I think it is fair to say that my whole life I have been health-conscious. In first grade, while eating at my best friend’s house, her mother asked if I wanted macaroni and cheese for lunch. I kindly declined and requested a salad. If you are reading the posts at aSweatLife, you are likely also mindful about the way that you eat, and a person who enjoys the exercise endorphin rush.
We do a lot to keep our bodies in fine working order, but there is something many of us are doing that disrupts our healthy lifestyles, particularly our ability to move well. It is the shoes on our feet. Yes, this post is in part about high heels, but I do not just write of those four-inch stilettos.
Both men’s and women’s shoes often have at least a one-inch heel. Additionally, nearly all of us — men, women and children — have been cramming our feet into shoes that do not have a healthy sole or toe box. Whether you have noted pain in your feet or body at this juncture or not, over time improper footwear can become quite problematic to your feet, and also your knees, your back and your hips, and the overall alignment of your body.
Some months ago now, I began to experience strange and painful foot problems. The deep discomfort was partly due to a neuroma. I was desperate to ease the pain. As I am now living in China, I sought an eastern approach with acupuncture. It helped a good deal, but I could tell something still was not right.
As I was going in to get my needle treatments several times a week, I was also doing a good deal of research. A friend pointed me in the direction of biomechanist Katy Bowman. Her blog, podcasts and books were enlightening. And I now have a completely new shoe wardrobe.
I am quite excited to share with you three brands of shoes I found to ease my foot pain, and also help to alleviate knee and hip inflammation. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all of the great shoes on the market, but simply what I have been able to purchase and prance around in so far.
I bought the sandal with the strap in back. I remember my chiropractor frowning at my flip flops last summer, and through my research I have learned why she was not a big fan. Without something to hold the shoe on in back, your toes have to grip with each step, and over time this may cause hammertoes, among other issues. My Havaianas sandals are super cushy because they are flexible, as every good sole should be.
2. Toms boots
I didn’t even know Toms made boots until recently. And these boots were made for walking in those arctic temperatures of Chicago, Minneapolis … and Nepal. I also love a shoe with a cause. “Each pair [of Toms boots] helps raise funds and awareness for the Shikshya Foundation Nepal and the rebuilding of Nepal, [the designer’s] home and inspiration behind his designs.”
These are my new faves. I have been posting about them all over Facebook. In fact, I learned about them when one of those random, usually annoying, videos popped up while I was scrolling through my feed. They are made out of recycled plastic bottles. One of my friends asked if they were scratchy when I noted this. And the answer is: not at all. I love the fabric. They are uber light, machine-washable and earth-friendly. Love, love, love!
Now walk on, friends, walk on!