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Foot Health: Why You Really Need Different Footwear for Different Activities

Proper Foot Health Means Proper Footwear

Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 01-Nov-2021

Do you think about which shoes you put on before you leave the house? If not, you should, because not all footwear is created equally. And the footwear you choose can affect your foot health. Choosing the right footwear for the right occasion can help you avoid pain and discomfort today, and common long-term issues that could arise down the road. While you might be tempted to go with more fashionable shoes, comfort and support should always surpass aesthetics, especially if you plan to be on your feet in for the entire day.

Let’s look at the importance of proper foot health, why the footwear you choose matters, how different types of footwear affect your overall foot health, and what you can do to help avoid pain and discomfort.

The Importance of Proper Support and Foot Health

Proper foot health is about a lot more than just soaking your feet after a long day or not wearing tight fitting shoes. Taking care of your feet daily can help prevent painful ailments and problems from occurring. Whatever activities you’re involved in, you need to have adequate footwear designed to offer your feet the support they need. Supporting your feet will help you avoid adverse chain reactions to other parts of your body.

Why Does Footwear Impact Foot Health?

Your feet are like the wheels on your car. When you drive down an uneven road or hit a bump, you experience a shock – you bounce up and down. Our cars have shock absorbers to help minimize this impact. Well, our shoes do the same thing. If you’re out for a jog, you don’t want to be relying on skinny sandals to pad your feet when you come down on the ground. You want an athletic shoe that supports and cushions your feet and ankles when you repeatedly land each foot hard on the ground.

While there are endless options for footwear, you only need to consider a few things when making your footwear choice:

  • Will you be standing or walking for extended periods?
  • Will you be doing any high impact or high stress activity?
  • Are your feet already sore from a previous activity or injury?

If you take just a few seconds to contemplate what you will be putting your feet through that day, you will be able to make the right choice and avoid any pain or discomfort later on.

How Do Different Types of Footwear Impact Foot Health?

To better understand how various footwear impacts your feet, here is a brief rundown of several different kinds of shoes. It is important to remember that not everyone’s feet are the same, and different shoes will have varying effects depending on the wearer. Also, factors like age, past injuries, overall health, and terrain can alter how various footwear respond to your feet.


Although convenient, flip-flops are not suitable for your feet at all. They make it impossible to flex the arch in the foot naturally due to the gripping motion we tend to do in order to keep them on our feet. This, in turn, affects how the foot pushes off when you step forward and is hard on your knees, hips, and joints as they must absorb more of the impact.


If you’re someone that enjoys high-heels or has a job that requires them, you could, unfortunately, be doing long-term damage to your body. The unnatural position of your arch, heel and toes in heels can lead to some severe ailments, such as hammertoes, Morton’s Neuroma, plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. This doesn’t mean you should never wear heels, just that you should do so sparingly.

Flat Shoes:

Any shoe style with a complexly flat sole offers little, if any, support for your feet. This style of shoe causes the ligaments and tendons along the bottoms of your feet to overstretch. Also, there is no arch support, and this puts a lot of stress on your heels. The extended wearing of flats can lead to painful foot conditions like plantar fasciitis.

Walking Shoes:

When it comes to good walking shoes, you’re looking for something lightweight, with extra shock absorption in the heel area and under the ball of your foot. If you’re an avid walker and aren’t wearing the proper shoes, you can experience heel pain, as well as a burning or tenderness in the ball of your foot.

Running Shoes:

Owning a good pair of running shoes might be the most essential footwear in your closet. If you’re someone who enjoys running or jogging regularly, you need to find shoes with strong shock absorption that don’t twist easily. The shoes also need to be well-fitting but not too tight. Wearing shoes without these attributes could lead to shin splints, tendonitis, heel pain, stress fractures and other related injuries.

Minimalist Shoes:

Minimalist shoes are made for anyone who is into rock climbing or other activities where you need your feet to help grip. They make it feel like you’re almost not wearing any shoes at all. Although useful in certain situations, it’s not advised to wear them when doing other activities, as they offer little foot or ankle support.

How Can You Alter You Footwear to Promote Better Foot Health?

Start by finding the right shoes for your feet. Proper footwear should cushion your feet, offer support, be comfortable and fit well. It’s also essential that you consistently pick the right shoes for the activity or occasion. Of course, if you’ve been experiencing significant or chronic foot pain or discomfort, you may have a structural imbalance and should also consider custom orthotics. This is a corrective device that can worn in various types of footwear and that can help to alleviate pain in your feet, knees, hips, lower back, and further up the kinetic chain.


If you have any concerns regarding your feet or if you have any questions related to foot care or custom orthotics contact us today. Let us show you why, at Physiomed, Healthier Starts Here.

Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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