Have you heard of the term arch support but aren’t quite sure if it’s a must-have? Have you wondered to yourself “Why is arch support important” or “How important is arch support”? If that’s the case, you are far from alone. We know it can be tough to assess how vital different features in your footwear are without a baseline understanding of what they mean, what they do, and why they matter. We know life can be busy and it can be a challenge to dig through the internet looking for all the information you need to make an informed decision in your limited spare time, which is why we’ve done the research for you. At Vionic, we believe that you should have all of the information you need to make an informed decision about your unique needs and we take pride in being able to connect you with simple guides to the information you need so that you can feel empowered and prepared when you look for your footwear. We never want you to feel unsure and uncomfortable when determining the needs of your feet and what you have to have in your footwear. To give you the basics on all things arch support, we’ll walk you through all the topics we feel are imperative to understand to have a foundational knowledge of why arch support is important.
We not only want to help you understand why arch support is important and what the consequences can be when you’re in shoes with improper arch support, we have earned a place in the industry as a trusted resource that has dedicated foot doctors, research teams, and shoe stylists to make sure you never have to choose between style and support again. Along the way, we’ll educate you on how the arch of the foot works, the history of the grounds we tread on and how they relate to the arches of your feet, the consequences of improper arch support, and the benefits of wearing supportive footwear. Learn more about how we use orthaheel technology to create our supportive shoes.
The Lowdown on the Arch of the Foot
Before we dive into why good arch support is important to have in your footwear, first let’s take a moment to walk through how the arch of the foot works and why it’s important to both your mobility and comfort.
Did you know that the arch is one of the most important structural elements of the feet? The foot actually had three arches that make up the arch of your foot, each of which is supported by various ligaments and tendons within the feet. The arches of your feet consist of two longitudinal (medial and lateral) arches and one anterior transverse arch. The formation of these arches is made up of both metatarsal and tarsal bones.
The way the arch of your foot is structured makes it act as a spring, allowing it to bear the weight of your body and act as shock absorption that is inflicted on your feet with every step you take. The arches of your feet, while small and delicate visually, bear a huge amount of pressure. With every mile you walk, the arches of your feet bear two hundred thousand to three hundred thousand pounds of stress. The arches are pivotal parts of movement and properly absorbing the pressure our bodies put onto our feet with every stride. The arches of the feet also give your feet flexibility that helps facilitate movements like running and walking. They also help you to adapt to changes in terrain, stabilize movement, create balance, and to be weight bearing. Now that you know how the arch of the foot works and what it does, we’re going to walk you through how the surfaces we tread on have evolved over time and the ramifications on our feet.
The Surfaces We Tread On: A Brief History
When you look back at history, human beings used to have very different lives in nearly every regard. One of the facets of human history that you may not have considered is how the surfaces we tread on have changed over time and the impact those changes have had on our relationship to the surfaces we walk on.
Did you know that our feet are naturally designed to walk on forgiving surfaces like sand and dirt? When we tread on these soft, forgiving surfaces, our feet gain natural arch support because the dirt and sand contour to our feet, filling in all of the unique curves of our feet. In the past thousand years or so, this has largely changed. We’ve gone from walking on soft surfaces that mold to our footprint to treading primarily on hard, man-made surfaces that are rigid and unforgiving. Examples of these hard, unforgiving surfaces include marble, concrete, tile, and hardwood floors, to name a few. While these surfaces are all beautiful and functional for how we currently live, they have really created the opposite of environment of the natural surfaces we used to walk on. So why does this difference matter?
This change in the surfaces we tread on has a noticeable impact on our feet. When we walk on soft, forgiving surfaces, they naturally contour to the feet and hug our natural footprint. However, when we walk on hard, unforgiving surfaces, the ground does not contour at all, which causes our feet to try to contour to the ground. This triggers a chain reaction of collapse that extends from our feet through to our knees and up to our backs. This can cause a number of different foot problems, as well as discomfort and pain. To prevent this, it is necessary to have proper footwear with cushion orthotics and arch support that mimic your natural footprint and hug the unique arch of your feet.
So..What Happens When You Don’t Have Good Arch Support?
By now you’re an expert on what the arch of the foot does and how the surfaces we tread on have evolved over time. To understand why arch support matters, we want to walk you through some of the negative ramifications of not having proper arch support or arch support inserts.
One of the most common symptoms of improperly supported arches is arch pain. Arch pain can develop for a number of different reasons, typically resulting from structural issues or injury to the ligaments, tendons, bones, or muscles that form the arch of the foot. Structural issues of the arch of the foot can also be aggravated by aging, overuse, weight gain, or physical stress. Examples of a structural issue of the arch are flat feet (low arches) or high arches. There are also several common foot conditions that can cause arch pain and be aggravated by improper arch support. Below is a breakdown of a few common conditions that can cause arch pain.
- Overpronation: Overpronation is a term that is used to describe how your foot moves when you walk. If you overpronate when you wald, the outer edge of your heel contacts the ground first and then begins to roll inward onto the arch of your foot. Over time, overpronation can lead to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the arch being damaged and experiencing arch pain. Overpronation can also cause corns or calluses and knee, hip, or back pain. Wearing proper footwear with arch support helps to correct overpronation and make sure your feet stay stable and aligned with each stride.
Plantar Fasciitis: One of the most common causes of arch pain is called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia, a ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot, becomes inflamed. What causes this inflammation? The cause of inflammation of the plantar fascia is due to it being stretched too much, which causes stress on the tissue of the foot. When this stretching occurs for an extended period of time, small tears develop on the surface of the plantar fascia, which causes it to become inflamed and uncomfortable. If the stretching and tearing continues, the inflammation, irritation, and pain continue to worsen. Wearing shoes without proper arch support place more pressure on the arch of your foot, which can contribute to the development and worsening of plantar fasciitis. By wearing shoes with proper arch support, the symptoms of plantar fasciitis can be improved by giving the arch the support it needs and alleviating some of the pressure and stretching afflicting the plantar fascia. Shop our collection of plantar fasciitis shoes for women or plantar fasciitis shoes for men to help treat your pain with shoes designed specifically for your needs. Plus, if you’re looking for a variety, we’ve also compiled a list of the best boots for plantar fasciitis and slippers plantar fasciitis!
These are just a few examples of potential consequences that can occur when the arch of your foot is not properly supported. Investing in footwear that has the supportive technology to hug your arch can help to prevent the development of common foot problems and associated arch pain.
Is Supportive Footwear Really Better?
At this point in the article, you know the basics on how important the arch of your foot is and how many issues can arise when it doesn’t get the support and shock absorption it needs, but we haven’t introduced you to some of the benefits you can get from wearing supportive, orthopedic footwear. Not only will your arch be supported and your likelihood for developing common arch ailments decreased, but there are also a number of other wonderful benefits that orthopedic footwear impart. Below we’ll walk you through a step by step of how supportive footwear is better and why it’s worth investing in. Also, check out our blog that discusses the best orthopedic shoes for women.
- Orthopedic shoes can boost your comfort so it feels like you’re walking on clouds. We know comfort is one of the most important factors in any piece of footwear. Orthopedic shoes with arch support give your feet the stability and cushioning they need to experience unparalleled comfort. With Vionic, you don’t need to sacrifice style for the comfort you love!
- Supportive footwear can help promote blood flow and reduce swelling in your ankles and feet. Many of us suffer from swollen feet, which can cause pain and joint immovability. We know you’ll want relief and comfort as soon as possible. Orthopedic shoes can help deliver just that by helping to improve blood flow by properly aligning your body and reducing the shock your feet experience with each step you take.
- Orthopedic shoes can help to reduce foot, heel, and arch pain. Many of the pains you experience after wearing a pair of shoes stem from it not having the right supportive features your feet need. For shoes to support your feet properly, they need cushioning that make soften the blow to your feet with each step and arch support that helps to hug your natural footprint and prevent injury and strain to the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons in your feet.
- You don’t have to sacrifice style for support, we promise! We know it can seem like you can’t find supportive footwear in all of the styles you love, but at Vionic we’ve built our business around making sure you never have to wear uncomfortable, unsupportive shoes in the name of fashion. We’ve developed all of your favorite, fashion-forward styles with the support built-in so that you can have the comfort of custom orthotics in everything from slippers to high heels.
We never want you to experience pain and discomfort for the sake of an outfit and with Vionic you never have to again. Our cushioned shoes provide essential stability and addictive support. They have a contour seamlessly engineered into every slipper, sandal, high heel, and shoe to help support your natural alignment from the ground up. Many Vionic shoes carry the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance without sacrificing the trendy styles we know you love. We want to make supportive technology accessible to everyone so that you never have to feel the pain caused by improper arch support again. It’s easy to see why arch support is so important and we’re here to help make sure your arches always have the support and stability they need!