Expensive Shoes Hurting Your Feet?

There is a new disease of the foot now appearing more and more frequently in podiatrists’ offices.  It is even being discussed in the literature; especially the biomechanical literature.  It is called “Expensive Shoe Disease.”

This is a condition(s) in which you suffer with pain in the feet, legs, hips, or even the lower back.  The symptoms commonly entail many of the painful conditions associated with poor biomechanics or alignment. Examples of this are plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, etc.  The pain is due to the lack of biomechanical support and alignment from the shoe!  That is right, it is the shoe.  The solution?  Stop wearing those specific shoes!

We are talking about those shoes that have been reincarnated from the 60’s and 70’s.  Shoes that, essentially, are a flimsy canvas or fabric material on the upper and attached below to a flimsy rubber sole.  If you are old enough to remember them, you know what I am talking about.  These shoes offer very little support and stabilization.  Thus, pain may eventually be felt from faulty biomechanics.


Why are they made if they may cause pain?  Money!   These shoes were manufacturers answer to the barefoot phenomenon fad.  The barefoot fad has been shown with research to help some conditions, yet, cause other painful problems.  While most have given up on trying barefoot, manufacturers have not.

As a result of successful branding, the shoes have become some of the public’s must have foot wear or “Kicks.”  So, as a capitalistic society, they have become “Expensive” as compared to your standard sneaker.  Money talks. So much so that even after being told that they are not the best biomechanically sound shoe, with their branding, they are selling. Therefore, they refuse to stop as they sell, sell, sell!

Stylish Comfort Shoes

When you see someone on stage with these “Fashionable” shoes, realize they may not, and probably are not, the best for you.

I have some patients that are performers. They have promised me they will remove them after the show.  They have to wear them as they have to keep in style!

Fortunately, comfort shoe companies are starting to design shoes that are similar to these wanted shoe styles but without sacrificing comfort and support for style. Look for shoes that will bend only at the ball of the foot and offer a more rigid heel counter (firmness around the heel).

In conclusion, avoid expensive shoe disease by purchasing foot wear that helps support and align.


David J. Sables, D.P.M., C. Ped