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You know what your podiatrist will tell you: High heels are bad for your feet. So what's a fashionista to do? You don't want to do permanent foot damage in the name of style, but you can't exactly follow the foot doctor's orders when you want to glam it up for a party or night out. The hottest and best-looking shoes won't keep your feet in the best condition: Most foot doctors agree that flat shoes are the healthiest for your feet.
The American Podiatric Medical Association touts flat, lace-up walking shoes with a rubber or polymer sole as the healthiest shoes for female feet. Stylish but ill-fitting shoes can cause lasting foot issues and injuries. The APMA suggests taking a break from your high heels by wearing flat footwear, including walking shoes, when you don't need to look your hottest.
Some ladies with foot issues — and those who want to prevent them — still need to look stylish every day, so several shoe companies have designed walking or comfort pumps. These dressy shoes have heels of 2 inches or less, and cushy, supportive insoles similar to those in athletic shoes. If part of your everyday work attire includes pumps, these foot-loving styles provide the best bet.
The best shoe for a woman to wear for any sport or exercise is one developed specifically for the activity. Shoes intended for use in aerobics workouts, tennis or basketball provide lateral support that is absent from shoes designed for runners. Buy the athletic shoes made for each of your activities to prevent foot injuries while you play.
It's best to go shoe shopping in the afternoon or early evening, when your feet have become more swollen than right after you get up in the morning. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society points out that shoes should fit comfortably when you buy them. If you need to break them in, they don't fit correctly. Stick with shoes that feel good when you first put them on, and save your spikes for special occasions.