The other day I needed some retail therapy, so I went to one of my favorite places. If you don’t have a DSW near you, I’m so sorry. Zappos is a great alternative, and they have a wonderful free shipping/return policy, so don’t be intimidated about buying shoes online! They make it really easy. But I digress…
In my previous piece If the Shoe Fits, I rail against poor footwear, how much it impacts our joint health, and is contributing to the near 80% of Americans with back pain. But don’t picture me walking around with shoes you can only buy in a medical equipment store: I’m vain, and committed to balancing health and fashion. Whether you have a chronic illness like me, or are starting to “feel your age” and wondering why your low back and knees hurt you so much more than they used to, trust me: you need to read my previous post, and probably throw away half of what you wear every day. I see you walking around in your flip flops and Uggs, America…SAY GOODBYE.
According to the Fall fashion shoe trends, there was one clear standout on the Runway: boots. And for anyone suffering from chronic pain, this is good news. Boots are an awesome way to hide orthotics, provide ankle stability, cover up Kinesio tape or compression stockings…with the right boot, you can be healthy, stable and trendy all at the same time! But the operative word there is the right one…
So what is Hot right now? Romance, Steam punk, “Hot Blooded” (the Vampire effect), “Saville Row” (The tailored 1930s-1960s), Navy (The Military Branch, and the color), and some pretty funky combos (check out this article by Harpers Bazaar, in particular the “Madcap Aristocrat” look! So fun…) In all of these looks, boots play a huge role, and offer a lot of variety of style. But one has to be careful about the type of boot one selects, or you could be contributing to your pain, rather than alleviating it.
For example, I loved these gorgeous Vintagey boots on the Left, and wanted to get them so, so badly! But I can’t. The toes are popped up in the front, and heels are a no no. They shorten your hamstring, put pressure on your lower spine…just…no. I can wear certain wedge heels for limited amounts of time when I need a sexy shoe for a special event. But not to walk around in all day, and not laced up to my ankle like this. So instead, I would buy the boot on the Right. I tried these adorable suede boots on with my orthotics, (Steve Madden, if you’re interested) but they are rather narrow and they pinched, so it was a no go for this gal. I moved on.
I mentioned that wedge heels are OK, but as I said, only if you are going to be wearing them for limited amounts of time, and when you are mostly sitting and looking pretty. I pull mine out for the occasional party or dinner outing. Not to go dancing, shopping, or to work for 8 hours in an office. I know the fashion magazines say that heels lift your ass. I DON’T CARE. You know what’s not sexy? Limping around in your 40s.
Instead of choosing this boot:
Go for something like this instead:
Boots with laces seem to be really big (back to that Romantic/Steam Punk/Vampire thing) but again, you don’t need to go for the one with any heel. There isn’t much difference between the boot on the top and the one on the bottom (except for how much it affects your back.)
Just be careful how much the toes pop up in the front. I saw several styles that did this, and I avoided them. Even small changes in the foundation of how my feet are placed on the ground make an enormous impact on how my knees, hips, and low back feel.
I already have some knee length boots I’m happy with, it is the ankle boots I tend to live in and burn through the heel more rapidly. I was hoping to find a real leather pair, but to be honest, the ones I tried on were not as comfortable as the ones I ended up with, and more than twice the price. So, now these babies are mine, and they were less than $50!
I hope you have as much fun shopping as I did. Let me know how it goes! (pictures make it even better)
(Please note, I am not a medical professional. I do not diagnose or treat problems. If you have any serious medical concerns, seek the attention of a professional.)