Slippers and rubber clogs may feel comfy but they can be really bad for your feet
What may feel comfortable may not actually be good for your feet. If you have calluses, corns and deformities such as bunions or claw toes, they are indications that you have been, or still are, wearing ill-fitting shoes.
Whether you favour the thong style or the ones with a strap across your toes, slippers aren’t exactly the best for your feet.
Flip-flops cling loosely to the feet between the first and second toes, and this design has multiple flaws, said Leow Yen Yong, a podiatrist at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. “They offer the feet close to no support, there is no fastening system to secure the foot in place, there is nothing securing the heel, and they offer the foot minimal protection,” he said.
The ones with the horizontal straps aren’t great either. “These slippers are only slightly better than the thong ones as the larger band of material on top helps to better fixate the foot,” said Leow.
With those attributes, your feet move about excessively when you walk. And when the movement is extended over a prolonged period of time, it may lead to overuse injuries of the muscles and tendons in the feet and legs, resulting in tendinitis or heel pain, said Leow. “Other problems that may arise are the worsening of any foot deformities, nail issues, and callus and corn build-up.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you don’t have any issues or pain, chances are, you can continue wearing your slippers – just not all the time, please. But if you are experiencing issues, switch to something else as soon as possible, said Leow.
Ballet flats. (Photo: Unsplash/Erandy Ramirez)
Deemed as the more down-to-earth sisters to high heels, ballet flats are popular among women as both work and casual shoes. But they have their shortcomings, too. “Flats lack supportive cushioning, and the toe box is almost always too narrow for the foot,” said Leow.
With the popularity of online shopping, many e-shoppers may also end up ordering the wrong sizes. Women who buy ballet flats that are too small for them are all too familiar with blisters and skin tears.
“One of the more commonly seen problems in our patients are calluses. Calluses are hardened skin lesions that form from continual, excessive amounts of pressure on the skin,” said Leow.
But don’t shoes expand with wear, and doesn’t that justify getting shoes that are just a smidge smaller? “This holds true to a certain extent. However, ballet flats often become too loose and may begin to rub on your skin, causing blisters, calluses and corns to possibly develop,” said Leow. For this reason, it is also not wise to wear shoes that are too big for you.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you shop online, do what the experienced e-shoppers do: Head to a physical store and try on the footwear you have your eye on before ordering them online. That way, you’ll know if the size fits you for sure.
Streetwear sneakers. (Photo: Unsplash/Dorian Hurst)
To up your street-style cred, these shoes are usually designed with a narrower and tighter fit to “hug” the foot, observed Leow. “These types of shoes may not be appropriate for people with broad feet.”
The tight fit may also predispose your foot to friction on every aspect: The sides, top and bottom. This, in turn, will lead to the development of corns, calluses, abrasions and potentially, foot deformities in the long run, warned Leow.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you add padding or cushioning (the shoe already lacks adequate space to begin with), you will increase the chances of corns, calluses, and abrasions developing instead. So, if you experience pain or discomfort in these shoes, they may not be right for you – no matter how on-trend they look.
Sports shoes. (Photo: Unsplash/Matthew LeJune)
“These may well be the most ideal type of footwear as they generally have all the features of fit and support,” said Leow. But to truly benefit from the shoes, they should always be selected according to the specific activity, advised Leow. A shoe that is meant for running isn’t going to suit your needs for, say, crossfit training.
“Take jogging, for example. It is a high-intensity activity, and for the Average Joe, your shoes should ideally have a supportive shank to provide your feet with adequate support,” he said. “If someone were to use a minimalist sports shoe – where the mid-sole is very flexible but offers less support – for long hours of weight-bearing activity, it could lead to an easier onset of fatigue in the legs, or in the worst case scenario, pain.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you are experiencing pain in your feet or legs, and changing your shoes has not improved anything, consider seeing a podiatrist. “They can assess your shoes, analyse your gait and perform a biomechanical assessment with the possibility of dispensing insoles if necessary,” said Leow.
Rubber clogs. (Photo: Bernard Hermant / Unsplash)
They are back and still as ugly as ever – perhaps even more so. The clog’s other flaw is its lack of a heel counter.
“The heel is not secured, causing the foot to slide back and forth, and creating friction on the bottom of the foot,” said Leow. “It also causes the toes to claw to stabilise the foot.” But it does have a redeeming quality, that is, its deep and broad toe box, he said.
Like slippers, which also lack heel counters, your feet will move excessively during walking. Over time, this may lead to similar overuse injuries, such as tendinitis or heel pain, said Leow. Worsening foot deformities, nail problems, and callus and corn build-ups are also commonly seen, he said.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Rubber clogs may be suitable for short-term use, but they are definitely not recommended for wear throughout the day. If your feet are in pain after wearing clogs, you may need to consider changing to a different style of footwear./.