The Role of Athletic Footwear in Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
High quality athletic footwear can help maintain a healthy lifestyle in various ways. Check out some benefits athletic footwear can have.
Are you striving to live an active, healthy lifestyle? Whether boxing, running, working out at the gym, or professionally competing, wearing proper athletic footwear is crucial to an active lifestyle.
Athletic shoes help improve foot health and overall physical wellness, which is why consumers in the United States spent over $14 million on athletic footwear in 2022.
The Relationship Between Athletic Footwear and a Healthy Lifestyle
The average active person walks about 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day — that's a lot of wear and tear on the feet! So wearing shoes that are durable and comfortable enough for extended use is imperative.
Athletic footwear supports a healthy lifestyle in many ways, including:
- Promoting improved athletic performance
- Protecting the feet from external damage
- Preventing foot conditions such as ingrown toenails and bunions
- Supporting a range of motions like jumping, pivoting, and running
- Helping the feet stay healthy
- Keeping the bones, tissue, and joints of the feet comfortable
Low-Cost Shoes vs. High-Cost Shoes: Does It Matter?
In many cases, a higher price tag correlates to higher quality. But this is not necessarily true for running shoes.
In fact, an article from the New York Times showed that low and mid-cost shoes cushion runners' feet just as well as more expensive shoes. In some cases, they even performed better!
The price tag isn't what's important — the athletic footwear's design and performance are. So pay attention to the footwear condition and compare features such as:
- Sole support
- Cushioning stiffness
Whether you choose American-made footwear, gender-neutral footwear, or specialized footwear with a high price tag, paying attention to these features will help you choose the best product type for you.
How Running Shoes Aid in Injury Prevention
High levels of physical activity are very demanding on the feet, especially if you regularly participate in high-impact sports. Running is one of the most popular high-impact sports, but about 50% of runners suffer an injury each year that keeps them from running for some time.
So how can proper running shoes help prevent these injuries?
Transfer Impact Force
Running shoes move the actual impact force of footstrikes away from the Achilles, feet, and ankles and distribute it up to your knees and hips. This redirects forces to stronger muscles, preventing overuse injuries.
Prevent Bony Injury
Wearing running shoes can prevent the risk of a bony injury like a strain, fracture, and even a broken bone, especially when you run on uneven surfaces.
Types of Footwear for Active Living
Knowing your foot arch type is essential to choosing the correct shoes. You can then learn how to compare athletic footwear brands to see which is the best for you.
One of the easiest ways to determine what type of foot arch you have is to do the home water test in three simple steps:
- Pour water into a shallow dish or pan
- Place your foot in the pan and wet your foot soles
- Step onto a piece of paper
Little to no arch marking on the paper means you have a high arch. If the arch is mostly filled in, you have a low arch. You have a normal arch if you see about half of it on the paper.
Abnormal arches need a specific type of shoe to address and correct the problems they can cause for your feet and gait.
Shoes for High-Arched Runners
A high arch, also known as cavus foot, is a genetic or medically-induced condition that causes your foot arch to be higher than average, leaving a significant amount of space between your arch and the floor when the foot is bearing weight.
A high arch increases the impact on your heel and the ball of your foot when you stand or walk, which can negatively affect your balance and posture.
You may also deal with painful symptoms such as:
- Foot pain
- Ankle sprains
- Lateral knee pain
- Supination (when the feet twist outward)
- Hip and back pain
- Increased tendency for hammertoes and foot corns
Shoes for high-arched runners should have a supportive midsole with a rigid surface. You may also look for soft insoles that will reach the top of your arch and mold to your foot shape.
High-top athletic shoes that support proper ankle motion prevent twisting, and a slight heel lift takes the pressure off your Achilles tendon.
Shoes for Low-Arched Runners
Pronation, the inward leaning motion of the ankle bones and foot toward the arch, is common among runners with flat feet. The flatter your foot arch is, the more your feet will pronate. Overpronation increases your risk of a foot injury and causes many symptoms, such as:
- Knee pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Medial ankle pain
- Tendinitis of the posterior tibia
- Low back pain
- Shin splints
So it's important that flat-arched runners wear supportive footwear. Anti-pronation shoes are perfect for low-arched runners since they keep them from rolling their feet inward onto their arch.
You can look for a shoe that has a cushioned, flexible, and firm insole that will support your foot surface. The shoe should provide support while you stand or walk but be flexible enough to move with your foot.
You can also look for shoes with raised arch support in the middle of the sole. The extra support removes pressure from the center of your foot, helping it align and correcting your gait.
Shoes with a slightly raised or enclosed heel are also great for low-arched runners because they keep your heel in contact with the sole of the shoe and take pressure off your midsole.
Whether you have a low or high arch, you can get custom orthotic inserts from your foot doctor if you can't find the right running shoes at an athletic footwear store.
Pair the Right Athletic Shoes With the Right Socks
Wearing the right athletic shoes according to your sport, activity level, and foot shape can prevent injury and improve your physical fitness. For the best results, you should pair your shoes with appropriate socks, like the official sock of The Toe Bro, that are comfortable, breathable, and help wick away sweat.
Are you an active person with issues or pain with your foot? Be sure to consult your podiatrist with any concerns and see how The Toe Bro can help you maintain good foot health.
Related blog post
7 Foot Care Tips for Better Foot Health
Your feet work hard. They take several thousand steps a day to get you from point A to point B — all while bearing the weight of your body. You stand on them a long time and put them into shoes that may not be the best fit. Unfortunately, these conditions can eventually cause a range of foot problems. So how can you take care of your feet and avoid chronic foot issues? This article will cover seven excellent foot care tips to keep your feet healthy.
Foot Care Tips To Keep Your Feet Healthy
It's important to know how to take care of your feet to keep them healthy for years to come. You can implement these seven tips to build a good foot care routine and avoid foot issues.
1. Avoid Wearing Tight Shoes
Shoe fit is very important to your foot health.
Tight shoes restrict your blood flow, causing poor circulation that damages your feet in the long run. They may also cause foot pain that could become chronic.
Over time, you may notice calluses, blisters, ingrown toenails, and corns on your feet. They may even deform your feet with conditions like hammertoes and bunions.
2. Wear Shoes With Arch Support
Once you've got comfortable shoes that fit, you need to make sure your arch is adequately supported. Your arch does it all — it supports your body weight, propels you forward when you move, and absorbs shock anytime your foot hits the ground. Over time, your arch can become strained or weakened from the stress.
Arch supports keep your arch in good condition because they:
- Distribute pressure evenly
- Support the lower body
- Help with alignment
- Prevent arch trauma
- Provide balance and stability
- Prevent and lessen foot pain
So really, everyone can benefit from arch supports. Look for shoe brands that are known for providing good arch support. You may benefit from a custom shoe insert if you have shoes that fit well but don't provide enough arch support.
Also, try to avoid wearing flats and flip-flops every day. Although they are comfortable, they don't support your arch enough and may lead to a foot injury down the line.
3. Keep Your Feet Clean and Mostly Dry
Feet often sweat throughout the day, providing a perfect breeding ground for harmful fungi. So pay special attention to your feet when you shower or bathe. Good foot hygiene goes a long way toward eliminating foot odor.
Be careful! You don't want to soak your feet in hot water or leave them in the water for too long. This may cause dry skin, which leads to skin irritation and flaking.
After you clean your feet thoroughly, be sure to dry them. Don't be shy — get in between your toes to prevent fungal infections like athlete's foot.
4. Inspect Regularly for Foot Ailments
Practicing a good foot care routine allows you to catch any potential issues before they arise. Inspect your feet for any changes daily, and look out for any sores, cuts, swelling, or infected toenails.
Use antiseptic and healing creams if you notice any cuts, and go to the podiatrist immediately if you have unexpected swelling or infected toenails.
After all, prevention is always the best cure.
5. Use Nail Clippers Correctly
We may tend to use nail clippers to clip and shape our toenails. But this can cause damage to the tender skin of your nail bed.
It's important to use nail clippers correctly. Make sure they're stainless steel, so the blades stay sharp for longer. A dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one.
Use the nail clippers only to trim the toenail straight across. You then want to use a nail file or emery board to gently smooth and round the corners.
You can also use the nail file or emery board to push your cuticles back. However, you want to avoid cutting them, so they don't split or bleed.
6. Use Moisturizing Cream at Night
Chronic dry skin can cause skin irritation and flakiness. To avoid this, use moisturizing cream every night right after you dry your feet off.
You can use creams, lotions, or even petroleum jelly. These are all nourishing emollients that sink into the skin and create a barrier to protect it. Your feet will be noticeably softer and well-hydrated.
You can even give your feet a gentle massage as you apply your moisturizer, which can help stretch the tendons and contribute to your foot's muscular health.
Afterward, you can put on socks or wrap your feet in plastic wrap for at least an hour for better lotion absorption, especially if you have dry skin.
But don't put any moisturizer between your toes to prevent a fungal or bacterial infection. Remember, you want to keep that area dry.
7. Don't Perform DIY Surgery on Ingrown Nails
We all know that ingrown toenails are annoying and even downright painful, and it's tempting to do a little DIY surgery to get rid of them. However, this is dangerous.
Many people dig out ingrown nails with nail clippers or use floss to "splint" the toenail. These home remedies create a wide opening for harmful bacteria to get into the skin and develop into a nasty infection.
Go see your podiatrist instead. They are experts in all things feet and will safely get rid of your ingrown toenail in sanitary conditions. They can also prevent ingrown nails from regrowing and causing issues in the future.
Schedule Periodic Foot Exams and Invest in Advanced Foot Products
It's important to practice proper foot care. This includes wearing comfortable shoes, practicing good foot hygiene, and using the proper tools and creams.
You also want to visit your podiatrist for periodic foot exams to prevent the development of foot problems. They can also improve your foot health by performing procedures like ingrown toenail removal. These steps will ensure that your feet stay healthy and happy for many years.
Make sure you use products made for your feet. Here at The Toe Bro, we know how important it is for you to take care of your feet. That's why we provide high-quality advanced foot products to tackle and prevent a host of foot problems afflicting people today. Feel free to visit our website and add products to your routine today. You won't regret investing in your foot health.
The Effects of Wearing Tight Shoes: Common Foot Issues
People often end up choosing stylish or unique shoes over comfortable ones. Many purchase shoes without even knowing their correct shoe size. Research suggests that only 28% to 37% of people wear the right shoe size, and three out of five people wear the wrong size.
You end up squeezing your foot into a smaller-sized shoe just because it looks good or is convenient to buy. But tight-fitting shoes lead to symptoms like foot pain, shoe bites, or blisters.
No matter how good they look, ill-fitting shoes can result in foot problems. They increase your risk of developing painful foot deformities and disorders, which may require treatment or surgery.
Here’s everything you need to know about the effects of wearing tight shoes and how to protect your feet by choosing comfortable, breathable shoes.
5 Consequences of Tight-Fitting Shoes
Tight-fitting shoes can lead to the following foot problems:
Tight, uncomfortable shoes put extra pressure on your foot nerves, which can cause peripheral neuropathy. It is a painful condition resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves in your feet. Its symptoms include pain and weakness in the feet. You may also feel numbness or pins-and-needles sensations. If you have peripheral neuropathy and continue to wear tight shoes, symptoms may worsen.
In older adults, peripheral neuropathy is associated with diabetes, known as diabetic neuropathy. People with diabetes are prone to nerve damage in the foot. The damage can result in loss of sensation, where people can’t feel irritation, scratches, or cuts. In such cases, wearing tight shoes can lead to other foot issues like sores or blisters. Open sores can cause severe infection if left untreated and may lead to amputation.
If you have diabetes and wear poorly fitting shoes, your symptoms may worsen. Check your feet regularly for pain, blisters, sores, scratches, or cuts.
Development of Foot Corns
Wearing the wrong shoes can put extra pressure on the skin of your foot. Due to continuous friction between the shoe and the skin, the skin forms hardened layers to protect itself. The hardened skin is called a callus. A thick, small, and deep callus on your toes or feet is called foot corn.
They appear as dry, hard, raised bumps of skin. The presence of corns may make the surrounding area painful and tender. They are treated by applying a foam pad over them to relieve pressure. Wear well-fitting, breathable shoes to prevent them.
An ill-fitting shoe constantly rubs against the skin on your toes, heels, or soles and causes friction. Fluid starts to build up under the upper layer of skin to protect the chafed area, forming a blister. Blisters vary in size from person to person and can be painful.
They can also develop on your feet due to pressure. If you walk or stand for long hours a day, you are more likely to get painful blisters on your feet. To treat them, clean and cover them loosely with a bandage. Also, use padding when wearing your shoes. Avoid bursting or popping them because it can cause infection.
Foot Disorders or Lesser Toe Deformity
Studies show a link between tight shoes and foot problems like lesser toe deformity. Lesser toe deformity is a painful condition that affects your toe joints and results in a deformity or a structural change in your toes. Several things can cause it, but one of the main issues is wearing tight shoes for a long time.
The most common types of lesser toe deformity are:
- Hammertoe: A bend in the middle joint of the toe, causing the toe to curl up
- Mallet toe: A bend in the first joint nearest to your toenail
- Claw toe: Bends in the middle and last joints in the toe, forcing the toe’s tip to press downward
- Curly or crossover toe: A toe curls toward or over another toe
Tight or narrow shoes that don’t contour the shape of your foot can worsen existing foot disorders. They can add pressure to the irregular-shaped bones of your foot and cause more pain.
Some foot deformities can be treated using strapping techniques and applying hammer-toe pads. You can also wear wider shoes and toe splints and apply ice to the toe. If these methods don’t work, you may have to undergo surgery.
Tight shoes with a narrow toe box leave no room for your toes and put pressure on them. They can cause the edge of your toenail to grow into your skin, forming ingrown nails.
Ingrown toenails can occur on all toes but are commonly seen on the big toe. They can cause redness and infection in the skin around the nail. You can prevent them by wearing wider, breathable shoes with enough space for your toes and not cutting your nails too short.
How To Find the Right Shoe Fit
Here are eight tips for finding the right shoe fit for you:
- Wrong shoes can lead to painful foot deformities. Avoid buying shoes that don’t fit.
- Ask the salesperson to measure the length and width of your feet before buying shoes.
- When you try on a shoe, make sure there’s enough space for your toes. They shouldn’t feel cramped, pinched, or pushed over each other.
- Check the shape and depth of the toe box. If you have foot problems, opt for a deep toe box. Also, a square or round toe box is better than a narrow, pointed, or curved one.
- Shoes with removable insoles are better. You can add orthotic or cushioned insoles if required.
- Shoes without an attached tongue have a better fit and allow the addition of extra insoles.
- Don’t rush through shoe shopping. Try different types of shoes to see what fits best and ask about the return policy before purchasing.
- If you have foot problems, visit specialty shoe stores for orthotics and orthopedic shoes.
Prioritize Your Foot Health With Flexible Shoes and Custom Orthotics
Proper fitting shoes are important to keeping your feet healthy and avoiding the ill effects of wearing tight shoes. So, take your time to buy shoes that fit properly because comfort is more important than style. To help with existing foot problems and prevent new ones, you can add orthotics, including insoles or foot pads, to your shoes.
If you’re looking for orthotics to make your shoes more comfortable, The Toe Bro is here to help. We offer customized orthotics to match your style and comfort and keep foot problems at bay. With athletic, casual, and dress-style orthotics, we take care of your foot health needs.
5 Tips To Manage Excessive Foot Sweat and Odors
Perspiration (sweating) is a normal bodily function that cools you down and maintains your temperature. In hot weather, your body temperature rises, which signals your nervous system to activate your sweat glands.
It's common to have sweaty feet when you exercise or perform physical activities, are in a hot environment, or feel anxious or stressed. However, some people may have excessive foot sweat or plantar hyperhidrosis. This is when the sweat glands on their feet produce too much sweat. It affects 5% of people worldwide, is more common in men than women, and occurs more frequently in young adults and pregnant women due to hormonal changes.
Excessive foot sweat can make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, but it may also indicate underlying health conditions. Left untreated, it can cause microbial growth leading to foot odor or fungal infections like toenail fungus and athlete's foot.
Here's what to do about sweaty feet and how to keep your feet dry and healthy.
Excessive Foot Sweat: How Much Is Too Much?
The amount of sweat your body produces depends on the number and activity of your sweat glands. The nervous system and hormones regulate the sweat glands, so the glands function differently in men and women — men tend to sweat more than women. If all your sweat glands are active, your normal sweating rate can be more than 3 liters per hour and up to 10 liters daily.
The soles of your feet have more sweat glands than any other body part. Each foot has over 125,000 coiled, tubular eccrine sweat glands. They release salt and water to stabilize your body temperature and produce half a pint or approximately 0.3 liters of sweat daily. If you have excessive foot sweating, the eccrine glands produce extreme amounts of sweat.
Excessive foot sweat can occur due to the following causes:
- External heat and increased body temperature
- Strenuous physical activity, especially in a warm environment
- Standing on your feet all day
- Stress and anxiety
- Wearing tight shoes or socks made with material that prevents sweat evaporation
- Poor hygiene, which includes not washing your feet or changing socks regularly
- Sympathetic nerve damage
- Hormonal changes during puberty, menopause, and pregnancy
- Certain medications like antidepressants
- Medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart problems, thyroid problems, and cancer
5 Tips To Mitigate Excess Sweating
Here's how to stop sweaty feet:
1. Wear Breathable Shoes and Socks
Tight shoes tend to crowd your toes and increase sweating. For better foot care, wear shoes in the correct size. Also, check if they are made with breathable fabrics like canvas, which allow sweat to evaporate. Avoid patent leather or plastic shoes as they restrict airflow and trap sweat inside. Deodorizing insoles can also help absorb sweat and prevent foot odor.
Wear suitable socks based on your daily activities and the season. Cotton socks are ideal for warm weather as they allow proper ventilation, and woolen socks are better for winter. Avoid using synthetic materials like nylon as it makes sweating worse and may cause foot odor or infection.
Some sports stores offer moisture-wicking or quick-drying socks that move sweat away from your skin and prevent foot odor. Socks also come with a ventilation mesh to make them more breathable. Some have antibacterial chemicals that minimize microbial growth and foot odor. The official sock of The The Bro offers all these features and more — including a breathable mesh, flexible lycra cuffs, a Y-heel for the perfect fit, antibacterial and anti-odor ionic silver yarn, arch support, reinforced toe seams, and a cushioned sole for full comfort.
2. Pack an Extra Pair of Socks
If you are going out, carry a spare fresh pair of socks. Keep spare socks at your workplace or in your car so you can change your socks if your feet get sweaty or smelly.
3. Use Antiperspirant for Feet
Antiperspirant foot products are a convenient remedy for sweaty feet. They are available as creams, powders, roll-ons, and sprays. They contain chemicals that temporarily reduce the nerve signals that activate your sweat glands, preventing sweat production.
Dry your feet and apply the antiperspirant before bed. Your feet absorb it overnight, and you can wash it off in the morning. Repeat the process for three to four nights, and then use it once or twice a week. You can also use foot deodorants to prevent bacterial growth and foot odor.
Strong antiperspirants may contain aluminum and other potentially harmful compounds that can cause skin irritation, allergies, or toxicity in large quantities. Check with your podiatrist before applying them.
4. Try Antifungal Foot Powders
Excessive foot sweat can lead to fungal infections like athlete's foot. Antifungal powders can help keep your feet dry and free from fungal growth and odor.
Shake the antifungal foot powder before use. Sprinkle it on your feet and cover all the areas prone to fungal growth, including the space between your toes. You can also sprinkle it in your shoes and socks. Use it once or twice daily. If you have an infection, consult your foot doctor. Avoid using the powder as the only treatment for a fungal infection.
5. Take Time To Wash Your Feet Everyday
If you have sweaty or smelly feet, wash them with antifungal or antibacterial soap once or twice daily. It helps remove sweat and microbes that can cause odor and cools your skin to decrease sweating further. You can also soak your feet in water with added antimicrobial essential oils, such as eucalyptus or tea tree oil. Don't forget to dry your feet thoroughly after washing, particularly between your toes.
When To Seek a Professional
Excessive foot sweat can be a sign of a serious medical condition. If you find that your feet are sweating a lot, it's time to get them checked by a podiatrist. Seek medical care if you experience the following symptoms along with heavy sweating:
- Chest pain, nausea, or lightheadedness
- Disruption of daily activities
- Emotional discomfort, embarrassment, or social withdrawal
- Night sweats
- Bacterial or fungal infection
A podiatrist can provide treatment options for some underlying conditions (such as fungal infections) and help you control and prevent excessive foot sweat.
Control Symptoms With Better Hygiene and Foot Products
Better foot hygiene and comfortable, high-quality foot products can help you prevent excessive foot sweat and further complications.
The Toe Bro is here with the ideal pair of socks to keep your feet dry and protected, with nonrestrictive fabric, cushioned soles, and anti-odor and antimicrobial protection that allows your feet to breathe. Try out the official sock of The Toe Bro today for sweat and odor-free healthy feet.