Our favorite flip-flops and flats are often bad for our feet, but that doesn’t mean you need to wear big hiking boots or running shoes all summer. Just look for a shoe with a firm sole and a soft upper, the University of Maryland Medical Center advised.
There should be a half-inch of wiggle room between the front of the shoe and your longest toe. And forget about that “breaking in” period — a good pair of shoes feels comfortable as soon as you put them on. As for flip-flops, there may not be a way to make that $2 plastic pair work for your feet, but they’re usually okay in moderation. Wear them poolside but not on a long stroll.
If you already have foot pain, or just a closet full of unsupportive shoes, watch out for these common foot problems:
Bunion: a painful swelling on the first joint of the big toe, often caused by those cute but uncomfortable pointy-toed shoes.
Corns: callused skin on the side of the toe caused by ill-fitting shoes. While they’re usually not painful, they’re not aesthetically pleasing, either. They go away with better-fitting shoes, or you can wear them down with a pumice stone.
Plantar fasciitis: swelling and pain in the tendon that connects your heel bone to your toes. Flats and sandals that lack support tend to be the culprit here.
Morton’s neuroma: Look out for tingling between the third and forth toes, toe cramping and shooting pain in the balls of the feet. Blame too-tight shoes here.