What makes a shoe comfortable? First of all, "comfortable shoes" means vastly different things to different people. That's why we carry so many different options at Chattanooga Shoe Company. Some people think having arch support makes a shoe comfortable. Other people say cushioning is what makes a shoe comfortable. Maybe if you have a wide foot, having a wide toebox is what feels good. So in this post, I try to address the hot topic of arch support.
Some people say they absolutely need arch support...but do they really? Unless you have any of the following conditions, you may not need it.
- Plantar Fasciitis or Heel Pain. When you first stand up in the morning, a sharp pain enters your heel and you can barely walk. This could be Plantar Fasciitis. It's not fun and might stick around a lot longer than you would like, especially if it goes untreated. Arch support can help by providing stability and evenly distributing the pressure across the entire length of the foot therefore reducing irritation to the ligament and helping the healing process.
- Flat Feet or High Arch. If you have flat feet, you may have associated feet or joint pain and/or overpronate (the rolling inward of the foot while walking or running). Arch support can help by relieving pressure on the arch of the foot as well as preventing overpronation (which leads to a host of issues including plantar fasciitis, shin splints, bunions, heel spurs, achilles tendonitis, etc...not fun right?) For high arches, you may not have any problems at all however, it's not out of the question. I myself have high arches and I have suffered from multiple ankle sprains over the years and general instability. If you have these issues or some sort of foot pain(and high arches), arch support can help by relieving excessive pressure and foot strain by evenly distributing pressure on your feet and even increasing shock absorption.
- Foot Swelling. Sometimes your feet will just swell, especially after a long day on your feet, however, if it is a common problem or lasts longer than usual, arch support may be a great preventative measure. Arch support may not help with foot swelling directly however, foot swelling may discourage physical activity, even walking. Since staying active helps improve circulation, wearing shoes with arch support will keep you active and therefore reduce the likelihood of swelling.
- Balance Issues. Shoes with arch support may help with general instability, regardless the reason. For flatter feet, the right arch support can more correctly align your body and give you a better sense of stability. Shoes with arch support will more evenly distribute the weight on your feet, therefore stabilizing your body while walking, running or even just standing.
- Other Complications. Arch support may be very helpful for a variety of other foot and body alignment issues.
Wearing shoes with arch support may not be the end all/be all of curing all foot ailments however, it's a great place to start! If you're experiencing any of the above, try shoes with built-in arch support. You an also buy over-the-counter arch supports but they will likely only fit into athletic footwear. For the best fit and support, buy shoes with arch support already built-in.
This article is not meant to treat, diagnose or cure any condition. Please consult your doctor if you are having any issues or discomfort of any kind.