Monday, September 14, 2009

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, our feet are more susceptible to injury than any other part of the body. Because of this, we should be doing everything necessary to protect our feet. This includes supporting them with well-made footwear.

A number of different ailments affecting the heel, arch and tendons of the foot, can be linked back to poorly manufactured and unsupportive shoes.

Unfortunately, the potential for injury doesn't stop at the foot. Wearing the wrong shoes can also have detrimental effects on:

  • your back
  • your ankles
  • your knees
  • your spinal alignment
  • your neck

Superior Manufacturing:

A key ingredient to a long-lasting, supportive shoe is how well it's made. Wrapping your feet in good materials is important in preventing injury to not only your feet, but the rest of your body, as well.

  • Cabela's Guidewear Toggle Boat Shoes are not only well constructed casual shoes, but they offer a shock-absorbing footbed and a mid-foot support bridge.
  • Woolrich's Elm Creek Clog has a fleece footbed with latex cushion for ultra comfort and a durable, lightweight sole for support. The Italian wool upper will add to the shoe's longevity. Woolrich has long been known for their superior footwear construction and durability.
  • Gander Mountain's Teva Westwater Slip On shoe also offers a combination of quality footwear manufacturing and foot-healthy features. Its sponge EVA footbed offers comfort, while its Traction Rubber outsole provides anti-slip coverage and promotes durability.

Memory Foam and Latex Insoles:

When it comes to finding shoes that will protect your feet, the importance of a quality, cushioned insole is vital. You'd be hard-pressed to find anything that beats the comfort and support of memory foam or latex insoles. Memory foam instantly molds to the shape of your foot and provides arch support, increases stability and relieves pressure on the ball of your foot, as well as on your joints. Latex insoles divert pressure away from the foot and are great for all-year-wear. The latex is breathable, keeping feet feeling fresh and cool in summer months and warm during the winter. Both memory foam and latex insoles help cushion the shock of every step you take, providing ultimate protection for the foot.

  • J-41's Mary Jane Wedge is made with Jeep memory foam that conforms to the foot, allowing for superior comfort and support. An added bonus: a percentage of the sole is made from recycled rubber, which makes it not only great for feet, but also for the environment.
  • Woolrich's Fountain Hills has a high density, shock-absorbing latex insole, which provides superior cushioning for the foot. The insole is wrapped in a fleece lining, which will keep feet even warmer in the chilly months ahead.

Foot Support At Home:

The number of steps any given individual takes in a day varies greatly. But according to a study conducted by Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke and published in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise," it's safe to say that the average individual takes between 5,000-10,000 steps every single day. Now that is a whole lot of wear and tear on the foot. So even if you're smart enough to choose quality shoes for your everyday wear, it's also important to choose comfortable slippers, as well.

  • L.B. Evans' HideAway slippers are designed for those who struggle with swelling of the feet due to long periods of standing, or wearing improperly made shoes all day.
  • smartdogs' Bliss Slipper offers women a patented four-zone honeycomb footbed, a shock-absorbing, durable outsole and a midsole that claims to reduce foot and leg fatigue.
  • Lands' End Shearling Moc Slippers provide quality foot care. The comfortable slipper has a flexible sole suited for both indoor and outdoor use. It also has a padded footbed for added comfort and shock absorption.

Many injuries sustained from poorly constructed shoes have lasting effects that can impact your way of life. With companies out there whose sole purpose is to provide comfortable, supportive, quality footwear, why would anyone not take advantage?

Our feet are prized possessions that get us where we want to go, yet we don't value them nearly enough. With every one of those 5,000-plus steps we take each day, we owe our feet some serious quality care. By choosing comfortable footwear, not only will your feet thank you, but so will your back, ankles, knees...

Katie Pelikan is the Director of Marketing for the long established Daniel Green Company and a big fan of shoes that both look good and feel good. Founded in 1881, the company is known for quality slippers and casual footwear made with the finest workmanship and materials. More information and the online store can be found at danielgreen.com, and the author can be contacted at kpelikan@elanpolo.com.

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