Flat Shoes: One of the Hottest Trends that Can Cause Serious Damage

At least they’re more stylish than smoking cigarettes

Some of the hottest shoe brands in the world also make some of the flattest, least supportive shoes. These brands are also using cheap and ineffective materials on the inside of shoes to cut costs. For shoe brands, shoe style from the outside trumps the quality of what’s on the inside. Many brands don’t care or understand the importance of the shoe insole.

What are Shoe Insoles?

Simple, they’re a piece of material that sit at the bottom of the shoe footbed meant to provide extra comfort and support. When you walk, run or stand, you are typically putting much of your weight on the insole of the shoe. But not all shoe insoles are created equal.

Why quality shoe insoles are so important

Have you ever walked on a concrete sidewalk and felt pain or even just a little discomfort in your feet? It may have been so small you barely noticed it. That little pain is very common for people who do a lot of walking. And especially for those who are walking in shoes that don’t have proper support. Pay attention to it the next time you take a stroll.

I would say I’m an outdoorsy kind of guy. I’ve taken some amazing hikes, been on some pretty cool kayaking and biking trips and love a nice long-distance run.

Some of my adventures.

After my own experiences and after doing a lot research and talking to people, I’m convinced that we need more support for our feet on concrete than we do on a back-country hike. But the gear we use off the hiking path doesn’t reflect this need. See, a back-country hike is mostly done on soft, lush ground. Ya know, the kind of ground that people would walk on without any shoes or support thousands of years ago. But nowadays we’re talking about man-made materials like concrete, asphalt, cement and other hard stones.

The difficult terrain of New York City (seriously).

These are the kinds of surfaces that are the direct cause of foot pain, heel pain, knee and back pain, body misalignment and posture issues. And what’s worst is that many of us don’t even realize the kind of harm we’re putting our bodies through. Many of us think the city streets are harmless and going for a nice walk in the city in shoes with no support is no problem. When in fact, we should be protecting our feet on these hard surfaces.

The Impact of Bad Shoe Support

Why would we ever link a pain in our lower back to the lack of support in our shoes? It may not seem logical but the way we walk can impact every other aspect of our body. Studies have shown that our walking patterns can impact our mood, self-confidence, our happiness and even the amount of success we’re able to achieve in our lives.

The most common problem that many people don’t even realize they’re suffering from is called over-pronation. Over-pronation is the rolling inwards of your feet that causes a flattening, elongation of the arch which results in a chain reaction of misalignment up the leg. It often leads to problems like plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and other aches & pains throughout the body.

Aches & pains like these are happening for two reasons: 1. people are misjudging the risks involved in walking on hard surfaces and 2. shoe companies are not providing nearly enough support for common shoes. The shoe industry needs better insoles across the board. We are too focused on style over support. Our health is coming second. I’m not saying that we need to get rid of our sense of style. I’m saying having better, more supportive shoe insoles allows us to have both.

Let’s take a look at some Common Shoe Insoles

Insoles in most shoes are often the cheapest thing the manufacturer puts into a shoe. They’re typically not well designed and are one of the reasons many shoes break down faster than they should.

I recently took a trip to some of the hottest shoe stores in New York City. It was truly a mecca of shoes. And what I found was very disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, the shoe styles were awesome. But support in the shoes was minimal and would likely lead to pain for people who walk on hard concrete & asphalt streets.

Flat insoles with no arch support and bad cushioning
Endless amounts of shoes with little cushioning & support lead to body pain especially for people in cities walking on hard surfaces.

After my visit to these shoe stores, the problem has never been more clear. So many friends and people I’ve met over the past few months have complained of foot, knee and back pain. And I refuse to believe this is just because they’re “getting older” which is a common excuse I hear.

Barefoot shoes. Let’s get real. These will destroy you.

The problem is that so many shoes don’t have enough support (especially for people who walk frequently on hard city surfaces). What really makes me cringe are those barefoot shoes. Are you kidding me? So many of us have it all wrong. We need to stop this craziness.

Why all insoles should have shape and support

To get proper support for your feet while walking on hard asphalt & concrete, your insoles need to have a strong shape. It’s best to have an insole with a deep heel cup, and a contoured arch that supports the arch of the foot.

Your insole should be designed to lift the arch of the foot helping to support and realign the foot. An insole with this type of support can provide relief and prevent the onset of common aches and pains.

In the next article we’ll take a look at some of the insole and orthotic products currently on the market. We’ll also take a look at how we can improve on these current options. Making them more functional for everyone (even for people who may not think they need them).