What Are The Negative Effects Of Wearing Bad Shoes?

Have you ever bought a pair of non-supportive shoes because they look cute only to wear them and find that they leave your feet feeling uncomfortable and in pain? You’re not alone! We know it can be tempting and easy to justify purchasing a pair of cheap, uncomfortable shoes without considering whether or not they are giving your feet the support they need, but it’s important to keep in mind that cheap, unsupportive shoes can be doing more harm than good. We know that it can be tough to know the effects of wearing bad shoes without doing research, that’s why we’ve taken the guesswork out. So, how should shoes fit? Keep reading as we take you through the worst shoes for your feet and what you need to look for in your shoes to make sure they have the supportive infrastructure your feet need to feel comfortable and supported all day long

Does Supportive Footwear Matter? Breaking Down The Why

Before we dive into the negative effects of wearing unsupportive footwear, first let’s review why having proper support in your shoe matters, one step at a time.

Have you ever been standing on an aisle looking at shoes and justified buying a running shoe that you know aren’t supportive because they’re cute and will look great with your outfit? We’ve all been there. Many people equate footwear with protection for your feet, which is one of the main functions of shoes, but there is much more that you should be looking for in your footwear. Another common misconception we encounter is when people believe that just because they have comfortable shoes, they are supportive. Even when shoes are comfortable, if they don’t have the proper supportive infrastructure, they can lead to heel pain, foot pain, and a myriad of other potential foot problems over time? 

One of the key elements to look for in a supportive shos is proper arch support. The benefits of arch support impact your daily routine and foot health. Because of this, arch support is one of our most important features to look for in footwear to make sure your type of shoe benefits your feet. Did you know that with every step and stride you take, your arch absorbs the impact your body is thrusting on your feet? The arch of your foot bears two hundred thousand to three hundred thousand pounds of stress for every mile you walk, which is why it’s vital to make sure your feet have the arch support you need! Now that you know why proper support matters, it’s also important to take a look at why having shoes that fit properly is vital.

Finding the Right Shoe: Why Your Fit Matters

By the time you’re an adult, it can be easy to think you have your shoe fit nailed down, but it’s actually incredibly common for people to wear shoes that are the incorrect length and width for their feet. It may seem simple to find shoes that fit, but it can actually be more difficult than you think. In addition, it can be common for individuals to buy up or down a half-size or full shoe size depending on the availability of the shoe they are looking for (we know a great sale price can be hard to say no to!). Did you know your shoe size can also change as you age as your tendons relax and your feet naturally begin to spread? For women, shoe size can also change due to pregnancy. There are many different factors that can affect your shoe size and how shoes will fit you, which is why we recommend being sized by a professional once or twice per year to make sure you’re wearing the right size and know what to look for in shoes to make sure they fit properly. 


Now that you know why proper support and fit matter, let’s walk through the negative effects of wearing ill-fitting, unsupportive footwear.


The Consequences of Wearing Bad Shoes

When you think of the consequences of wearing bad shoes, you may think of discomfort and pain as the top negative effects, whether it’s from a pair of heels for women or even a pair of walking shoes. While these are two of the consequences of wearing bad shoes, there are many more short-term and long-term negative side effects that you can experience from wearing unsupportive footwear. Below we have compiled basic information about a handful of foot health consequences from wearing bad shoes.

Short-Term Effects

  • Nail Problems: Ill-fitting shoes can actually cause you to develop nail and fungal problems as a result? If your shoes are placing pressure on the sides of your toes, it can actually push your skin into your nail plate, which can cause you to develop an ingrown toenail. In addition to developing ingrown toenails, wearing tight shoes can cause a fungal toenail infection. Fungal toenail infections can be unsightly because they cause your toenail to become brittle and discolored. Fungal toenail infections can develop due to a single instance or repeated, minor instances of trauma to your toes, which can actually lift your toenail enough that organisms can enter the nail bed under your nail plate and grow, developing into a fungal infection.
  • Athlete’s Foot: Athlete’s foot is a common condition that is caused by a dermatophyte, which is a fungal species that lives on the skin. It can be caused by tight shoes and force the toes into close proximity with each other. Consequences of athlete’s foot can include inflammation, flaking of the skin, and intense itching. Thankfully, investing in properly fitting footwear and an antifungal cream can help knock athlete’s foot out.
  • Corns: Have you ever heard of corns? Corns are dead, hard skin that can develop over a bony prominence, such as on the side of your feet or toes. Corns are often caused by prolonged pressure being exerted on a specific area. When your shoes are too loose for example, they will slide and rub as they move in the shoes, which can exert pressure and cause a corn to develop. Corns can be very painful because they can contain blood vessels and/or nerve fibers. Corns can also attach themselves into the deeper soft tissues, which can make removing them in their entirety difficult.
  • Pain/Discomfort: In addition to the conditions outlined above, you can also experience pain and/or discomfort due to wearing unsupportive, ill-fitting footwear. At Vionic, we believe that you should never have to choose between style and support. In fact, we’ve built our business on it! Whoever says that you have to be in pain to look great has never walked a mile in Vionic.

    Long-Term Effects

    • Back Pain/Posture Problems: There are many long-term effects that can come from wearing supportive, ill-fitting footwear, including back pain and subsequent posture issues. You may be wondering how this can happen. Your shoes actually play an important role in the alignment of your body and your posture. When you wear bad shoes for a prolonged period of time, lumbar spinal muscle action can become exacerbated. This can cause stiffening and changes in your posture to develop. In addition, lumbar intervertebral disc compression can develop, which can result in lower back pain. Luckily, there are ways to learn how to relieve lower back pain if you do begin to experience this with bad shoes.
    • Joint Pain: In addition to back pain, bad shoes can also cause joint pain in your knee. When your footwear doesn’t have the proper supportive infrastructure, your knees can be forced to bend more to help reduce the shock your feet experience with each step you take. This subsequently can cause the muscles on the front of your thighs to have to work harder to help propel each of your steps forward. In the long-term, this can result in the development of knee pain and arthritis.
    • Collapsed Arches: If you are wearing shoes that don’t offer proper support, one of the long-term foot problems can be fallen or collapsed arches. This can occur when the muscles at the back of the leg and the Achilles tendon are tight when walking, which can strain the ligaments that support the arch, the tendon of the muscle, and the plantar fascia. Over time, this prolonged strain can cause a lowering of the arch and associated pain in the arch and heel area of the foot.

    Now that you know some of the short-term and long-term effects of bad shoes, you’ll have a better idea of why proper support and fit matters and what’s at stake when you buy cheap, uncomfortable shoes. The worst shoes for your feet are any shoes that don’t fit your feet properly and give your feet the support they need, regardless of the style of the shoe. Thankfully, orthopedic shoes help to prevent these issues from arising by giving your feet the support they need. If you’re looking for the right shoes with support  and design, look no further than Vionic’s footwear. Our mission is to create footwear that hugs your arches like a natural footprint and can enhance your wardrobe with the latest styles so that you can have comfort and pep in every step you take!


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