Apologies if I’m conjuring up bad memories of your mum taking you to Clarks aged 7 to buy some “sensible” yet distressingly, unstylish shoes. However, your feet really are worth looking after, and a little extra thought about footwear during the 30 plus degree heat will pay off in the long run. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, summer shoes, such as flip flops and light weight pumps are generally suboptimal as far as foot biomechanics go. Why? The reasons are many but here are just a few;
- They don’t have much of a heel/they’re way too flat – this puts extra strain on your Achilles as most “proper” shoes have a bit of a heel
- They’re bendy – as in you can fold them length ways too easily. This puts extra stress on your big toe joint in the final phase of walking and can make it very painful
- No arch support – for some people, not all, this means the foot moves too much from side to side asking the muscles in the lower leg and plantar fascia to do far more than they’re used too
- Very little cushioning – consequently when you strike the ground with your heel the fat pad that exists there naturally gets a bit of a shock
Ok, so you’re not going to don your lace up, leather upper, contoured soled shoes this summer. So here are a few tips to help you compromise and prevent foot and ankle injuries.
- Walk less – this may seem like a terrible suggestion but a lot of Londoners now walk close to or above the 10k steps a day that we aim to hit. If you’re in “bad” shoes, aiming to hit that target, in my opinion, is a false economy since you’re likely to end up with sore feet and a possible overuse injury that may actually stop you being able to walk very far for quite some time! So, if you tend to walk lots, perhaps have an easier day every other to give your feet a rest or pick up a Boris bike.
- Switch up the crappy shoes – if you chose to wear flimsy shoes, rotate through your wardrobe as at least you’ll be putting slightly different loads and pressures through your feet each day and you’ll be less likely to pick up an injury.
- Birkenstocks – As seen in the picture, my beautiful hoofs, and I promise I’m not on commission. But these badgers are actually pretty decent at controlling unwanted motion in the foot and I think they look rather nice.
- Calf stretches – a little generic, but stretching your calf muscles 2-3 x a day for 1 minute, over the summer months, will help keep common foot pathologies such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis at bay
Now let’s hope I haven’t jinxed the weather with all this chat….