This is one lesson, I learned within a few weeks of arriving in the Algarve ... and minus five pairs of high-heel shoes. Let me tell you that it is not a conspiracy theory, it is a fact! If you plan on walking inside the old historical town of Lagos, or in any other place that has cobblestone roads ... save yourself time, money and frustration, invest in a pair of comfortable walking shoes, forget fashion and fashion statements.
Shoes were originally worn to protect the feet from the weather and any damage caused by the ground, however nowadays shoes are as much a statement of style as they are a protective item. However, it seems the more fashionable shoes get the quicker they lead us in serious health problems, the focus is less on comfort but more on style.
Fashionable shoes such as high heels can cause bunions and lead to ankle sprains and rather than protecting the feet, it is often the shoes that causes damage to them. Even harmless looking ballet pumps can damage the joints due to the lack of support they give to the feet.
Healthy shoes and Comfortable shoes have never been at the forefront of the fashion market. However this does seem to be changing with the emergence of health and wellness shoes. This new breed of footwear has received a huge amount of press attention and along with continuous articles on foot health and the dangers of high heels there is now a brewing interest in healthy shoes and the extra benefits they can offer.
Wearing comfortable shoes and health shoes is important not just to prevent pain but also to prevent any future damage to the feet and joints. Poor fitting shoes can cause a range of health problems including ingrown toenails, bunions and back pain, not to mention that they can severely damage the joints and ligaments.
There are certain conditions where comfortable shoes are a must such as arthritis and diabetes and brands such as Crocs and Confortina are now designing specific ranges of healthy shoes, which give relief to sufferers of these conditions. Depending on the condition of the foot it is sometimes necessary to wear a custom made orthodotic to treat the problem.
There are healthy shoes with great styling such as Alegria that have produced a range of comfortable shoes which have removable insoles so an orthodotic can be fitted in their place.
The range of healthy shoes is constantly increasing and it is now possible to buy shoes for a multitude of conditions. There has been a big increase in the number of toning shoes available and these are now more fashion led than ever before.
These are healthy shoes that use different technologies to help tone leg, bum and stomach muscles such as the Sketchers Shape Ups and Reebok EasyTone. There are also toning shoes available in smarter, everyday styles available from brands such as Earth so whether you are at work, home or the gym you can always be toning up and improving your health.
A recent trend that has emerged within healthy shoes field is bare footing. The theory behind this new collection of shoes, is that bare footing is best, but not always practical.
Bare footing healthy shoes offer all the sensations of going barefoot, but with a protective sole and light weigh upper.
Manufacturers of these healthy shoes use ultra thin, puncture resistant materials in the soles of the shoes to offer the closest connection to the ground possible, without losing the level of protection that conventional shoes offer you. Subscribers to this trend say that being barefoot allows the foot to connect to ground and leads to a more natural gait.
Because of the practicality issues related to literally walking around barefoot the development of barefoot shoes such as Feelmax, Fivefingers and Jingas within the healthy shoes industry, it is being welcomed by a huge amount of healthy shoes enthusiasts.
Comfortable shoes used to mean a compromise on style but as the gap between comfort and fashion closes, it is now easier than ever to find shoes that strike just the right balance between being good for your feet and looking fabulous.
Note: This article was first published in I Support Lagos in October 2010. Author: Laurinda Seabra