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Friday, March 28, 2008

The Worst Shoes Women Can Wear

Maybe we should all just go barefoot.

Finding the perfect pair of shoes is a quest for many women. Sexy is always good. Stylish is essential. Comfortable is wonderful, but not always thought to be necessary. We are ruining our feet. Just ask podiatrists who are probably able to send their children to the nation's most expensive colleges thanks to their brisk business repairing so many feet wounded by high-heels.

"The current trend in fashion is very bad for women's feet," Dr. Lloyd Smith told New York Times reporter Lorraine Kreahling. Smith is president of the American Podiatric Medical Association. "Super high heels with very narrow toes create problems and exacerbate existing conditions."

Why are high heels the bad boys of the shoe world? Dr. Tzvi Bar-David, a doctor of podiatric medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, explained the physics to the New York Times: High heels lift your foot out of its natural position, which in turn shortens the Achilles' tendon. They also pitch the weight of your body forward so it's disproportionately resting on the ball of your foot. That upsets the stabilizing mechanics of the foot. "High heels have a narrow area of contact and they point the toes downward, which puts the foot in an internally rotated position and makes their wearer more prone to spraining an ankle," Dr. Bar-David explained.

So if super high heels are bad for our feet (Duh! We knew that!), then what can we wear? Smith offers his shoe dos and don'ts to the Times:

  • Round-toed shoes with five- or six-inch heels may be fashionable, but they aren't any better than the super high heels.
  • Flip-flops
  • , the antithesis of high heels, must be great for our feet, right? Wrong. Smith calls them "close to horrible for the feet." He says, "They are totally flat, soft and squishy, and offer no support and no protection. They can also catch on things and expose nearly naked feet to being stepped on.
  • Athletic shoes
  • , if not properly fitted, can even lead to problems that require medical intervention.
  • Tight dress shoes
  • can put so much pressure on nerves that they can be damaged, which can eventually lead to arthritis.

So what CAN you wear on your feet? The New York Times reports: "Medical experts agree the best shoes for healthy feet mimic the foot's natural shape, while offering support in the arch and a flexible sole underneath the toes, the way most athletic shoes do."

Smith advises you to look for the following when purchasing shoes:

  • Relatively flat sole.
  • The heel should fit snugly into the shoe.
  • There should be lots of room in the toe box for your tootsies.
  • The uppers should be constructed of soft materials.
  • The shoe should have laces that make it adjustable.
source: Netscape.com

So what are the most comfortable shoe brands?
According to Zappos, we can have several options to pair comfort and style. Here are some of the hottest comfort brands:

BeautiFeel
BeautiFeel footwear was founded in 1990 out of a profound conviction that today's modern woman deserves shoes which combine the basic features of comfort & beauty, health & esthetics, natural feel & advanced design, with quality materials & craftsmanship. This combination of the comfort features with unique, advanced design, proper use of materials and colors, makes Beautifeel the fashion leader in the Dress Comfort field, and popular in many countries worldwide. Beautifeel shoes and sandals combine supple leather, padded insoles and a variety of sizes and widths to create footwear that is not only beautiful but they feel good too. When you are a Beautifeel woman, you can enjoy comfort, style and fit all in one gorgeous shoes. BeautiFeel offers a wide range of shoes and sandals, in a wealth of designs and colors, each enabling you to enjoy the unique combination of BeautiFeel features each season.

ara
For over 50 years, Ara has been providing its customers with footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. This commitment to fashion, fitting, and quality has allowed Ara to become one of Europe s greatest producers of women s footwear. With factories and offices in 6 countries, Ara is able to draw from a multitude of creative sources to deliver products that are on the leading edge of fashion and comfort. Using only the finest materials, each product is manufactured paying the utmost attention to detail and quality. Ara designs each shoe to cushion the foot s complex anatomical structure. Ara also offers patented Goretex technology in selected styles for increased breathability in the summer or warmth and moisture-proofing in the winter. From leather to suede, from boots to flats you are sure to find something that will give that special touch to your wardrobe. Whether you are heading to work or out for a night on the town, Ara s wide range of styles will not disappoint. The best part, your feet will not only look great adorned in Ara footwear, they will feel great as well.

Fitzwell
Tired of compromising comfort for style? All Fitzwell styles have the perfect combination of both comfort AND style. The gel insole collection has been laboratory tested to withstand up to 1,000 lbs of pressure to insure durability and absorbs the shock from every step we take. Don't suffer another day with shoes that aren't quite as comfortable as you'd like. Discover how good the perfect fit can feel with Fitzwell.

Trotters
From its very beginning in 1935, Trotters has been dedicated to creating high-quality women's footwear with appealing looks and exceptional comfort. Trotters first shoes were moccasins made by Native American craftspeople in Old Town, Maine, where the company was founded. The unique comfort of Trotters shoes begins with careful choice of materials: the softest leathers, high-tech cushioning and flexible soles. And unlike many companies, Trotters develops a separate last (the form around which the leather is shaped) for each size and width. So every pair feels like it was made just for you. Trotters shoes not only come in wide range of sizes and widths, there is a large selection of styles to pick from including sandals, shoes and boots. With so many choices, you are sure to find the perfect pair of Trotters shoes.

Stonefly
Nature created human beings barefoot, but evolution has changed the rules. Stonefly's answer to the strenuous life that knows no compromise: the answer is Absolute Comfort. Footwear born of sophisticated technological choices and thus capable of guaranteeing limitless comfort no matter what the place or occasion: in the office, at home, out in a rainstorm, in the height of winter. Stonefly just won't settle for less. Stonefly was founded in 1993 with the precise goal of introducing a new concept of comfort to city footwear. To reach it, it intertwined creativity with Made-in-Italy quality, experience, research, innovation and a constant eye on the market. To maintain it, Stonefly undertook research, created structures, organized networks and entered joint ventures. Today they have achieved leadership in the international sector of comfort, with a complete range of footwear for men, women and children.

Mephisto: Mephisto Shoes
For more than 35 years our goal has been the same: to create and manufacture the world's finest walking shoes. True to its heritage, MEPHISTO shoes are designed and built to be perfect. That is the reason we utilize more than 140 different operations and take more than 90 minutes to manufacture a single pair of MEPHISTO shoes. It is this ideal combination of know-how, technology and experienced craftsmanship that has made MEPHISTO shoes one of the leading companies in France and a benchmark of perfection known around the world. MEPHISTO has won numerous quality and design awards over the years. It is no wonder MEPHISTO customers are so loyal. When people experience MEPHISTO hand crafted quality, they discover true value.



Earth: Earth Shoes: Women's
Imagine a shoe so different it changes how you think about footwear - and exercise. Earth shoes Kals Negative Heel Technology shifts your weight back, helping you burn calories while strengthening and toning your body. It s a part of every Earth shoe design, and part of being good to your whole self. Earth shoes Kals Negative Heel Technology also includes a unique design that positions your toes higher than your heels. A slight incline of 3.7 is complemented by support through the arch, which positions the body to trigger an array of benefits for the whole body. Earth shoes also feature a form-fitting, cushioned footbed with Gelron2000 memory gel to provide a comfortable and healthy experience.