Posts for tag: boots
Winter is fully upon us and in the midst of all your shopping frenzy, you may have noticed all the signs for new winter boots! Buy One, Get One Free or Clearance Prices may get our attention, but what about the boots themselves? How do we know if that sweet deal is going to treat our feet right? Here is a list of practical must-haves in your next pair of winter boots.
Winter is wet and having wet feet in cold weather is a serious risk, so we want to keep our tootsies dry. For practical boots (like snow boots or hiking boots), look for naturally waterproof materials such as neoprene or rubber. In fashion boots (such as you might wear to a office holiday party), go for a treated leather to get a nice slick surface with a high quality and trendy shine. Some boots will have waterproof layers sewn into the boot liners. These keep moisture from penetrating all the way down to your socks, but still allow for a bit of breathability. Look also at the tongue of the boot, does it connect to the sides to keep water out or is it disconnected? A cuff at the top of the boot will absorb water before it enters your boot and can be very handy for activities like playing in the snow.
The tread of your boot is the very bottom and determines how much grip the boot will have on slippery surfaces. There’s nothing worse than going over the river and through the woods only to slip on Grandma’s front walk and end up in the emergency room. Picking the tread may be the most important feature to get right. For outdoor activities, boots should have high treads, meaning lots of space and deep channels for good grip. Same thing for indoor boots! Tracked in ice and snow quickly melts and makes floors slippery. Even if you are only wearing your boots inside, make sure they have a good solid tread. Some boots offer removable outsoles with different levels of tread so your single pair of winter boots will be just as useful hiking in a winter wonderland as they are shoveling snow so you can get to work.
I don’t think it needs saying that winter is cold, but I’m going to say it anyways. Winter is cold! So of course we want out winter boots to keep our feet warm. Socks can help, but the boot itself should have insulating materials such as wool or fleece linings. Synthetic insulators are good as well, but don’t get distracted by the fancy names they make up for it. Look at the actual tag and look for what the materials really are. You may even see a temperature rating on the tag, obviously the lower the temperature it protects you in, the more insulation it has.
Once you’ve chosen all your other features, you need to make sure you get that amazing pair of boots in the correct size. One good way to do this is to bring your winter socks along when you try them on. Plain cotton socks just don’t cut it in the wintertime, not even inside. You need to have thermal socks made of breathable materials that wick moisture and perspiration away from the foot. A sweaty foot inside a boot can make you colder, so look for wool or similar synthetic materials. These socks tend to be thick so try them on with your boots to get a real idea of how much room you need inside. Walk around the store and make sure your foot isn’t sliding around inside the boot which can cause blisters. Try the wall kick test; just lightly kick the wall with the boot tip and if your toes hit the front of the boot, you may need to consider going up a size.
New shoes can make everything better, but not if they lead to pain, slipping, or cold and wet feet. Make sure you check each of these important features before heading to the checkout.
Labor day is just around the corner (September 4th – in case you didn’t know) and it’s a day that celebrates the contributions common working folk have made to the social and economic growth of America. In a strangely ironic way, Americans celebrate this holiday shopping and enjoying time outdoors while the common working folk continue to labor, mostly in the retail and food service industries. People who work on their feet all day have an increased chance of major foot and leg problems. Just a short list of possible conditions include varicose veins, heel pain, leg or ankle swelling, bunions, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, joint damage, fallen arches, poor circulation…should I go on?! Since that’s a bit too many to go through one-by-one, let’s look at how best we can avoid any or all of these from occurring in the first place.
The Right Shoes
There is nothing so valuable to your foot health as wearing the right shoes. For active jobs you need proper footwear that has the right features for your profession. When you shop for shoes, do so at the end of the day and make sure to try on both shoes to check for foot size differentiation. Stilettos are not good for daily wear. Save them for the extra special occasions and choose a stylish low heel (1-2 inches) instead for those long days in the office. If you’re in the food service industry, be sure to find shoes with enough tread to give you stability on wet floors. Making good decisions from the start can help avoid injury in the first place
…And Other Important Accessories
Let’s say you work outside and need heavy work boots in hot weather; your feet probably sweat. To avoid problems with fungal infections like athlete’s foot, keep your feet cool and dry with sweat-wicking socks and foot deodorizing powders. If you have existing foot problems like flat feet, you need to have special orthotics to give additional support. Proper shoe inserts align the body and alleviate more than just foot pain. They can straighten the spine, alleviate pain from your toes to your shoulders, and increase your circulation. If you struggle with leg swelling, you may need to consider wearing compression hose
You may think it sounds mad to say that those who work on their feet all day need to do extra foot exercises, but in fact, stretching overused muscles can help prevent chronic injury for those who rely on their feet for their work. When your muscles stay in the same position for extended periods of time, like those who stand for most of the day, they can literally ‘freeze’ in place. For those with active jobs, who repeat the same motions over and over again, overuse leading to redness, tenderness, and strain is common. Try basic stretches like toe raises to work your calves or try removing your shoes to roll a tennis ball under your arches for a few minutes every few hours. Stretching now can lead to fewer problems later and it doesn’t have to take very long. In addition to stretching, try raising your feet during lunch breaks.
I’ve had days where it was hard to take a bathroom break, much less time to stretch or put my feet up. In that case, I need to pamper my tired dogs when I finally get home. One of the best things you can do for your feet is sitting down, alleviating pressure on the feet and knees. If your ankles show signs of swelling, raise them and pack on the ice to reduce inflammation. Don’t forget to pamper yourself every once in awhile too. Regular pedicures can help reduce buildup of dead skin and keep nails healthy and free from infection and ingrown toenails.
Seeing Your Podiatrist
When in doubt, see your podiatrist. A quick trip to the doctor when you first experience symptoms can do a lot to keep healing time to a minimum and your work efficiency to a maximum. Don’t wait until you have to miss work due to your foot problems, make your appointment today.
I hope that everyone has a great Labor Day full of safe fun and proper footwear, and for those who have to work and be on their feet all day, make sure to follow our instructions to avoid a painful ending. Happy Labor Day all!
It feels like springtime and when the weather starts warming up, people become more active and need to make different footwear choices. If you Google best footwear choices for spring you will find a litany of information on style, but very little on function. So before you go shoe shopping, keep in mind these important features.
During the winter, we want heavy materials for our shoes to keep out the snow and cold, but as temperatures rise and fluctuate we should consider something better for the weather. You want to look for materials that let your foot breathe. Leather and canvas materials are best for dressy or casual occasions. On active days, find an athletic shoe that is lightweight with breathable mesh for quick sweat evaporation.
Many people switch straight from snow boots to flip-flops, but too many sandals leave your feet unsupported and susceptible to foot problems. If you insist on wearing flip-flops, buy a pair that is specifically designed to protect your foot. There are plenty of fashionable choices such as the classic Birkenstock, the Tevas strappy outdoor shoes, or the many options of the very cushiony Aerosoles.
When and How to Shop
Most people don’t make a detailed plan for their trip to the shoe store, but it can save your feet a lot of pain and the hassle of a return if you can get your choices right the first time. No matter what kind of shoes you are buying, try them on later in the day after you have been active. Your feet fatigue and widen throughout the day and your shoes should still feel comfortable when your foot is at its largest. If you are shopping for multiple styles make sure you bring the appropriate sock or hose for each. If that’s how you’re going to wear it when you own it, that’s how you should try it on. Make sure you don’t walk out of the store with a pair of shoes that you haven’t walked around in first. Take at least a full lap of the store in each pair of shoes before deciding.
If you need more guidance on the best choices for your specific foot problem, visit the APMAs guide to approved products for all your foot ailments: HERE. And of course, the staff at the FAAWC are always happy to help you with recommendations or appointments with our doctors. With the right shoe choices, you can have a new spring in your step and improved health for you feet. Happy walking everybody!