Functional Footwear

narrow shoes

Functional Footwear

As podiatrists we want the best for your feet and lower limbs. When it comes to shoes, we advise you to stay clear of shoes that squash your toes, have high heels and don’t have enough support. Of course, we know this is easier said than done – quite often, our jobs dictate what shoes we wear.

The wrong footwear can cause pain and discomfort in your feet. Shoes that are too narrow or short around your forefoot can increase your chances of foot problems. All too often, we try to squeeze our forefoot – the widest part of our foot – into the narrowest part of the shoe (the toe box) just because these shoes look trendy.

shoes that fit

What are Functional Shoes?

Generally, any shoe that is wide/ wider through the forefoot or at the toes. These shoes fit the natural shape of your foot and mimic the ‘fan-shape’ of a healthy foot. The weight–bearing area of the sole should be flat to the floor to provide maximum surface area. They can’t be folded up and put in your pocket. They are designed to give your toes freedom to move and flex. These have enough space for your toes to be able to stay straight.


high heels

What are Fashion Shoes?

Fashion shoes, on the other hand, tend to be narrower through the forefoot or at the toes. They are narrow, have high heels, unstable and/or floppy. What’s more, they come with a high price tag! They may look good but can be a significant cause or trigger for your sore feet and lower limb aches and pains. Long-term use can cause changes in foot structure like bunions, claw toes, muscular tightness and irritation of tendons, nerves and fascia.

If you wear these kinds of shoes, you may experience numbness, tingling, burning or sharp, shooting pains or a dull pain in your feet, ankles and lower limbs. Still not convinced? Answer this question: do you long to take off these shoes the minute you get home? If these shoes were comfortable, you’d have no problem keeping them on forever, right?

function shoes

What’s the Solution?

Treat fashion shoes like “sometimes” food – enjoy them in moderation. Don’t wear them all day, every day. Try commuting to the office or to a party in functional footwear. Think of fashion shoes as something you would wear at while you’re with clients, in meetings or when you need to make an impression. When your back at your desk or commuting, switch to something more comfortable that isn’t narrow/ or too small for your foot. It’s time to be smarter about your footwear choices.

Podiatrists are getting more involved in the footwear scene and have designed some styles that are just as fashionable or suit the ‘status quo’, but with an added benefit of functionality. You might not even notice the difference, at first glance. Buy shoes that are that are wider around the forefoot/toe area with more support and your feet will thank you for them.

For advice on what shoes are best for your feet, see one of our podiatrists at footinjuryclinic. Book an appointment online or call our clinics:

  • Bondi Junction: 9386 5400
  • Barangaroo: 8599 9811
  • St Ives: 9440 4600