Shoe Design Flaws

  • heel elevation: Unfortunately, almost every shoe available this day and age has some sort of heel height, this is especially harmful in athletic shoes.
  • toe spring: (sole upwards curvature) From the ball of the foot to the toes, many shoes curve upwards, incorrectly lifting the toes off the ground.
  • tapered toebox: (narrow toe area) Nearly every shoe narrows from the ball of the foot to the toes (symmetrically), however the shape of the foot is widest at the toes and off-center from the big toe.
  • curved last: (i.e. "crooked" last) The mid-foot area of the sole is cutout denying use of the 5th metatarsal ray, which is naturally a weight-bearing bone.
* other design flaws that you need to be aware of include: motion control, arch support, plush cushioning, thick soles, shank stiffeners, and medial posting devices.
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articles of evidence

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Footwear: The Primary Cause of Foot Disorders
   to read article click here
Dr. Rossi, a podiatrist with over 400 published articles, explains the details of how footwear design affects the health of our feet.  Main points:
  • Elevated heels create a "domino effect" of bones
  • Shortened achilles tendons in shoe-wearing countries
  • Nearly all shoes neglect the weight-bearing function of the mid-foot & toes
  • Lacing shoes is nothing more than "foot corseting"
  • "The less a shoe does TO a foot, the better FOR the foot"
Dr. William A. Rossi
Dr. William A. Rossi
Children's Footwear: Launching Site for Adult Foot Ills
   to read article click here
Dr. Rossi explains how shoes both "deform and handicap" our feet from early development.  He comes up with a solution calling for podiatrists to lead the way by encouraging healthy foot development in childhood which will force shoe manufacturers, for the first time in history, to introduce shoes that "do not deform and defunctionalize feet."  Interesting points:
  • The Myth of Support
  • The Myth of Pronation
  • The Myth of Ankle Support

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Dr. Ray McClanahan
takes a rare approach in podiatry.  He helps clients to a more self-sustainable foot instead of setting out to make immediate and often short-lived corrections.  His entire site is incredibly knowledgeable.  Click here


"Many people know that high heels are more about fashion than being orthopedically-sound for walking. But what is wrong with athletic shoes? Even athletic shoes elevate the heel, extend the toes, and pinch the toes together. Instead of enhancing performance, this actually compromises the natural gait, leading to chronically tight extensor muscles and toes that structurally change so that they are crunched toward the midline. The foot functions best as a barefoot, that is, when the heel and forefoot are completely level, and the toes are allowed to flex, extend, and spread."

"...the reality, the shoe market is driven by what “looks good” on the shelf and will therefore sell. This is as true of athletic shoes as it is of fashion shoes...Indeed, even when shoe designers are presented with findings that flat, wide shoes are optimal for foot function and health, they do not utilize this information, because such a style is not congruous with the fashionable look. Additionally, considerably more money can be charged for a shoe that boasts “arch support” or “motion control” than for a simple flat shoe. So ultimately, the very shoes that are supposed to enhance performance actually hinder it by altering natural foot shape and gait."
quoted by Dr. Ray McClanahan