It’s that time of year – leaves are poppin’, flowers are bloomin’ and everyone is itching to let their feet out of heavy winter shoes. That means it’s also time for my annual Public Service Announcement: choose you sandals wisely; your feet are worth the investment!
NEWS FLASH: 50% of the people who come to see me with foot pain in the spring have caused their problem by unknowingly wearing crappy sandals. Signs that you may be whacking-out your own feet with a poor sandal choice:
- your feet ache at the end of the day
- your feet hurt when you first step out of bed
- your ankle(s) hurt after you wore sandals all-day on Saturday
- your calves are suddenly tight
- your feet hurt in new, weird places
Here’s a quick primer for spring sandal shopping:
Fully-attached Sandals: your foot muscles are happiest in a sandal that is fully attached to your foot. Look for minimal slippage while you’re moving. Whether you’re going for fashionable leather cuties or sport sandals that you can wear while hiking, find a sandal with an ankle strap and proper foot bed. You shouldn’t feel like you need to grip with the sole of your foot or your toes while you’re walking.
Casual Flip Flops: it’s ok if these are rubber, but please choose ones that have an actual foot bed and minimum ‘flop’ when you walk. Here’s why: actively gripping hard with your toes to keep your sandals on your feet is overworking some of your foot muscles. This can cause plantar fasciitis, hammer toes and chronically tight calves. So, seek out flip-flops that cling to your foot rather than flip-flopping around. BTW – people who wander into my presence dragging their ill-fitting flip-flops to keep them on their feet shall be shot.
OK FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES
Shower Shoes: those rubber flip-flops with a ½ inch sole and no real foot-bed. (Yes, the ones that you can get in any color of the rainbow at Old Navy) These make the maximum ‘flop’ sound when you walk in them. Yup, these cheapies are really meant to be worn in the gym shower to keep you from picking up plantar warts and athlete’s foot fungus. Ok, you can also wear them post-pedicure, but don’t walk even a ½ mile them!
Strappy High-heel Sandals: I threw these in just in case one of you runs into me at happy hour with my husband. I do love the way my legs look in them, but trust me, these babies get minimal wear. Translation: we drove to happy hour and I walked only a block or two in them. Why? That 4” heel is famous for throwing out your back, silly! And, although they sport an ankle strap, there’s no real foot bed here — I’m gripping away for the sake of fashion.
Did you notice how I tried not to tell you to throw away some of your sandals? Just stop wearing them for the wrong activities. Pretty please.
ARE YOUR FEET WHACKED-OUT?
Nike peeps can come see me for solutions. And I promise, there ARE solutions. Find an appointment with me here
Consider getting this great book that covers every question you never even knew you had about: foot bio-mechanics (how the muscles & bones of your feet work in real life) PLUS exercises for correcting common foot issues.
About the Author
Christine Binnendyk is the creator of the Ageless Pilates and Barre Fitness workout programs, taught exclusively at Nike’s World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.. Nike employees take her Pain Free Body, Pain Free Athlete and Pain Free at the Office workshops at the Nike Sports Centers. Public workshops are available through Portland Community College, Club Sport Oregon and the Warrior Room. Find her best-selling book “Ageless Pilates” on Amazon.