The Surprising Shoes You Should Ditch, From a Doctor

Kristen Nichols

Collage Vintage

If you’re going to be wearing your shoes all day, you might as well make sure they’re comfortable. There’s nothing worse than slipping on a cool new pair of heels only to find that you’re hobbling around in them 20 minutes later. Curious to find out the very best shoes for standing all day, we reached out to podiatrist Brian Dawson, DPM, for his expert advice.

While he admits that “it can be hard to make a sweeping generalisation about shoes, since so much of it has to do with our personal biomechanics” and suggests that “anyone with chronic foot issues see a podiatrist for a full biomechanical exam,” he was able to offer some general rules to follow. The most surprising thing we learned is that flats and sneakers might not be as good for us as we thought. In fact, shoes with a low heel are the ones he recommends most.

Go on to find out more about his recommendations and why you might want to skip your ballet flats.


“Something with a low heel (one inch to one and a half inches), semi-rigid sole (none of those shoes you can bend in half like a ballet flat or Nikes) with cushioning that extends to the ball of the foot.”


“Any of the extremes! Ballet flats or high heels (over two inches). If you must, I'd highly recommend commuting in a more supportive shoe/sneaker, then switching to your work shoes at the office.”


“Flats tend to be very unsupportive with little protection/cushioning for our bones, and the more flexible a shoe is, the more work it forces our joints to do, which can lead to pain along the top of the foot. We may have tolerated that as cave people, but the human body in 2017 has evolved past the point of benefitting from being barefoot for the most part.

“High heels create a forefoot overload (excess pressure under the ball of the feet) and tend to crush the fifth (little) toe, causing hard, painful calluses over time. This also leads to structural deformities of the bones, like bunions and hammertoes, as well as a shortening of the Achilles tendon if worn daily for years. That said, a small heel (less than two inches) can be very helpful in treating/preventing common foot conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.”

Now go on to shop for our favourite low-heel shoe styles—the best shoes for standing all day.

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