Starting with the sole, arch support — that little bump in the center of the insole — will help you maintain better alignment. It’s all about keeping your foot as neutral as possible, not pronated (rolling inward), not supinated (rolling outward), but right in the middle. It’s normal to pronate throughout the gait cycle, but it’s over pronation that can cause other problems such as heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, or even stress fractures. Supporting your arch can prevent you from over pronating, and a thicker overall sole is preferable than to one that’s completely flat.
The Deal with Heels
If you’re more comfortable with a heel, some height is totally okay! In fact, it’s healthier to switch up your shoe height and style from day to day. Personally, I’m a wedge girl. A wedge style is great, because the surface area that your body weight gets distributed across is much greater than a typical high heeled sandal. The chunkiness adds stability, and there’s a little heel height. A couple of my favorite Vionic wedges are the Maris Wedge and the Ainsleigh Wedge.
My third tip when shopping for summer sandals is to look for thicker straps. The more straps, the better! These will hold you in, and a shoe that has a back and/or ankle strap is ideal. In a slide, thong, or any other open silhouette, your toes are constantly gripping in order to keep the shoe from sliding off your foot. This can cause strain on the baby muscles in your feet, and it can also make common issues like bunions, hammer toes, and pinched nerves even worse. I recommend the Veranda Sandal for it’s beach-ready feel and secure backstrap.
Dr. Jacqueline Sutera is a surgically trained doctor of podiatric medicine specializing in the prevention and treatment of foot pathology. She currently resides in New York City and is an active member of Vionic’s Innovation Lab.