Whether you work inside or outside, you likely have a type of dress code you need to follow, and while selecting the appropriate attire is essential, choosing the right footwear is just as important. Finding a shoe that meets requirements of the dress code is just the first step (no pun intended) towards finding the work shoe that’s right for you.
If you often have to pause your workday to adjust your shoes or give your feet a rest, it’s probably time for a new pair. Before you jump in your car and head over to a shoe store, check out the tips below from Sherwood Park-based chiropractor Dr. Taylor Cooksley on choosing a work shoe that won’t just meet dress code—it will protect your joint health too.
Why does choosing the right shoe matter?
“Foot pain doesn’t just start and end in the foot—it can be the source of much bigger pains in your body.”
Dr. Cooksley has seen first-hand the impact that untreated foot conditions can have. “When patients come in with foot pain, just based on my assessment I can usually predict what other issues are going to present themselves in the future if they haven’t already,” she explains.
Foot pain is often the culprit for things like hip or lower back pain, which is why it’s so important to be assessed by a chiropractor to ensure you’re treating the correct pain source. Choosing the correct shoe is the first step in ensuring you are looking after your overall joint health.
What should you be looking for?
Whether your work takes place inside or outside, choosing the proper shoe is essential in keeping your workday pain-free.
If you sit at a desk for the majority of the day, you may feel that comfort is of less importance because you’re on your feet less. While this may be true, it’s not just walking that can cause foot and joint problems. Shoes that are too narrow or don’t provide proper support will be hard on your body even when you’re at rest. Trips to the bathroom, topping up your coffee, and having a quick chat with a co-worker are all small ways you’re on your feet that will add up over the course of the day.
On the opposite end, we have workers who spend the whole day on their feet—from construction workers, to welders, to restaurant workers. Choosing the proper footwear will ensure you can stay focused on the task at hand rather than be in pain over your shoe choice.
When it comes to choosing a shoe, think about Goldilocks and the three bears—rather than too tight or too loose, you want shoes that are just right.
When trying on shoes, think about where you’ll be wearing them and with what—pantyhose? Wool socks? Barefoot? All of these decisions will factor into the spacing you want for your shoe.
If you’ll be wearing them barefoot or with a thin sock or shear, opt for a shoe that fits comfortably. But if you’re planning on wearing thick socks, opt for a half size or size bigger. Better yet, bring whatever sock you plan on wearing with you to the store!
Getting the right fit will prevent various conditions like bunions, plantar fasciitis, and hip and back pain.
When trying on shoes at the store, stand up and walk around and pay attention to how your foot feels—it should feel supported and cushioned. Again, think about where you’ll be wearing them. Any shoe with a very thin sole is going to lead to more pain and joint problems than a properly-cushioned shoe would.
If you’re in an environment with occasional slipping hazards like a restaurant or a construction site, don’t underestimate the importance of proper tread. Flip the shoe over—if the sole is smooth it may not be the best choice. Instead, look for tread that is slightly raised off the shoe, which will offer better grip.
If your work has you moving around all day and possibly traversing uneven ground, pay attention to the sturdiness of the shoe. The proper shoe will allow you to bend the way you need to but will provide adequate support and sturdiness where you need it, like at the ankle.
How can a chiropractor help?
Chiropractors are specially trained in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal-related conditions, which includes your feet. If you’re experiencing pain when you walk, a chiropractor can assess the pain and recommend a treatment plan.
What are orthotics?
Orthotics are insertable soles for your shoes that can provide more cushioning, comfort and support to your foot.
You’ve likely seen orthotics at your local pharmacy or shoe store—these off-the-shelf orthotics typically provide you with more cushioning, but don’t offer much support. Though these orthotics are good in a pinch, they aren’t usually a long-term solution.
Your feet naturally have slight variances in size and step which can create unique conditions in each foot.
If your right foot is bigger, you may experience more rubbing in your right shoe, leading to bunions or an altered step. If you naturally favour your right leg, you may experience more pain in that foot. Because your feet are not the same, store-bought orthotics won’t perfectly address each individual problem—that’s where your chiropractor can help.
Chiropractors will carefully assess each foot and custom design orthotics that will provide proper cushioning, comfort and support to each individual foot.
We hope that these tips help you to choose work shoes that balance style and comfort!
Dr. Taylor Cooksley of Brentwood Chiropractic Clinic treats foot conditions regularly and has seen first-hand the impact that improper footwear has on overall joint health. Having spent years dancing, she is familiar with foot and ankle injuries and passionate about restoring mobility to injured joints. When she’s away from the clinic, you can find her in the gym, dancing or taking her puppies for a walk.
If it hurts, see a chiropractor.
Your feet shouldn’t hurt when you walk — if you’re experiencing pain, consult a chiropractor.
Chiropractors are highly educated and specially trained musculoskeletal experts. Your chiropractor can treat aches and pains, as well as build customized stretching routines and whole-body wellness strategies in conjunction with your chiropractic treatment. Consult with your chiropractor or click here to find one near you.