Selecting the Right Work Shoe for You

Shoe choice or poor footwear is a commonly attributed factor to running related overuse injuries, but with 8 hours + a day 5 days a week spent in work shoes could your work shoes be doing you damage?

Below is a quick snapshot of what footwear features all good business shoes should possess:

A solid/rigid heel counter: the back of the shoe should be inflexible and firmly cup your heel, this will prevent excessive rolling in/out of your heel during walking.

A heel pitch of 12mm of more (lower than 4cm): this is the difference in height between the heel and front of the shoe. A heel pitch of 12mm will reduce strain on the calf/achilles region. Completely flat shoes are associated with injuries such as achilles tendinopathy and heel bursitis. Shoes with a heel height of greater than 4cm put excess pressure through the forefoot and are commonly associated with Morton’s neuroma and intermetatarsal bursitis as well as tight calves.

Torsional Stability: the shoe should NOT be too flexible. It should only flex where your foot flexes across your toes. Supportive shoes usually have a plastic or steel shank to aid in this. Excessively flexible provide no support in fact force your foot to work harder to keep the shoe on causing fatigue through the arches and balls of your feet.

Good Fixation: ideal is 8 eyelet lace fixation or a buckle. This will secure your foot in the shoe, stop your foot slipping in and out of the shoe and prevent toe clawing commonly associated with shoes without proper fixation.

Ideally try and get the shoe fitted by a fitting professional to make sure it has adequate width, depth and height for your foot to also avoid areas of rubbing and irritation. A new shoe will be firm to begin with particularly through the heel and may take a week or so to soften. Be patient and try wearing two pairs of socks or taping your heels initially. It is important to remember you actually spend a significant amount of time in work shoes and therefore it’s worth investing in a good pair or two to put your best foot forward in injury prevention and management.

Recommended brands/store: Ecco, Rockport, Ziera, Bared

by Tara Bowman - Podiatrist at Melbourne Podiatry Clinic