I love my wedges because I feel like I can clatter around in them all day without the discomfort and damage I associate with stiletto heels (my favourites are a hard-wearing pair of strappy wedge sandals on a towering wooden platform. Gorgeous!)
But, if I’m honest, after 10 hours on those wooden blocks my feet are a little fatigued. I’ve been a big advocate of the wedge as a healthy alternative to heels, but I’m beginning to wonder if my enthusiasm is based on fact.
Are wedges better than heels?
Wedges are often considered sensible because they provide the chunkiest of heels – minimising the wobble that can lead to ankle sprains. However, like heels, high wedges can still put strain on the ball of your foot. Because platforms and wedges tend to have rigid soles, they can mess with your natural stride by preventing your feet from bending.
Flatter platforms lessen pressure on the ball of your foot – often the trouble with heels – and experts would at least have you consider a platform that’s nearly parallel with the ground (in a stroke of luck for those who want their wedges fashionable and comfortable, 2012 is a very good year for the ‘flatform’.)
Then again, when I consider the many drawbacks of heels, wedges still look kind of virtuous. Most of us know about ‘hammer toes’ – but that’s just one of a bunch of painful (and sometimes permanent) problems caused by high heels, including bone deformities, bunions, inflammation, fractures, sprains, osteoarthritis and nerve pain.
Are any fashion shoes safe?
Even flip-flops and ballet flats have their perils. The flattest flats and flip-flops give no arch support, which can lead to problems for your feet, knees, hips and back. (But you can always seek more support by putting orthotic inserts into ballet flats, or choosing sporty ‘fitted’ flip-flops.)
‘Sensible shoes’ may sound ugly, but that tag has nothing to do with style. In short, sensible means arch support, wiggle room for toes, a chunky heel no more than 5cm high, a sole with a little flexibility and the golden rule – they must always be in the right size.
You’ll want to rely on your feet for a lifetime, so treating them well is worthwhile.
If your feet are in good shape but you still want to scale the wicked heights of fashion in stilettos and platform wedges, then try to be a little sensible in the way you wear them.
Get them out to glam up on occasion, but try not to spend too long on your feet and give yourself a chance to recover between wears.
I hope you enjoyed these tips to taking care of your fashionable feet so they can last you a lifetime!