How to Choose the Right Footwear
Summer brings another liability: over-reliance on flip-flops or flimsy sandals. While these shoes do protect your feet from hot sand at the beach or from infections at the pool, they’re not suitable for daylong wear. They provide no stability to your ankles, thus raising your chances of sprains. And they offer little support for your arches, which puts you at risk of plantar fasciitis: painful inflammation of the band of tissue that extends from your heels to your toes.
People with diabetes should be particularly conscious of their footwear choices. Sufferers are more likely to have poor circulation to their extremities, which makes healing slow and tricky. They’re also susceptible to nerve damage that can prevent them from feeling any pain before a foot problem grows serious.
What do foot-friendly shoes look and feel like? They’re comfortable, with no pressure on the joints, pinching on the sides or slippage at the heel. “They should be wide, have a toe box with enough space for the toes, be made of a breathable material, such as leather or canvas, and ideally have a heel no higher than 2.5 centimetres,” says Emma McConnachie, who works with the College of Podiatry in London, U.K. “Shoes with laces that come up over the middle of the foot will provide the best kind of support.” If you’re unsure of how to address your specific needs, most podiatrists offer footwear consultations—a good first step.