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Pick up any fashion magazine and you’ll see a tremendous variety of flat shoes: ballet slippers, flip-flops, loafers, plimsolls, sandals and more. Over the past year or so, an increasing number of women have followed in style icon Victoria Beckham’s footsteps by discarding their skyscraper heels and stepping out in fashionable flats instead. One shoe retailer recently reported that its flat shoes had outsold high heels by almost 150%.

Many people think of flat footwear as a ‘safe’ option, especially if they’ve experienced foot problems caused by high heels, which force feet into unnatural positions. However, poorly designed or ill-fitting flats can be just as harmful as heels. In fact, ballet slippers and flip-flops are among the worst shoes for foot health, as highlighted by health resource WebMD.

Whether you wear flats frequently or just occasionally, it’s crucial to be aware of the foot issues associated with them and seek expert help if you have any concerns.

Flat Shoes Lack Foot Support

Flimsy, flat footwear is unlikely to provide you with enough arch support, especially if you have flat feet. Poor foot support puts excessive strain on your tendons and joints, leading to fallen arches, Achilles tendonitis, sore ankles, knees and hips, as well as reduced mobility.

Another problem with unsupportive shoes is that they’re associated with plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the thick tissue running along your soles becomes inflamed. It’s the most common cause of heel pain and, in severe cases, can be agonising.

Thin Soles Aren’t Shock-Absorbing

Dainty shoes with ultra-thin soles look chic and are a familiar sight in cities such as London, where women swap their heels for flats in order to make the daily commute easier. Unfortunately, the thinner the soles, the higher your risk of crippling foot problems. That’s because thin soles lack the shock-absorbing qualities possessed by cushioned alternatives.

Whereas thick soles minimise the toll that walking on hard surfaces takes on your feet and other lower limbs, thin ones offer worryingly little protection against the impact of repeatedly striking the ground. That results in extra wear-and-tear on your muscles, tendons and joints, prompting discomfort and pain that begins in your feet and radiates through your body.

Slip-Ons Lead to Deformed Toes

In slip-ons, your toes are forced to curl tightly when you walk, as they try to grip the shoes and prevent them falling off. If your feet move around too much inside your footwear, you’ll develop sores and blisters. Moreover, with prolonged wear, slip-ons can cause hammertoes.

If you buy slip-ons in a smaller size than usual to try and stop your feet moving around, you’re likely to experience other problems. Flat shoes that pinch the front of your feet put pressure on toes, increasing your likelihood of developing painful ingrown toenails. The sweaty environment those shoes create is also the ideal breeding ground for athlete’s foot.

Specialist Foot Care from London Podiatrists

If you wear flat shoes and are experiencing foot pain or other problems, it’s vital that you don’t ignore the issue. Professional help from our experienced London podiatrists can be invaluable. Our podiatry services encompass everything from general foot health check-ups to biomechanical assessments and custom-made orthotics.

That means we have the knowledge, skills and treatment options required to solve your foot problems. We can also help you to select the best footwear for your needs, protecting you against foot health issues linked to inappropriate shoes (whether flat or not).

For specialist foot care at modern London podiatry clinics, please call Feet By Pody today on 0207 099 6657 or book your appointment online