By Mary Svensson, Sole Savers Shoe Store
Feet are the foundation of the body. If your feet hurt, you hurt all over. Did you know that 75 percent of all foot problems are caused by wearing improper shoes? Shoes that do not provide the proper arch and heel support can put your body out of alignment and cause stress on the legs, hips, and back. Feet were designed to walk on soft, natural elements like soil and sand, not the hard, flat, man-made surfaces that make up so much of our modern world.
Fortunately, there are many companies that are designing amazing shoes that provide support, comfort, and style! When shopping for the perfect shoe, look for shoes that do the following:
- Are comfortable right away. You shouldn’t have to “break them in” or stretch them out.
- Are made with quality materials like real Italian leather and maybe even hand stitched
- Have a footbed that will shape to your foot — just like the footprint you leave when walking in the sand
- Support your hallux, the natural hold of the big toe, from slipping forward
- Have an elevated insole which releases pressure in the joints of the metatarsal area of the foot
- Have excellent arch support that will enable the weight of the body to be evenly distributed and reduce pressure generated by the joints and spine
- Have a deep heel cup. This is especially important to help align and balance the body.
- Are able to cushion and absorb shock
- Have a magnificent array of eye-catching colors and styles to satisfy every taste
Be especially picky when choosing a “flip-flop” style as they can be particularly bad for feet. Thankfully, manufacturers have realized that flip-flops are a summer staple and there are now many designs that meet high podiatric standards for foot health. Following are some of our favorite brands that meet all of the above requirements.
Vionic shoes and sandals hug your arches like a natural footprint. We love them because they were designed by a foot doctor! They have a built-in Orthaheel technology that promotes alignment, supports the arch, and cradles the heel.
Naot shoes are handmade in Israel with real Italian leathers.
Taos footwear is designed in Southern California and produced globally, influenced by the namesake city of Taos, New Mexico, for its serenity, artistic nature, and casual lifestyle. Signature touches include natural stones, metal ornaments, and playful embroidery — all referencing their natural heritage.
Wolky shoes are designed to feel like cushy clouds. They have leather-covered footbeds that are carefully engineered using high-grade memory foam and natural, contoured cork to create a cushion that molds to your feet and absorbs the shock of all those steps you are taking. In many cases, the footbeds are removable so you can replace with a new one or a custom orthotic.
Alegria means happiness and joy, and that is what they will bring to your feet! Alegria started with a simple idea: to create comfortable shoes that promote happiness. Alegria brings this concept to life by designing shoes using supple leathers, vivid prints, and then pairing each distinctive creation with their patented footbed. They are available in casual wear, professional wear, sandals, wedges, heels, and boots.
Fitflops are fun and functional, using science and biomechanics to test their shoes. Fitflop shoes are designed by Dr. Kim Lilley who has a PhD in Biomechanics. Thanks to her innovation and expertise, Fitflop soles deliver extraordinary all-day comfort.
Altra running shoes are feather-light and very soft and supportive. In fact, Dr. Cortese runs in Altra shoes almost every day. Altra began with a few stores in the U.S. and is now experiencing significant global expansion. They have partnered with trail runners, marathoners, triathletes, thru-hikers, and many others who take footshape comfort to podiums and records in every discipline. Altra isn’t just for serious runners, they are a great choice for everyone.
Other brands we recommend and carry are New Balance, Brooks, Aetrex, Orthofeet, Anodyne, Revere, and Dr. Comfort.
Take a walk in our shoes and discover what it feels like to put on a great pair of shoes in the morning, wear them all day, and at the end of the day, be able to say, “Ahh, my feet feel great!”
Sole Savers Shoe Store is located on the corner of College Avenue and Veterans Parkway in Normal, Illinois (across from Chick-fil-A). You do not need an appointment, just walk in to Sole Savers Shoe Store and you will walk out with real comfort on your feet. They are open Monday thru Friday 9 to 4 and Saturdays (except holiday weekends) from 9 to 1.