I'm a Podiatrist and I'd Never Wear These 3 Pairs of Shoes
Ditch these common footwear options and pick something better for your feet instead.
Specialized doctors are a great source of niche information. Eye doctors can tell you the best way to keep your peepers healthy, dermatologists can share their secrets for glowing skin, and podiatrists can point you toward the best way to shop the shoe department for comfy, fashion-forward footwear. They can also tell you the items they'd never purchase. In a recent TikTok, UK-based podiatrist Paul Macaulay, who posts under the handle @paulthepodiatrist, did just that and shared the worst three shoes to wear. Read on to find out what footwear you might want to take out of your rotation.
Unsurprisingly, one of the first shoes Macaulay identified as a "don't" is the flip-flop.
"When you put your foot through the loops, you have to grip onto the shoe, and that can cause claw toeing," he says. "Also, when you're walking down the street, it's very easy to trip and fall when you're wearing these, and they don't offer your feet any support."
All three issues can cause aches and pains, as well as unsightly calluses.
Stiletto heels are often uncomfortable, but that's not the only reason Macaulay dislikes them. He explains that because they have such a thin base, it can be much more difficult to stabilize yourself, adding that a colleague recently fell in a pair and broke her foot.
"Such a high risk of injury isn't worth it, even to look nice," he says.
According to the Mayo Clinic, high heels can also put pressure on the small bones in your toes, possibly causing bunions and hammertoes. Plus, they cause the Achilles tendon to shorten, which can lead to injury over time.
However, the podiatrist isn't against all types of heels. "A one-and-a-half-inch heel is OK for most people," he says.
If you're looking to strut more safely, opt for something with a block heel.
The last shoe Macaulay says to skip is the most surprising: Skechers sneakers.
"The slip-on ones are made tighter to hold onto your feet and can squeeze your toes and cause problems such as neuromas," he says.
A neuroma is caused by thickened tissue on the ball of the foot, which can lead to pain that feels similar to standing on a pebble, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Beyond that, he says the shoes are extremely soft, meaning your feet have to do more work. "It may feel good, but then later on through the day, you're foot's more tired," he notes.
His last concern with these shoes is their longevity.
"They wear out so quickly, and even though they seem like a great deal, you must replace them every one to two months," he says. "I don't think that's very good."
Here's what he suggests instead.
In another video on TikTok, Macaulay said there are three shoes he wears often and recommends.
The first is a loafer-type shoe from Bared Footwear. He identifies a few things he likes about the shoe: First, they have removable insoles, which means he can put his own insoles into them to customize the fit and add support. He also likes that there's lots of space inside the shoes, so the toes aren't cramped. Finally, they have a small block heel, which he says takes some stress off the calf and the top of the Achilles tendon.
"That prevents a lot of people's issues," he shares.
Next, he calls out the Asics Gel-Kayano, a shoe he says he does most of his walking in. He notes that the shoe has a firm heel counter that locks the ankle in and also has great support through the mid-foot area.
"It's obviously a lace-up, too, which I like," he says.
His final favorite is the Nike Air Force 1. "This is a great shoe for going to the mall, going for dinner, meeting my friends, and things like that when I'm tending to do maybe 2,000 to 5,000 steps," he says.
He likes the extra-wide toe area, the lace-up design, and the fact that it has a higher top that offers ankle stability.
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