Our long-awaited summer is here! Warmer weather, lighter clothes and of course, many different options for shoes. The change in season brings a welcomed change of wardrobe and footwear to match the outfit or activity.
So, function over fashion, or fashion first? Well, that depends on purpose and duration of activity.
I really enjoy summer flip flops, slides, sandals, sneakers and of course, bare feet whenever possible. This variation in footwear can cause an abrupt change to the feet and the ascending postural gravity lines causing issues with the knees and low back.
Your gait and waking cycle will be altered based upon the footwear you choose. Sneakers and running shoes afford a longer stride, while sandals may limit the stride length and cause the plantar fascia on the bottoms of the feet to work a little harder due to the construction of the sandal and perhaps less support. Kicking around a campsite in 5 year-old, past-their-prime sandals is fine for a short duration, but nowhere near sufficient for a 3 km hike.
Our feet can swell significantly in warm weather, leading to foot discomfort at the end of the day. When trying on a sandal in the store, be mindful of your cool foot vs. a hot and swollen mid-afternoon foot and the sizing available. Soaking your feet in cool water is a great way to reduce inflammation; cue: hanging your feet off the dock into the lake water!
A few other tips for your summer feet:
- Calluses are protective, but don’t let them get out of control.
- Pedicures are helpful for a refresh of summer feet.
- Epsom salt soak + foot file scrub every few weeks.
- Apply a healing cream/ointment for the heels. Cracked heels are painful.
- Stretching the calves and hamstrings. Try the yoga pose downward facing dog for a great lower leg stretch.
- Go barefoot when possible. It can strengthen your feet.
Choose your footwear wisely. An overworked foot due to a poor shoe choice can take 4-6 weeks to resolve. Enjoy your summer by keeping your feet happy. So, fashion vs. function?……I lean to the side of appropriate function.