We’ve been giving side-eye to the age-old concept that beauty (or style) is pain for, well, ever. Because in no way should you ever sacrifice comfort and happiness for the sake of fashion. Can I get a YES? Great. Alas, even so, there are standard items—in the shoe department especially—that inherently come with a side of soreness.
To be honest, you’re probably well-versed in some of the basic shoe trends that are bad for your feet (ahem, sky-high pumps). But what about the other classic shoes that are stocked in all of our closets? To assess the specific shoes that could cause the most pain and damage, we went straight to an expert by tapping Benjamin Tehrani of Kings Point Foot & Ankle in Los Angeles.
What’s interesting is that he didn’t just advise on the silhouettes that will cause the most pain; he actually ranked the basic shoes we all own from good to straight-out horrendous. Intrigued? Keep scrolling to check out the doctor-endorsed rank list (starting with the best first) and see where your favorite shoes fall on the spectrum. If you’re looking to upgrade your offering with some of the top shoe styles, we curated a range of fresh silhouettes that fit in the most comfortable categories to shop as well.
“These offer very little plantar fascia support. It’s almost as if you were walking in Vibram shoes. Your fascia is the connective tissue that supports your feet as you walk, and too much tension in the fascia can lead to tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and even arthritis in the feet long term.” — Benjamin Tehrani
“These cause excess plantarflexion in the ankle, which forces your foot to look down more. You place more of the weight on the ball of the feet, which can cause metatarsalgia. Wearing these for hours at a time can cause constriction of the toes together, which is what causes bunions and hammertoes. If you’re going to wear high heels, wear heels that have side panels you can at least fit a custom insert in them and give your feet the support they deserve! I’ve operated on many feet that have been exposed to hours upon hours of use during work hours. I’ve even seen fractures of the metatarsal bones due to wearing stilettos for hours. I think it’s important to choose a stiletto that fits well, doesn’t rub against your big toe, has support around the heel (versus the stilettos without panels on the side of the heel). I tell all the women who I know are still going to wear stilettos, to just wear them for dinners and weddings. A better alternative would be to wear a heel with a wedge or keep the heel height less than three inches if possible.”— Benjamin Tehrani
This post was published at an earlier date and has been updated.