Why You Shouldn’t Wear Flat Soled Shoes: Prolonged Use Can Lead to Health Problems (2023)

Why You Shouldn’t Wear Flat Soled Shoes: Prolonged Use Can Lead to Health Problems (1)
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If you take a quick look into your shoe closet, chances are that you have at least one pair of flat soled shoes. Whether it’s a pair of ballet flats, a simple pair of flip-flops, or slip-on sandals for the summer months, flat soled shoes are a common piece of attire that many of us have. Most of us gravitate towards them because they are easy to put on, perfect for warmer weather, and are generally inexpensive, but the real question here is: why shouldn’t you own them? More and more cases of foot problems are cropping up, and the common factor that has linked them all are flat soled shoes.

What Makes Flat Soled Shoes Bad for Your Feet?

There are several characteristics of flat soled shoes that can harm your feet:

  • Thin, unsupportive soles that provide no arch support.

  • Narrow toe boxes that crowd toes/squish toes together.

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  • No ankle coverage to lock-in your heel, causing slippage and shifting.

  • No arch support means an unsteady gait.

What Kinds of Health Problems Can They Cause?

In wearing flat soled shoes for a prolonged period of time, they can actually cause several types of health problems. While we all know and understand that we need proper fitting shoes, many of us just think about the size of the shoe, and not necessarily how the sole of the shoe impacts us.

1. Plantar Fasciitis. A common condition caused by flat soled shoes is plantar fasciitis. This is a condition that is hallmarked by heel pain and stiffness along the bottom of your foot, where the plantar fascia ligament resides. When you wear flat soled shoes, there is very little between your foot and the shock your foot must absorb, and as a result, the thin, long ligament directly beneath your skin along the bottom of your foot, ends up taking the brunt of the shock. This causes it to become injured and inflamed.

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2. Skeletal Misalignment. Since flat soled shoes do not provide you with a steady foundation to walk on, they create unsteadiness in your gait. This causes your knees, pelvis, hips, and spine to try and compensate, shifting your skeletal alignment as a result. Without a change of shoes, and without stretching, you’re likely to continue to have an awkward gait.

3. Blistering. Flat soled shoes are more likely to give you blisters because they have no shock absorption. Flip-flops, ballet shoes, and slip-on sandals are all built to be light, and thin, forcing your heels to take on the impact every time you step down. Ever wondered why you get blisters on the bottom of your heel, along your toes, or even on the top of your foot? This is why.

4. Ingrown Toenails. If you are a chronic wearer of ballet flats, you’re likely to experience an ingrown toenail from time to time. The narrow toe box of the ballet shoe leaves your toes no room to spread out as they need, and in some cases, may actually squeeze your toes together. When this happens, your toenails are more likely to grow inward, towards the skin, rather than outward. If an ingrown toenail is left, it can cause an infection.

How Can You Prevent These Problems?

While the easiest way to prevent the above problems is to simply not wear flat soled shoes, here are some tips you can use to prevent these health problems from occurring.

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  • With plantar fasciitis, choose flats that have arch support. Also choose flats that have a very thick sole to them, so that you are absorbing less of the shock when you walk. You may also consider purchasing some orthotic inserts if you really want to wear your flats. These can help absorb some shock and give you a little more support.

  • For misalignment, find ballet flats or loafers that come with very high arch supports. You may also want to look for an expensive pair that comes with a much wider toe box, so that your feet have the room they need to maneuver without causing problems with shifting.

  • For blistering, you need a low-heel and a bigger sole to help prevent blisters from forming. If your shoes are giving you blisters, remove them from your rotation and wear something else until the blisters have healed.

  • For ingrown toenails, you need shoes that allow you to wiggle your toes inside the shoe box. If you wiggle them, and they rub against the side of the shoe or squish together and cause you pain, then the shoe is too narrow. While this applies to ballet flats, it also applies to any other closed-toe shoe.

What Are Some Alternative Shoes You Can Wear Instead?

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If you really want to go with a shoe that has a flatter sole, we would recommend looking into either wedge heels or athletic sneakers. A wedge heel is going to provide better support and balance because it has a slight angle to the sole, while an athletic sneaker is going to provide you with much better arch support. Plus, sneakers also provide better heel support by locking it in.


Why You Shouldn’t Wear Flat Soled Shoes: Prolonged Use Can Lead to Health Problems? ›

Your joints have to work extra hard in flat footwear, which can lead to the overuse of your ligaments. You can begin to feel sharp pains up your body from heel strains, pinched back nerves and an aching Achilles tendon.

Why should you not wear flat shoes? ›

Flat shoes often lead to heel pain, a common symptom of plantar fasciitis. If you wear flat shoes too often and for too long, the strain on your heel and foot structures can cause inflammation and pain. Blisters, corns, and calluses can result from wearing flat shoes with little to no support for the heel and toes.

What are the long term effects of flat shoes? ›

Shoes with a flat sole often lack arch support and proper cushioning. If you wear them for long periods, it can cause arch pain and fatigue, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, tendonitis, and other problems.

Are flat shoes bad for your legs? ›

The problem with flat shoes is that they strain your sole, Achilles tendon and calf muscles, they have no shock absorption and your toes often do all the work to keep the shoe on.

What problems can wearing worn out shoes cause? ›

Old shoes that are loose and worn increase our likelihood of developing health problems and injuries such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, ingrown toenails, stress fractures, shin splints and more.

Are flat shoes bad for your back? ›

On the low end of the fashion scale, flip-flops provide no support and can lead to pain from the feet up. In general, flat shoes do not provide any support for the back and can make back pain worse as people tend to wear these shoes all day.

What is the disadvantages of having flat feet? ›

Flat feet are not as proficient at keeping the body stable as feet that have a normal arch. As a consequence, people with flat feet are at a higher risk of developing chronic muscle strain as the muscles of the body are forced to compensate for the foot's lack of stability.

Can flat feet cause long term problems? ›

Flat feet may increase your risk of certain problems like: Arthritis. Bone spurs. Bunions or corns and calluses.

Does wearing flat shoes cause foot pain? ›

Ballet flats, flip flops and other flat shoes also cause injuries because they offer little to no support for the arch and no cushion for the bottom of the foot. Shoes that provide no support or cushion can lead to inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot known as the plantar fascia.

Why flat shoes are better for your feet? ›

Wearing supportive flats instead of high heels increases your stability making it less likely that you'll fall or twist your ankle. Supportive flats offer better stability when walking on almost all types of surfaces when compared with heels.

Do flat shoes cause plantar fasciitis? ›

Wearing the wrong shoes can trigger the onset of your Plantar Fasciitis. For example, flat shoes, which offer no flat support, can put too much stress on your plantar fascia and cause it to tear.

Can flat shoes affect your knees? ›

A lack of arch support in your shoes can put an inordinate amount of force on your knees. Orthotic insoles with added arch support can make your shoes more supportive. But, you should consult us or consider custom orthotics, because adding the wrong amount of support can be equally as damaging to your knees.

Are Skechers bad for your feet? ›

As a consequence, Skechers can cause ligament and muscle stresses and strains. The memory foam could take on the 'memory' of a poor gait style causing destabilising foot, ankle, knee, hip and lower back pain.

Can shoes cause poor circulation? ›

Shoes that do not provide the right support can also interrupt blood flow to the feet and toes. See your podiatrist.

Do shoes cause neuropathy? ›

Primarily, wearing ill-fitting shoes may result in neuropathy. Neuropathy is a condition in which the feet will feel numb. This ailment is painful, and sometimes irreversible. Another side effect of wearing ill-fitting shoes is foot deformities.

What happens if you wear shoes everyday? ›

Due to daily use, our shoes or slippers will end deformed and deteriorated in the same areas, especially inside and on the sole. This damage implies that we start to step correctly, and our feet will start to suffer pain or pathologies (as well as other structures such as the knee, hip, or back).

Why do my feet hurt when I wear flats? ›

Ballet flats, flip flops and other flat shoes also cause injuries because they offer little to no support for the arch and no cushion for the bottom of the foot. Shoes that provide no support or cushion can lead to inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot known as the plantar fascia.

Are flat or cushioned shoes better? ›

Increased likelihood of blisters – Constantly having flat feet make complete contact with the ground can lead to toughened skin, blisters, and bleeding on the soles. The pain can fade with time, but if you'd rather avoid the inconvenience, you may want to stick with traditional padded shoes.

What kind of shoes are best for your feet? ›

Choose a good quality, lightweight walking shoe with breathable upper materials, such as leather or nylon mesh. The heel counter should be firm and the heel positioned close to the ground for walking stability. The front or forefoot area should have flexibility, and plenty of room for the toes to move around.


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