Unless you’re an NHS or key worker, many of us are currently staying at home and only leaving the house for our one hour of daily exercise or to do the weekly food shop. When most of our day consists mainly of pottering around the house, it can be tempting to go barefoot all the time, but experts have now warned that this might not be the wisest idea for your foot health.
While it can be beneficial to occasionally go barefoot (for instance, to let your feet breathe or while doing yoga), Rock CJay Positano, DPM and Rock G. Positano, DPM, MSc, MPH — co-directors of the Non-Surgical Foot and Ankle Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York – have issued a warning that by going barefoot for long periods of time, you could be creating a ‘potentially damaging situation’ for your feet, especially if you have any pre-existing or underlying foot issues. This is because when you go barefoot, you loose all the support that shoes provide that our feet are used to.
Speaking to POPSUGAR, they also explained the associations between walking barefoot and proper functioning of the knees, hips and back. ‘The connection between proper foot support and architecture has a direct influence on biomechanical functioning of the knee, hip, and lower back… Quite often, we will hear a patient say that when they are barefoot, they experience knee and lower back pain.’
The best way to combat the problem is to wear proper supportive shoes all the time, even around the house. They described the perfect type of shoe we should all be wearing as ‘a supportive-type shoe, as a general category, not only absorbs shock and protects the foot but it also keeps your foot in a more favourable position. Generally, a “supportive” type of shoe would include structural elements such as a firm backing or heel counter in shoe parlance, an upper (or top enclosure) with some kind of lacing, and a firm yet substantial midsole.’
The two doctors recommend seeking out shoes from brands such as Merrell, Spenco, Mephisto and Rockport to give your feet the comfort and support they need. And remember, you’ll want to have dedicated ‘house shoes’ rather than wearing the same ones inside as you wear outside, to avoid dirtying your house.
If you really can’t get on board with wearing shoes inside, wearing slippers can also go a decent way in protecting your feet from damage. ‘At worst, they serve as both a protective barrier and shock absorber for your feet, and at best, they do both plus promote foot function and stability,’ the experts say.
If it’s medically advised to invest in another pair of shoes or fuzzy slippers, who are we to argue?