Given that a. it's summer and b. feet are important, let's focus on the latter for a moment. My clients know they get a big ol' cringe when they tell me they wore heels all weekend, followed by an I-told-you-so when they complain their back hurts. If the feet are suffering, it throws off the entire kinetic chain. I know heels are sexy, but why punish your sweet, sweet joints like that? They should last 110 years if we treat them right. Katy Bowman, badass biomechanist, lists her recommendations on how to best pamper your piggies during sandal season.
This is my third footwear list; previously I’ve posted a general footwear list, and a winter list. In light of “National Flip Flop Day” (here’s why I don’t recommend flip flops) and a Huffington Post article, “The Worst Shoes You Can Wear This Summer” where shoes were subjectively ranked “1-5” for safety, wedge heels were touted as safer for you than flat sandals or sneakers, and no shoes scored a “1”, for “very safe”, I thought I’d step in with a slightly different perspective.
My summer shoe list is less about shoes and more about feet. Shoes that provide a basic buffer between the urban jungle and your body without interfering (too much) with the biological and biomechanics functions of your body make the list. Anything other than barefoot on natural terrain comes with a tax, but I wanted to list some options that offer a chance at better body-geometry.
My favorite summer shoes are my feet, but when you’re wanting a shoe I figure you’ll be wanting something cool (temperature-wise), cool (stylin’-wise), and functional. Any shoe that’s fine to stand around in but not appropriate for walking will not be making my list, as you can imagine.
Soft Star Shoes (check out their new Solstice Sandal)
Havaianas (look for the sandals with a strap around your ankle)
You can also check out Etsy; there are many people hand making shoes, like The Drifter Leather.
If you don’t want to order new shoes, but instead feel excited about the idea of up-cycling what’s currently in your closet:
Going from “flats” to flats
Check out The Resilient Body‘s tutorial on popping off those small 1/4″ heels that are on those easy-to-find, inexpensive “flat” sandals at Ross or TJMaxx.
If you’re excited about power tools, you can do what we do to the “flats” (and not so flats) we come by. Power tools solve problems.
The “best” shoes
Keep in mind that the right footwear is the right footwear for you. Conventional “best shoes” lists stress arch support and a slight heel to take the load off of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. Why? After a lifetime of wearing shoes that have arch support and elevated heels (and sitting in a chair in those shoes, a double calf-shortening whammy) your body has adapted to needing those crutches. If you want to reduce your dependence on shoes, you have to use your feet more. Transitioning to minimal shoes means that, over time, you’ll need to stop outsourcing your body’s work to various components of these inanimate objects.
Before you select any pair of shoes, consider the current state (strength) of your feet and what you’ll be walking on. Remember that the most important feature of any shoe is the person wearing them. If the state of your physical body is alerting you to problem, consider not only changing your shoes, but the person wearing them–for the better– by learning more about how your body works, and engaging with corrective exercises and better all-day movement.
And for those who need a visual...