When you think of shoes that aren't great for your feet, silhouettes like sky-high stilettos probably come to mind. Yes, of course, said styles can be troublesome, but so can shoes you think would be okay for your foot health, like everyday sneakers, for example. After recently catching up with a podiatrist Benjamin Tehrani, DPM, of Kings Point Foot & Ankle in Los Angeles and creator of Nerve Assist, he explained to me the simple "tilting test" you can do at home as a way to measure shoe health to help prevent nagging and sometimes serious foot issues.
The idea is essentially to place your sneakers on a flat surface so the soles are at eye level. Tehrani says, “When you place the shoe on the flat surface, run an imaginary line from the back of the shoe, all the way to the bottom. If the line is not perpendicular to the imaginary line with the flat surface, then you will see the shoe is tilting. The minute the shoe is beginning to tilt, you will need to replace the shoe because the shoe at that point will be holding your foot in the improper position.” After learning about this, I promptly tested all of the sneakers I’ve been wearing and promptly ditched three pairs (including a pair of high tops and two athletic styles) because they were not up to par.
Tehrani also shared more tips with me to help ensure your sneakers are really working for you. Keep scrolling for more, and then check out visual inspo of editors in some of their go-to sneakers. You can also shop sneakers throughout if you too need to ditch your old kicks and want to add something new into the mix.
"One of the first areas that will begin to show wear and tear in a shoe is the outsole, which is the bottom part of the shoe that you walk on, especially in the front part of the shoe. Depending on the style in which you walk, excess pressure in a certain part of a shoe will begin to show a thinning of the shoe pattern. Meaning if you over-pronate, the inner part of the shoe will begin to wear while the outer part will look completely normal. Once you wear down the outsole, the soft and more vulnerable insole is exposed and this is when a shoe begins to fall apart. Usually, when you pass the outsole layer, the joints on the bottom part of the foot are closer to the pavement and this is when we start seeing issues such as bone bruises, stress fractures, and joint capsule inflammation."—Tehrani
In addition to trying the "tilt test" to note the tilting of a shoe, Tehrani also recommends his patients buy a new pair of shoes once they see greater than 25% of the plantar sole "balding" or becoming flat and soft.
"Another tip I give to patients is to wear the shoe and to press on the area that is beginning to depreciate. If you can feel like you're pressing directly on your foot without much support, then you need to buy a new pair of sneakers."—Tehrani