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Will your shoes make it to midnight?

As a podiatrist—a foot doctor—I'm sometimes asked if high heels are really that bad for your feet. The answer is yes. Long term, wearing high heels speeds the formation of bunions (bony bump at the base of your big toe), hammer toes (little toes bent at the middle joint), toenail deformities and other foot problems.

For a New Year's Eve out on the town, choose your footwear wisely so you and your feet can make it to midnight:

  • Select shoes with arch support and cushioning in the heel and ball of the foot. This will help minimize tired and painful feet at the end of the night.
  • Avoid overly pointed toes and shoes with a narrow toe box. You should leave some room for your toes to wiggle.
  • Keep the heel height to one inch or less. The higher the heel, the more pressure that is put on the ball of the foot, toes and toenails.
  • Shoes with wider soles offer more stability, which means less chance of a sprain or fracture of the foot or ankle.
  • For shoes without much cushion or support, slip in a pair of orthotics (a foot pad or heel insert). There are some good over-the-counter orthotics found at most drug stores or sporting goods stores.

I know, a sassy pair of stilettos seem like they can really put the spirit into your outfit. But what good are they if all you can do is sit and admire them? Ending the night right starts with choosing shoes that protect and support your feet. When you choose your shoes wisely you and your feet will be able to dance the night away, stand in line or even hike from location to location (which is really important in the middle of a Minnesota winter).

I'll be planning my outfit around a pair of cute boots. There are so many fashionable boots and booties that look great with anything from jeans to a dress. Plus, orthotics fit easily inside a pair of boots.


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