4 Podiatrist-Approved Shoes for Summer (and 4 Pairs You Should Never Wear)

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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 into a pair of flimsy sandals, you might want to consider what they’re actually doing to your feet. We checked in with New York–based podiatrist Miguel Cunha, D.P.M., founder of Gotham Footcare, to get 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.

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treasure and bond wedge

Skip Flip-flops & Wear Wedges

Treasure & Bond Poppy Espadrille Wedge Sandals
We can’t say we’re shocked to learn that flip-flops aren’t doing anything for our feet, but we didn’t realize how bad they can 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.

Shop more styles: Lucky Brand ($89); Caslon ($100); Ted Baker London ($160)

slingback sandals
Saks Fifth Avenue

Skip Slides & Wear Sandals With A Back Strap

Via Spiga Gabourey Lizard-Embossed Leather Flatform Sandals
Slides are similar to flip-flops in that they lack arch support and don’t provide any reinforcement around the ankle. Sandals with a back strap, 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.

Shop more styles: Soludos ($109); Birkenstock ($125); Cole Haan ($130)

sophia webster block heels
Saks Fifth Avenue

Skip Stilettos & Wear Block Heels

Sophia Webster Laurellie Wraparound Floral-Print Leather Sandals
Stilettos simply aren’t good for 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. This kind of shoe is also much comfier to wear and easier to walk in. Win-win.

Shop more styles: Sanctuary ($119); Dolce Vita ($125); Cole Haan ($150)


Skip Mules & Wear Oxfords

Samuel Hubbard Winged Traveler 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 it has a little bit of a heel and offers your toes more breathing room, which eliminates the risk of ingrown nails, irritation, bunions and more. Foot health aside, we love how they add a borrowed-from-the-boys flair to any look.

Shop more styles: Clarks ($95); Cole Haan ($190); Vince ($295)

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...