Written by podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab Expert Dr. Jackie Sutera
Oh, baby! When it comes to pregnancy, a lot of women wonder what shoes are best to wear. It’s important to remember that you should keep your feet both supported and comfortable. Check out my tips for foot care, finding support and what to look for in comfortable shoes for pregnancy.
SUPPORT YOUR FEET. Doing so can prevent and also relieve painful conditions such as arch and heel pain/plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. Avoid very thin and flat soled shoes as these can be almost as dangerous, in the long run, as 5 inch stilettos. When flats are too flat and too thin, they usually don’t offer any shock absorption or arch support. Shock absorption is super important, especially with pregnant women.
MAKE ROOM FOR SWELLING. The feet, ankles and legs will become swollen during pregnancy. You can bring some pairs to a shoe maker and have them stretched, or do it yourself with some over the counter shoe stretchers. Either way, gently stretching out some of the shoes you currently own to accommodate for swollen toes can be very helpful. It is also important to drink plenty of water to flush out excess fluids. Avoid salt and caffeine in your diet, which can make your body hold onto to extra fluids even more. What you eat also makes a big difference in how much fluid your body retains.
MASSAGE, REST, ELEVATE AND ICE. These are all great ways to reduce swelling and aches.
STRETCH CALVES. Runner’s stretch (against the wall) can be a gentle way to relieve leg cramps.
DON’T GO BAREFOOT. Being barefoot at home for long periods of time can lead to foot pain, especially during pregnancy when feet tend to spread and widen. Closed supportive slippers with extra cushioning, shock absorption and arch support are your best bet! Vionic’s Relax slipper is great and also adjustable.
COMPRESSION IS KEY. Compression sock/stockings can help with swelling and help prevent varicose veins made worse by pregnancy.
AVOID SKY-HIGH HEELS. Women should stick to heels no higher than 2 inches. First and second trimester women who have gained under 15 pounds can wear up to a 2 inch heel for an event or a few hours. Heels would not be a good idea in the last trimester when women tend to be swollen and heaviest. Wedges are best because they distribute your body weight across a larger surface area! Look at some Vionic styles like Cali or Frances, which are comfortable shoes for pregnancy yet offer a stylish complement to any outfit. Some slightly more elevated wedges to look at are Vionic’s Maris, Vero, Ainsleigh, and Kadyn.
ADD SOME CUSHION. What are the best shoes for pregnant women? Some with a little extra support added! Insoles may help to give flat shoes an arch and extra cushioning. Anyone with foot pain or problems may benefit from a more custom device, like an orthotic made by your podiatrist. Feet are the foundation of your whole skeleton. When your feet hurt, you start to shift your weight and “compensate.” This causes strain on muscles, joints, tendons, etc. to work in ways they are not intended to leading to knee, hip and back pain. Orthotics can neutralize the way you walk and redistribute body weight so that your whole skeleton is in better alignment as we walk. Check out Vionic’s Relief, Active and Women’s Slim Fit orthotics. Look for styles like Vionic’s Minna, Posey, Ashby, or Surin Flats.
*Pro tip: When looking for a new pair of comfortable shoes for pregnant women, if you can take a shoe and twist it, or bend it into a ball, it’s a no-go. Shoes with arch support, adequate cushioning and shock absorption will not be so flexible. You can tell if it has arch support by looking inside the shoe. It looks like a bump in the middle (on the same side of your big toe). And remember to look for the three: shock absorption, arch support and cushioning.
Looking for more pregnancy foot care tips? Check out our 7 Remedies for Swollen Feet During Pregnancy.