. While mules tend to have a sufficiently wide shape, they lack ankle support. The advantage of the oxford, Dr. Cunha says, is that they have a little bit of a heel to them, and offer your toes more breathing room, which eliminates the risk of ingrown nails, irritation, bunions and more. Foot health benefits aside, we love how they add a borrowed-from-the-boys flair to any look.