The feet are a commonly neglected area of the body, and as a result we see a wide range of foot concerns at The Alignment Studio. Healthy feet are crucial to keep us mobile, which is why we’re such big fans of the work of podiatrist turned shoe designer Anna Baird and the team at Bared Footwear! Bared shoes pair fashion with function (seriously! Check them out here) and ALL designs are orthotics-friendly. We sat down with Anna to find out what makes happy feet. So, put your feet up and read on!
What are the most common foot concerns in women?
The most common foot concerns for women that we see at Bared are: Plantas Fasciitis which usually presents as heel or arch pain, Bunions and the pain associated in the big toe joint, Neuromas which are the thickening of a nerve in the foot which can be very painful, and also lots of corns and calluses that are caused from excess pressure on areas of the feet.
And in men?
For men, we also see a lot of Plantar Fasciitis and heel pain, but also a lot of flat feet, and also arthritis in certain joints in the foot that is giving them grief.
How important is foot health to overall health and wellbeing?
Foot health and hygiene is extremely important. People often neglect their feet until there is a problem and we often forget that our feet are what make us mobile. The average person will walk more that 128,000 km in their life time, so your feet need a bit of TLC.
What should you look for in a shoe?
People tend to choose their shoes by look first, and there is nothing wrong with that! Just keep in mind the best shoes for you are ones that offer support and protection. Look for shoes that are made from natural materials such as leather, as they are more breathable and your feet will love you for it.
Also shoes that have a stable sole, and some sort of fastening to the foot by laces or straps – your feet shouldn’t have to work hard just to keep a shoe on. Correct fit is also vitally important with a shoe, as we shouldn’t be squeezing our feet into unnatural shapes or positions.
Other than wearing the correct footwear, how can you keep your feet healthy and pain- and injury-free?
Be aware that your feet are very complex structures that go through a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis. If you notice something doesn’t feel or look right, then see a health professional sooner rather than later.
I like wearing high heels. How can I minimise the damage?
Wearing high heels puts a lot more pressure on the front of our feet. To reduce this pressure, look for heels that have a wide and stable heel unit (stay away from those stilettos!), and the more structure and fastenings to the foot, the more supportive they will be.
How are Bared shoes different?
Bared shoes are designed to have all the aspects that we as podiatrists recommend in shoes. All our footbeds/insoles (whether built in in our sandals and heels, or removable in all our other styles) have arch support, heel cushioning and support, a metatarsal dome to offload the forefoot, and a cuboid notch to improve foot function.
Our shoes themselves all have a steel shank from the heel to the ball of the foot for structure, ridged heel counters for support, are made of quality leather uppers, and have some sort of fastening to the foot. They also have enough depth to accommodate most orthotic devices. Our most important difference is that all of these features are hidden in a cool pair of shoes!