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Even if the Shoe Fits, Maybe You Shouldn’t Wear It


If you’re thinking about wearing those haute Gucci pumps that you just broke the bank on: Don’t.

OK, we know how not cool that sounds. But wearing the wrong kind of shoes can cause severe heel foot, knee, hip and back pain. According to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, a person walks an average of 100,000 miles in their lifetime, and much of the gradual foot, leg and back pain experienced is due to the shoes and insoles we wear.

“Most shoes don’t have arch support,” said Mike Pincus, sales associate at Boulder Running Company. “There are different levels of shoe: there’s neutral, moderate stability, and motion control—most people should be wearing moderate stability shoes.”

Superfeet, a company that makes sturdy insoles sold at Boulder Running Company, Pedestrian Shops, REI and many other shoe stores, come in a variety of models, supporting both high and low insteps.

“Many people who experience soreness and issues with their feet are usually wearing the wrong shoe,” Pincus said. “The shoe is too soft and their foot is sinking in and not getting any support.”

Along with recommending a hard, sturdy insole, they help customers find the right shoe through a test run, literally. By recording a customer running on the treadmill, they can analyze their gait.

“We can determine if the foot is landing and rotating too quickly, excessively or in the early or later part of the foot strike,” said Mike Regan, sales associate at Boulder Running Company, who’s been in the shoe industry for 24 years.

Lauren Polk, general manager of Pedestrian Shops in Boulder, sells a variety of stable shoes, just as her parents did when they opened the store 36 years ago.

“The brands we carry are notable for comfort,” Lauren said. “Even the dressier shoes we carry, like TSUBO that have a heel are designed with good arch support and provide some cushion for people who are on their feet all day.”

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