Published: 2011-09-12 08:26:52
Author: Sharon L. Peters
Those cute little roll-up ballet flats women carry in purses to slide on during foot-pain emergencies have rapidly achieved most-favored streetwear status among millions — and worst-footwear status among podiatrists.
When used only for their intended purpose — worn just a few minutes as relief from aches, or while deskbound or on a plane — they're not terrible, foot specialists say. But it's a problem when women wear the slipperlike coverings, made by several companies and selling for $8 to about $35, as regular shoes. "There's no structure, essentially no sole, they're too flat, and there's no support," says Michele Colon, a podiatrist and shoe blogger in El Monte, Calif.
"They're just as bad as flip-flops and UGGs" — long on doctors' worst-footwear lists — says podiatrist Kendrick Whitney of Temple University's School of Podiatric Medicine.
Fact is, much of the current crop of popular shoes makes podiatrists grimace. Foot deformities, including hammer toe, bunions, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis and even ankle, knee, hip and back problems, can arise from long-term wearing of bad footwear, experts say.
Best everyday option for most women: "Something with a 1- or 2-inch heel" that's well-constructed and fits well, Colon says. "You're giving the foot a little bit of an arch. It puts the body into a normal position for walking."