It’s time to step into a discussion about posture and whether or not shoes can affect your posture. Posture problems affect so many of us and it’s important to have the right shoes for posture correction to make sure you can live pain-free without worrying about whether or not these problems are contributing to or exacerbating existing posture issues. We know it’s hard to find trusted information about how shoes and posture are related, which is why we have done the research for you to make sure you have the knowledge you need to find shoes for posture support. At Vionic, we believe that comfort isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. For those of you with bad posture, shoes and foot health can be the difference between pain and comfort. When researching posture problems and whether or not poor shoes have long-term effects on your body, we want you to feel informed and empowered to make the best choice possible.
We not only want to help you understand the importance of proper posture support and look for the best and most supportive shoes, we have earned a place in the industry as a trusted resource that has dedicated research teams, shoe stylists, and foot doctors to make sure we can create footwear that provides the support and alignment your feet need to prevent the onset of posture problems and have the leading styles you are looking for. Along the way, we’ll educate you on what proper posture is and why it matters, how unsupportive footwear can impact your posture, plus we will share our top tips for selecting footwear that ensures proper body alignment.
Hold On… What Exactly Is Proper Posture (And Why Does It Matter)?
Before we break down whether or not a pair of shoes can affect your posture, first let’s dive into what constitutes proper standing posture and why exactly posture matters.
Remember when you were little and your parents would tell you to sit up straight and not to hunch over? Or as you grew up and people would tell you to stand up straight? We do too and it all traces back to proper posture. This timeless advice is worth listening to because good posture actually plays a key role in balance. When you stand up straight, your weight is centered over your feet, which helps you to maintain proper balance. Did you know standing up straight can also help you to maintain correct form when you are exercising, which reduces injury? Posture is related to many different aspects of your life that you may not have realized. Not only does posture affect your balance and by extension, your performance in most types of athletic sports and exercises, it also plays a critical role in everyday movements you make, such as carrying a box, getting up from a chair, or climbing up a set of stairs.
You’ve probably heard at some point that bad posture is just a habit, but we’re here to tell you that it can actually be causing more harm than that. There are a number of different physical reasons that can cause you to have poor posture. If you have inflexible muscles, your range of motion will be decreased, which can disrupt your posture and throw it out of alignment. In addition, your muscle strength also plays an important role in proper posture and muscles. There are many different muscles that are required to have proper posture and good balance, such as strong lower leg muscles to steady you when standing and muscles in your back, pelvis, sides, and buttocks to pull your shoulders back and hold your body straight. Thankfully, doing simple exercises and balance-specific workouts can help to work out muscles groups that are lacking, which can help to correct some physical reasons for posture issues. You may be asking yourself, when we say “proper posture” or “good posture”, what exactly does that mean? We’ll break it down for you into a few key tenants that constitute a baseline.
Breaking Down Good Posture
Good posture isn’t as elusive as it can seem when you’re slumped over a computer desk at work. You may be compromising your posture without even realizing it. To do a quick check on how your posture is, it’s important to know what good posture means and what it looks like. Below are a few of the key elements of good posture.
- Shoulders even (you can roll your shoulders up, back, and down to help achieve this even posture)
- Abdominal muscles braced
- Hips even
- Knees even and pointing straight ahead
- Arms at your sides with elbows straight and even
- Neutral spin (this means that there should be no arching or flexing to overemphasize the curve in your lower back)
- Body weight distributed evenly on both feet
- Chin parallel to the floor
- When sitting, good posture means that your chin should be parallel to the floor, your knees and feet pointing straight ahead, and your shoulders, hips, and knees at even heights
Seems pretty simple, right? We know it can be much tougher in practice than just reading what it takes to have good posture. If you have posture problems, you’re not alone! According to the American Chiropractic Association, eighty percent of people have back pain at some point in their lives and half of all workers experience back pain symptoms each year. There are many different factors that can contribute to posture problems. If you’ve wondered if your shoes can affect your posture, we’re here to help make sure you have the answers.
Shoes and Posture Problems: What’s the Connection?
By now you’re an expert on the basics of posture and why it matters, but what about the connection between shoes and posture problems? If you’re wondering if shoes can affect your posture, the short answer is yes. Your shoes can have a noticeable impact on your posture and improper footwear can cause back pain and worsen posture issues over long periods of time. To understand how unsupportive footwear can exacerbate posture problems, it’s important to first understand the role of your feet in posture.
Did you know that when you walk, you put the force of five times your body weight on each of your feet? That’s a lot of shock for your feet to absorb! If your feet do not absorb that impact properly, your feet can develop issues or an injury as a result. If you are prone to poor posture and use unsupportive flat shoes, you are putting yourself at a higher risk of developing heel pain, sore joints, and ankle unalignment. The composition of your feet is vital to finding proper supportive footwear that aligns your body and redistributes the shock from each impact appropriately. The natural curve of your feet actually supports the curve of your spine and helps maintain a healthy posture. If your shoes are not supporting the curve of your feet properly, the alignment of your spine can be impacted as a result, which can lead to both back and foot pain. So how do you make sure the curve of your feet is properly supported?
Tailoring the type of orthopedic shoes you wear to your arch height is vital to helping alleviate posture problems due to improper footwear support. We know that when it comes to arches, there is no one-size-fits-all. The right type of support is extremely dependent on what type of arch you have. At Vionic, we believe that when you are equipped with the right information, you can choose footwear that addresses your unique foot composition and needs. Everyone deserves shoes that make them feel and look great! In fact, we’ve built our business on that. To help you determine your arch type, we’ve broken down a list of basic information about the three types of arches below.
- High Arches: If you have high arches, you have a well-defined arch that is high off of the ground. Feet with high arches cause more pressure to be placed on the rearfoot and forefoot, which means that these areas of your feet have to absorb more impact and shock. Feet with high arches have a decreased surface area to absorb the impact of movements, which makes them more prone to developing issues like heel pain and plantar fasciitis, to name a few. If you’re wondering if you have high arches, simply dip your foot in water and then place it on a piece of dark paper or the ground and look at the imprint. Feet with high arches will show a gap in the imprint where the arch of the foot is because of how high it is off the ground.
- Low Arches (Flat Feet): If you have feet with low arches, sometimes referred to as flat feet, then your feet have little arch definition. When there is little arch definition, the arch of the foot sits very low to the ground. Unfortunately, feet with low arches are considered biomechanically imbalances and are more susceptible to over-pronation, which occurs when your foot rolls too far inward with each step. As a result, feet with low arches can be more susceptible to developing a number of different foot issues. If you are wondering if you have flat feet, simply do the wet test described above. Feet with low arches will have little to no gap in the imprint because the arch of the foot is low to the ground or touching the ground.
- Medium Arches: Did you know that medium arches are the most common arch height and roughly sixty percent of the population has medium arches? Unlike flat feet or feet with high arches, feet with medium arches are considered biomechanically efficient. If you have medium arches, your feet will have a defined arch and be less flexible than feet with low arches. If you do the wet test described above, the imprint will show a gap for an arch in the imprint, though considerably less than a foot with a high arch and more than a foot with a low arch.
Once you know the type of arch you have, you can find the perfect type of supportive footwear for your feet. A common problem we see if people who think they have supportive footwear, but it doesn’t actually provide the type of support needed for their arch height. This is an easy mistake to make that can have a negative impact on your comfort and posture. Preventing your footwear from negatively impacting your posture or exacerbating existing posture problems comes down to finding supportive footwear that provides you with the arch support, cushioning, and alignment you need.
Our Top Tips for Selecting Footwear for Proper Body Alignment
We know it can be daunting to start your search for the perfect footwear to maintaining proper body alignment and support, that’s why we’ve broken down a few of our top tips for making sure you find footwear that’s comfortable and fit your feet. Below are our top tips for finding footwear for proper body alignment.
- Don’t sacrifice support for style. At Vionic, we believe you can have stylish orthopedic shoes. Whoever says beauty is pain hasn’t walked a mile in Vionic!
- Always look for arch support. Your arch is one of the most important structural elements of your foot and is responsible for absorbing all of the pressure that is exerted on your feet, so it needs the right support to perform at its peak and keep your body aligned.
- Look for heel and sole cushioning. Cushioning provides shock absorption with every step you take. Think of cushioning as clouds for your feet, trust us you want it!
If you’re looking for supportive footwear that helps to improve your posture, look no further than Vionic, Our mission is to create footwear that hugs your arches like a natural footprint and gives you the alignment and support you need, no matter where you are going! Vionic’s science-backed innovative footwear have seamlessly combined pioneering biomechanics technology and fashion-forward style to deliver unparalleled support in every pair of shoes we make.