30 Oct Why Your Sandals Need Arch Support
Summer’s on its way and it’s time to enjoy the great Aussie outdoors. But if the sweltering summer sun makes your feet sweaty, you’ll probably want to wear thongs and sandals. Remember, not all sandals are created equal!
Many pairs of sandals on the market don’t provide the necessary support for your foot’s arch which can lead to pain and even cause blisters. A good pair of sandals are supportive with cushioned footbeds, shock-absorbing soles and fasteners that ensure your feet won’t slip and slide.
Why arch support is important
Did you know that each foot has 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons that work together to support your entire body weight as you move throughout the day?
The foot’s arch absorbs shock when your feet hit the ground and helps you move forward when walking or running. When your footwear has good arch support, they help to distribute the pressure across the bottom of the foot and reduce the load on tendons and ligaments. Proper arch support also prevents overpronation (when the foot rolls inward) or excess supination (when the foot rolls outward).
It’s so important that the arch in a good pair of sandals should be supportive of the tendons, ligaments and plantar fascia of your feet. When your shoes or sandals have arch support, they spread the weight over a larger surface area and reduce the tension in the ball of the foot.
Not having good arch support can lead to a variety of ailments including plantar fasciitis (heel pain), inflammation in the ball of the foot, tendonitis, and arthritis to the instep. Too much movement when there is a lack of arch support can lead to issues such as hammer toes, bunions and problems even above the foot in the knee and hip.
Key features of supportive sandals
- Arch type: Your feet can have a high, low or normal arch. Invest in a pair of sandals that suit your arch type.
- Sizing and fit: Make sure you buy sandals that fit; better yet, get fitted by a professional. Try sandals on for size as different brands have slight variations in size. Ensure that your toes don’t stick out or feel cramped. On the other hand, sandals that are too big can cause ankle sprains and feel uncomfortable.
- Footbeds and soles: Shoes with a contoured footbed will allow the shoe to mould to your feet, keeping them in place. Cushioned soles also provide shock absorption.
- Straps and backs: If your sandals have adjustable straps or a stretchy back, it secures your foot into the sandal and prevents friction and blisters. A sandal with a back is always a better option than open-back sandals where the toes have to curl to keep your foot from sliding out.
- Height: Go for a slight to moderate heel. A wedge is better than a heel since it helps distribute and support the weight across the whole foot, not just the ball or heel.
Our top picks in sandals
Vionic uses technology created to alleviate foot issues like plantar fasciitis. Leather uppers and dual hook-&-loop closure straps make this platform sandal super comfortable.
Birkenstocks have always been a classic. They have a rigid, supportive footbed with good arch support and the deep cork footbed allows your feet to mould to it.
This pair is great for walking trails or camping with a contoured, cushioned footbed. It also has three-point adjustability at the back, top and front of the shoe using adjustable hook-and-loop straps, which can prevent the shoe from sliding.
Oofos sandals were created to be active recovery sandals with supportive cushioned arch support and footbed, and a sole that reduces pressure on the ball of the foot. According to the brand, its OOfoam technology absorbs more impact than traditional footwear for added cushioning and stability.
These everyday sandals have a cushioned footbed and good arch support. It uses Ortholite, a type of foam technology, that helps absorb impact and provides breathability.
These sandals are casual, feminine and comfortable with arch support and cushioning. They have a lightweight EVA footbed, and rubber outsole with a patterned tread that can provide traction on different surfaces.
This is a comfortable wedge that looks dressy and has arch support. Papillio by Birkenstock has a variety of wedge options that feature a supportive heel strap, a lightweight footbed that provides proper pressure distribution across your foot, and a stylish upper made from natural leather.