If you've ever had foot pain, chances are your shoes were the culprit. Learn the basics behind foot health and how to help keep shoe-related injuries from affecting your life.
To everyone who has suffered through all-day conferences on flimsy, flat insoles or chased toddlers around with zero cushion: we see you.
Finding quality shoes isn’t exactly easy when shopping today’s latest trends. Pointy tips, narrow toe boxes, barely there insoles. Oof, we’re already hurting.
Add foot pain conditions like plantar fasciitis or bunions to the mix, and it’s all the more important to wear the best shoes for foot problems.
So how can we keep up with modern life without killing our feet? Let’s dig into how proper shoe anatomy can support optimal foot health.
Shoe Anatomy and Why it Matters for Your Feet
Footwear should fuel your movement, not work against it.
Yet, most modern footwear (even leading athletic shoes!) come with an insert that’s thin and flimsy. These inserts offer little to no lasting arch support and can wear down quickly—especially with consistent walking on hard surfaces.
A truly quality shoe needs to up the ante. Not only must it protect the impact of each step, it must be shaped ergonomically to the foot and provide adequate arch support, heel-cupping, and cushion to stand up to the load of daily life.
That’s where KURU comes in. We’ve assessed our feet’s natural biomechanics to support them in all the right places: with superior arch support, a deep rounded heel cup, shock-absorbing cushion, and a roomy toe box. KURU makes some of the best shoes for feet problems on the market.
KURU Tech: Built for Pain Relief
Every pair of KURUs (yes, even our flip-flops!) comes built with our triple-layer technology for Pain Relief Beyond Belief.
KURUCLOUD: Lightweight EVA foam delivers shock-absorbing cushion for a walking-on-air feel.
KURUSOLE: Patented tech dynamically flexes with each step while it hugs and protects your heels.
ULTIMATE INSOLES: Contoured, dual-density foam provides superior arch support for all-day comfort.
Effect of Improper Footwear
Think of your favorite office chair. Is it a board-straight plastic one, à la elementary school? Or is it a cushioned, ergonomic one with support in all the right places? We’re guessing this one’s a no-brainer.
It’s the same with our footwear. Though the soles of our feet are hardly flat, typical shoes pay little attention to the true shape of the foot, forcing us to settle for flat soles, poor shock absorption, and sometimes impossibly small toe boxes.
Therefore, feet problems from shoes are just as frustrating as they are common. An improper fit, too-narrow toe box, or a lack of arch support can lead to conditions such as bunions, ingrown toenails, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.
Since our very skeletal structures (including those inside our feet!) are made with distinct curves, our feet need footwear shaped accordingly to be at their best.
Avoid These Common Shoe Mistakes
A little goes a long way in finding the perfect footwear fit. Here are a few common shoe problems to avoid as you search for your next pair of shoes:
- I’ll-fitting footwear (too tight or too loose): Sometimes the right pair of shoes is about finding the right fit. Your shoes should feel snug, not tight. Aim for a finger-width of space between your longest toe and the end of the toe box, and a snug fit around the ankle.
- Poor arch support: Without adequate arch support, your feet work harder than necessary to support your body with each step. Over time, this can lead to overuse conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
- Narrow toe box: Toes aren’t meant to be squished together, crowded and curled. A narrow toe box can cramp toes and surrounding joints, leading to bunions, hammertoes, and Morton’s neuroma.
- Flat or shallow heel cup: Take a peek at the bottom of your heel. What shape is it? While most feet have a curved heel, most shoes have a flat one. Choose footwear with a rounded, deep heel cup to support and protect your heel’s fat pad.
- Lack of shock absorption: Even the act of walking can put 2x–4x your body weight in added force on your bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments! While a certain amount of impact stress can be healthy for your bone density and strength, too much can lead to overuse injuries.
How Foot Anatomy Affects Foot Health
Our feet are some pretty mighty heroes. Made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments, they fully support our bodies with every step.
Your Plantar Fascia: True Sole Support
A leading player within our feet, our plantar fascia is a dense layer of connective tissue that stretches from the base of the heel to the base of the toes.
Imagine fascia as the “white stuff” just after you peel an orange. It surrounds and protects every muscle, organ, and yes—foot! When we move a bit too much or too little—or wear unsupportive footwear—this connective tissue can become painfully tight and inflamed, known as plantar fasciitis.
Your Foot's Fat Pads: Built-In Shock Absorption
Since our feet are made to be walked on, it makes sense we’ve got a bit of built-in cushion. Our feet contain fat pads in the ball and heel, which acts as our body’s natural shock-absorbers.
Since our fat pads naturally break down as we grow older, it’s important we protect them with high quality footwear that can help absorb shock.
Your Arches: The Underlying Bridge
Whether they are high, low, or somewhere in between, every foot is built with a natural arch, curving from the heel to the toe.
Though our ancestors might have been fine walking barefoot on dirt or mud roads, modern-day hardwood and concrete landscapes are rarely kind to our arches.
That means we need extra cushion and support to help reduce pressure on our feet, keeping them happy and healthy.
Common Foot Conditions
Have foot pain and wonder what it might be? Your doctor is the first place to start. They’ll evaluate your history and assess your unique situation before offering a diagnosis.
In the meantime, here’s a look at a few foot problems from bad shoes:
- Plantar fasciitis: Your plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that extends from your heel to your toes. When that tissue becomes irritated or inflamed, the result is plantar fasciitis.
- Morton’s neuroma: Often felt as a “pebble in the shoe,” Morton’s neuroma occurs when irritated nerves in the ball of the foot cause surrounding tissue to thicken around them.
- Achilles tendonitis: An inflammation of the tendon that attaches the heel bone to the calf muscle, typically caused by overuse.
- Neuropathy: Also known as peripheral neuropathy, neuropathy is inflammation or damage of the nerves in one or more areas of the body.
- Pronation or supination: Pronation refers to an ankle that rolls (or pronates) inward too much while supination refers to an ankle that rolls outward more than it should.
Wearing quality shoes for problem feet can be an especially important ingredient for relief from symptoms. The best shoes for foot problems are those that feature high-quality arch support, shock-absorbing cushion, and plenty of wiggle room in the toe box.
Find the Difference with KURU Footwear
At KURU, we believe your feet shouldn’t have to hurt. Our goal is to engineer comfortable, supportive footwear to empower you to chase your dreams.
That’s why every shoe in our lineup—from sneakers to flip-flops—delivers superior arch support, shock-absorbing cushion, and our patented KURUSOLE technology, which hugs your heel and dynamically flexes with each step.
This unique blend of foot support can offer pain relief from foot pain conditions so you can get back to doing what you love.