We’re all about protective styles when it comes to our hair—but what about our feet? Did you know African-American women are 3 times as likely as other ethnic groups to experience bunions, hammer or overlapping toes and flat feet ? High heels, hard shoes and even sandals can cause or exacerbate all these symptoms and conditions, so as a woman—with a size 10 foot—who is passionate about shoes, I’m always on the hunt for shoes that are good for my feet and look good too, especially with spring now just around the corner.
Whenever possible, I make it a habit to buy my shoes a half-size up, and then add a premium-quality foam insole to make even a pair of heels feel like a pair of sneakers. Good insoles don’t come cheap though; they can be priced anywhere from $15.00 to $50.00 for a top-of-the-line insole that fits into a dress shoe. The good thing is you only need one pair of insoles for dress shoes and one for sneakers. It’s a small investment, but one that can payoff big, as it’s a way to double to your shoe wardrobe: first by extending the life of your sneakers indefinitely and also by making the rest of your shoe wardrobe a lot more comfortable, so you’ll wear them all more often.
The Insole Store is one of the absolute best sources to find an insole to comfort and soothe your particular foot type or condition with insoles tailored to fit everything from sneakers to stilettos. To identify the best corrective insert for your foot, call their customer service line to describe your specific needs, from where you feel pain in your feet to the residual pain it can cause in your back. Set aside a good twenty minutes for the call, because you’ll probably only need to do it once, so you’ll want to get it right.
For me, sandals are always where it gets tricky. You think you’re doing yourself a favor by wearing flats, but when there’s no cushioning or arch support, the tips of your toes and the may be on holiday, but the rest of your foot is working overtime. Your back—not to mention your pedicure—pay the price. The friction of feet sliding against flip flops and sandals when you walk causes calluses on the heels and balls and of the feet. Can you say pedicure killer?
Unless you’re walking on sand or grass for the majority of the day (I’m about that life, even though I only live it on vacation), the impact of shoes without cushioning can be a stressor for the body. One my quick remedies for relieving tension in my feet is rolling a golf ball under the soles of my feet for a quick reflexology massage. I keep one in my desk, for quick and easy relief. Try it—it does wonders, I promise.
I’m a sneaker-head for sure, so whenever I come across shoes that feel like sneakers, I’m in on the protective style tip. As we move toward Spring, Nalho sandals are my new obsession. Inspired by traditional styles like Spanish espadrilles and Indian slides, these sandals feature lush cushy soles modeled after yoga mats, with memory foam padding and soft comfortable cotton uppers. Nahlo sandals are designed to support the arch of the foot, absorb impact on the heels and cushion the ball of the foot; taking care of the three major points that can lead to issues if left unprotected.
Bottom line: I love a cute shoe that’s protective, but not clunky. Sexy doesn’t always have to mean stiletto—although trust me, if I could get away with wearing stilettos 24/7 and a diet of champagne and French fries, I would. But until we get to that point in our evolutionary—or devolutionary scale—I’ll be tackling the ups and downs of the shoe world by doing my best to balance protecting the health of my feet with my wicked desire for style.