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The 3 Types Of Footwear

Your shoes are one of your greatest assets. You wear them for hours on end, for days, weeks, and months. Knowing the pair for you is important, but narrowing them down based on your specific foot type can be challenging. To help educate you on the differences, we break down the three most common types of footwear.

Before we get into that, it’s important to learn the structure of your feet, specifically your arch, as it provides some hints as to what the best shoe might be for you.

A simple test, called the wet test, exists to help determine your arch type. Essentially, the wet test involves dipping the soles of your feet into water and to next stand on a piece of paper. When you step off, you should see an imprint of your foot which will make evident your arch type.

Seeing half of your arch (the middle portion of your foot) indicates a normal arch while seeing the majority of your arch on the paper indicates you have flat feet (or a low arch). Conversely, seeing minimal arch indicates a high arch. See below for a visual.

Arch Types

You can learn more about the wet test and the specifics of your arch height at this link.

Typically, those with flat feet can benefit from motion control footwear while those with normal and high arches are better suited for stability and neutral footwear, with stability being just a bit more ‘shoe’ in terms of support, depending on your preference. But above all, and studies support this, choose shoes that are most comfortable and that work for you.

Motion Control

Motion control footwear is the most supportive, and corrective, forms of shoes. To help with overpronation (when your foot rolls too far inward), motion control footwear have medial support built into the midsole to help limit the damage and wear to the inner portion of your shoe. By having medial support, the shoe is designed to essentially stop the inward rolling of your gait, and in theory, can help lessen the chance at injury if the fit is right. Motion control shoes can also feature a stiff heel, firmer cushioning, and overall less flexibility through the midsole.

Common examples of motion control footwear include the Saucony Stabil CS3 and the Asics Gel Foundation.

It’s important to note that the amount of cushioning is not necessarily an indicator of the type of shoe, but rather it’s a combination of medial features, stiff plastic, and other factors. Cushioning can also be stiff or soft depending on the denseness and type of foam.

Stability

Mild pronators, or heavier-set runners, should consider stability footwear as the shoe doesn’t have as much support as a motion control shoe, but more than neutral footwear. Stability footwear often features extra support (called a medial post) on the inner side of the shoe side to prevent arch collapse, but not as rigid as motion control footwear.

Stability and motion control shoes serve the same purpose: to prevent excessive lateral movement for your foot. The main difference is that stability shoes are a dumbed-down version of motion control shoes and are a nice medium between having support under your arch and being too supportive (and heavy). Stability aims to correct mild overpronation while motion control shoes are designed to lessen the impact of extreme overpronation.

Common lines of stability footwear include the Saucony Guide and the Asics Gel Kayano.

Neutral

As the name implies, neutral cushioned shoes do not have medial support or features within the midsole. With neutral shoes, there is simply cushioning, and no wedges or stiff plastic support along the arch to prevent any sort of under or overcompensation when walking or running. Overall, the structure of the shoe is relatively symmetrical.

Regular pronators and supinators (when your foot fails to roll inwards and applies pressure to your outer foot) should consider using neutral shoes because any stability features would be moot. Common examples of neutral shoes are the Saucony Kinvara, Asics Cumulus, and Saucony Ride.

Ultimately, and as the Mayo Clinic notes, “there is no one best shoe or a particular foot type, and comfort and proper fit should be the main criteria you use when selecting new athletic shoes.”

For more in-person assistance, to have your gait analyzed, feet properly measured or to see if custom orthotics are right for you, check out Toronto’s Feet First Clinic on Bloor Street West. You can contact us at 416-769-3338(FEET).

4 Tips To Protect Your Feet As Temperatures Rise

Summer is a wonderful time of year for outdoor enthusiasts!

Any reason you can head outdoors when it’s warm is a good one. But with warmer temperatures and more sun exposure, it’s important to take certain precautions because it’s not only nice to have your feet looking their best, but it’s important to keep them in good health.

Use sunscreen

With rising temperatures and the change in seasons comes higher UV indexes. In all likelihood, you’ll be going barefoot, or wearing open-toed footwear, more often in the summer months. When being outside for prolonged periods of time, applying sunscreen is essential. Being exposed to UV ratings of 10-15 means you could sunburn in as few as 10 minutes.

When applying sunscreen, you often remember the usual spots: face, ears, arms, and legs. But don’t forget the tops of your feet. Note that your feet may not be exposed to the sun as often as the rest of your body so protection against UVA and UVB rays – the two most damaging to our skin – is particularly important. UVB rays can cause sunburns as they tend to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers while UVA rays can penetrate to the deeper skin levels.

According to Health Canada, look for sunscreens with SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more that have “broad-spectrum” on the label to screen out most of the UVA and UVB rays.

Wear proper socks

Your socks are the last line of defense when it comes to foot protection. In the summer, your feet can perspire. Keeping your feet dry can help prevent athlete’s foot, fungus, and blisters. So, moisture-wicking socks can come in handy. Further, use household items like baking soda to put into your shoes to absorb moisture and use cornstarch on your feet for the same effect.

Leading brands and industry favourites include Stance, Darn Tough, Balega, Drymax, and Smartwool.

Don’t skip on arch support

Convenience is the goal in the summer. Slipping in and out of flip-flops and sandals is easy when lounging around the pool, at the beach, or hanging out on your deck and patio. They’re great for short-term usage, but be careful when wearing them for hours on end. Their lack of support under your arch can make your feet ache and cause painful injuries including plantar fasciitis and to your metatarsal bones.

Though some sandals and flip-flops lack adequate arch support, some brands do. Birkenstocks, for example, mold over time to the shape of your foot, equalizing pressure and weight across the foot instead of putting pressure on the balls of your foot and heel. We offer an excellent selection of Birkenstock products in-store at Feet First Clinic. Check us out at 2481 Bloor Street West.

Even popular sports brands like Hoka One One now offer supportive flip flops called the Ora Recovery Slide. Of course, everyone reacts differently to footwear so experiment until you find products that work best for you.

Treat your feet

Protect your feet in the summer by adressing issues including discoloured or black toenails, callouses, dried skin, fungus, and blisters.

Tips To Protect Feet Summer

Simple tips including keeping your nails short, scrubbing away dead skin, and keeping your feet dry (or moisturizing, if necessary) can help keep your feet healthy throughout the summer. If any foot issues arise or persist, visit the clinic and talk to an expert to discuss the appropriate course of action.

Are You Wearing the Right Shoes for Your Feet?

How Footwear Plays a Part in Foot Function

Were you ever recommended a shoe from a friend that just did not live up to its expectation? They may have helped your friend with his/her foot issues, but not your own? Many people don’t know you should be wearing shoes according to your foot type. What might work for your friend to alleviate foot pain and improve their foot function, may not necessarily work for you.

Before we get into the details, it is always important to follow these general guidelines when looking for proper footwear:

  1. Size

Your shoe should be the correct length and width. As a general rule of thumb, allow for one digit’s width distance between your longest digit and the end of the shoe. Also, make sure any bunion deformities are accommodated.

  1. Stability

To check for good stability in a shoe, you want to make sure you cannot bend the shoe in half or twist it along the midfoot. The only place it should display good flexion is at the forefoot where your toes begin.

  1. Grip

The outer sole of the shoe should have enough grip to prevent or at least not encourage the foot from slipping when walking.

  1. Activity appropriate

Always consider the activity you intend on using the shoes for when purchasing shoes. Some shoes are made specific to a sport and for good reason. For instance, cleats help to increase friction between the ground and the shoe to reduce risk of falls and injury.

Now, depending on your FOOT TYPE, you should look for certain characteristics in a shoe.

In general, we can categorize feet into three main categories:

  1. Overpronator

Your feet tend to roll inwards towards its arches when walking. Typically, your feet are very mobile or flexible. You may notice your foot widens quite a bit when standing and your arches lower significantly, if not completely flatten.

The best shoe for this foot type is a motion control shoe. This shoe has a straighter sole or last and offers a stiffer heel to counter overpronation.

  1. Oversupinator (underpronator)

Your feet tend to be a bit more rigid and stiff. You may also feel pressures along the outer edge of your foot rather than at the arch. Finally, you most likely have a high arch with pressure points at the ball of the foot and the heel.

The best shoe for this foot type is a cushioning shoe. This type of shoe includes increased shock absorption and minimal arch support to encourage pronation. Shoes with a mouldable sole may also help to redistribute pressures along the bottom of your foot.

  1. Neutral

Your foot does not have a high or flat arch, rather more medium to low. You pronate an appropriate amount. When looking at your feet from behind in standing position, your heels are relatively straight.

The best shoe for this foot type is a stability shoe. A stability shoe helps to decelerate mild pronation and also has some cushioning features.

Educating yourself is the first step towards better foot health. Second, is practicing what you know. Happy shoe shopping!

Wearing High Heels All of the Time Is Hard on your Body

Whether it’s a pair of black patent leather pumps, sky-high ruby red stilettos or strappy sandals, high heels are considered wardrobe staples that belong in a woman’s closet. They’re used for special occasions and everyday work-life, going out dancing or going for an important interview. Sadly, these beloved fashion statements can damage parts of your body over time.

Anyone who has ever worn a pair of high heels knows that after a few hours of standing and walking, your feet are throbbing. It’s a relief just to slip them off, sit down and let your pulsing toes have a little bit of a rest. These aches and pains come after only a few hours of wearing the shoes — the long-term effects are much worse.

One of the health problems that people can get from wearing high heels is developing large bumps called bunions on the outsides of their big toes. A bunion is a permanent side-effect, but you can get corrective surgery to remove part of the bone and add screws to keep the foot in an appropriate position.

Another one of the distressing things that high heels do to your feet is create hammertoes, which is when your little toes bend and buckle from the pressure of standing on them. Hammertoe is awkward and sometimes painful. Flexible hammertoes can be reversed through physiotherapy, orthopedic shoe replacements or corrective surgery.

You can explore our website to find out more info about common foot conditions that high heels create like ingrown nails, corns, calluses and blisters. Other types of shoes can cause these, but this style is a popular explanation for a lot of complaints.

Other than foot problems, high heels prematurely age your joints because they won’t allow your knee to straighten while accommodating for the additional weight placed on your legs. The reflex changes your gait (how you walk) and wears down your knees over time.

You’ll also find that high heels cause lower back pain by forcing your lower back to arch to compensate for the fact that you’re balancing your body weight on the balls of your feet. The shoes force your body weight to pull forward, so you lean back when you stand. The position puts a lot of stress on your spinal discs. Sticking with the shoes can lead to poor posture, persistent aches and muscle spasms.

toronto foot clinic

If you have any of the previous physical ailments, you can go to the Toronto foot clinic to see a trained chiropodist to help you find the right foot care options. Solutions for your symptoms can range from simple skin treatments to physical therapy to video gait analysis.

It’s also recommended that you swap your high heels for orthopedics, which will give you the support and comfort you need. You can check out the brands of footwear we carry to see what amazing choices we have for sensible but stylish dress shoes that you will want to put inside of your closet.

It’s clear that high heels are not worth the aches and pains that they put you through. These fashion fundamentals damage your feet, your knees and your back much more than you think. Push those sandals, stilettos and pumps to the back of the closet — it’s time to change up your footwear.