Wearing any kind of shoe with a heel is detrimental to our joint and muscle health. Even the heel in an athletic shoe can wreek havoc on the mechanics of our walking or running and it does this to a tune of millions of repititions throughout each step we take in our lives. I believe this has become a marketing technique to create the “most comfortable” cushioned shoe for consumers. For example if you put a shoe on that has a higher heel like a running shoe then you foot feels great, because it dosen’t have to work! The super structure that is built into the shoe does everything for you. From a Physical Therapy standpoint that is not what our foot is designed for. The muscles of the foot need to be maintained and strong to support good foot mechanics and overall joint health. The below chart show the worst of all high heel violations the women’s dress shoe.
The high heeled womens dress shoe is a social norm but that does not make it right, and our athletic “comfortable” shoes are no different. Physical Therapists face the challenge every day with injured patients demonstrating shortened heel cords and tight calf muscles from years of higher heeled shoes… men just as much as women. Today there are alternatives to the highly cushioned and higher heeled shoes that only have a few millimeters of forefoot to heel elevation. This I believe is a healthier alternative that cultivates proper alignment and mechanics of the lower body.