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Rules to follow when selecting non-running shoes

Rules to follow when selecting non-running shoes

We runners put a lot of time and effort into finding our perfect running shoe.

My foot changed with my most recent pregnancy, and my Brooks Adrenalines weren’t cutting it anymore. I went to a local running store to be re-fitted for shoes. After more than an hour, a lot of running around the store, and testing a dozen shoes, I found “my” new shoe: the Brooks Ravenna. It fits me perfectly.

But I only run a handful of miles per day, save for one long run on the weekend. So, those Ravennas I love so much are only on my feet about an hour each day. Which means most of the time, I’m wearing other shoes. And I didn’t select my Toms or riding boots with comfort in mind like I did when I picked out my running shoes – they fit well enough and they’re cute, so that’s all that matters.

However, experts say we should select our non-running shoes with the same care we use when buying running shoes. In fact, casual shoes that don’t fit or aren’t made well can cause problems with our running.

Here are some rules to follow when selecting non-running shoes:

  1. Say no to heels. Even though they’ve been a fashion “yes” for decades, high heels are definitely a health “no”. According to the American Osteopathic Association, one in every three women who wear high heels ends up with chronic foot problems. When you wear heels, your foot slides forward and pressure is placed on your forefoot. This stresses your toes, knees, hips, and low back. Over time, wearing high heels can shorten the muscles in your low back and calves which can lead to chronic pain and muscle spasms. The higher the heel, the higher the risk of health problems. Extra high heels can cause bone and nerve damage. If you must wear heels, stick with sensible styles – an inch and a half heel or lower.
  2. Avoid narrow toe boxes. Shoes with narrow, pointed toe boxes put unnatural pressure on the toes. Wearing these shoes repeatedly can cause bunions, blisters, hammertoes, and bruised toenails.
  3. Be wary of flats. Flip-flops, ballet flats, and Toms may seem like comfortable alternative to heels, but that’s not necessarily true. Many of these styles have no arch support, which can damage the feet and bring on knee, hip, and back pain. Poor arch support is also associated with plantar fasciitis. When selecting flats, make sure the shoes have ample arch support.
  4. Consider orthotic insoles. Orthotic insoles provide extra cushioning so you can wear your favorite pair of flats or work shoes without harming your feet. Orthotic insoles are sold over-the-counter, but custom fit orthotics made by a podiatrist (foot doctor) will work best for your foot’s needs. Custom orthotics are pricey, but they may be covered by your health insurance.
  5. Wear shoes around the house. Always wear shoes when you’re cooking in the kitchen. Standing barefoot on hardwood or tile floors for hours may leave your feet, legs, and back feeling like they just completed a long run. Wearing supportive shoes will soften the blow to your joints.

Written by Jen Matz / Photo WalkJogRun Instagram