The Ideal Shoe

What is an inappropriate shoe?

Generally speaking, we as podiatrists generally define a shoe as being inappropriate if it has the following features:

  • A worn or slippery sole
  • No firm heel counter
  • No fixation i.e. laces, straps, Velcro
  • A heel height greater than 4cm
  • A soft midsole offering no support
  • A narrow heel with minimal ground contact i.e. stiletto shoes

What are the dangers of inappropriate footwear?

When you think about the amount of time we spend in our shoes, it does not come as a surprise that wearing shoes with poor structure and features can lead to foot, knee, hip or back pain, can increase the risk of a fall (this does not only relate to older people), can physically do damage to the feet, and more.

Instability and poor bony alignment due to lack of support from footwear can throw out our bony alignment at the knees, hips and back, causing unnecessary pain that can often be rectified with the help of some supportive, well-structured shoes.

The risk of having a fall is a concern for many older people, but tripping, rolling ankles and poor stability can also be an issue for anyone of any age due to poor footwear.

Higher heels with limited ground contact, limited or no fixation, a worn, slippery sole and having no fixation on a shoe are huge contributors to the above-mentioned issues.

A poorly fitting shoe can also lead to physical, visible damage to the feet such as blisters, bunions, claw and hammer toes, callous, ingrown toenails and more.


So, what is an ideal shoe?

When deciding on footwear, the features you want to look for are:

  • A heel height lower than 4cm
  • Adequate ground contact throughout the length of the sole of the shoe
  • A firm heel counter
  • Adequate fixtures- laces or Velcro, straps
  • A rigid midsole- the shoe should not flex at the midpoint of the sole
  • A sole that has non-slip properties i.e. not flat

It is also important to wear appropriate footwear around the home. Potential hazards such as increased risk of slips have been identified for people who go barefoot, wear socks or flimsy slippers around the home.


There is now a market for specially designed, supportive slippers, as pictured on the left.

Should you have questions about your current footwear and whether it is appropriate, safe and supporting your foot correctly, or if you would like advice on purchasing new footwear that is specifically appropriate for your personal foot type and needs, make an appointment to see one of the friendly, knowledgeable podiatrists at

Erica Dash Podiatry

Call today on 02 4367 0177 or email

Erica Dash Podiatry

Leaders in lower limb care embracing the whole family…