About four weeks into this new reality, my right foot started doing this weird clicky thing. With every step, it felt like the bones on the top of my foot were shifting, something I hadn’t felt since I was a kid. Cue flashbacks to my pediatrician telling me I had stretchy ligaments, meaning my feet get flat AF whenever I put weight on them. And I’m sure that spending the majority of my existence barefoot isn’t helping the matter. So when a late-night Google search for “slippers with arch support” lead me to this Vionic pair ($100), I was thrilled. (More thrilled than any 23-year-old should be about arch support.)
My weird stretchy feet aren’t the only soles that can benefit from arch support. Diane Koshimune, DPM, a California-based podiatrist, says that arch support is good for anyone experiencing arch or heel pain. Though some believe that arch supports make your feet weaker, Dr. Koshimune says that’s not the case.
“Arch supports are not meant to do the work for the foot,” says Dr. Koshimune. “Instead, the arch supports are going to offer feedback for the foot to ‘train’ the person wearing the supports to avoid pronating or over-pronating as the hard plastic or other material presses into the bone along the arch. This action over time will help the person fire the appropriate muscles and stand with better posture so to speak so that in the future those arch supports are no longer needed.” But, if you have rigidly flat feet, she says to steer clear of firm arch support, as that would cause more pain.
Shop now: Vionic Leona Slipper, $100
I’ve had this pair for a little over a week and they make my feet so happy. It’s is one of many slippers that Vionic, a shoe company that specializes in orthotics, carries on site. This pair has a suede upper and a faux-shearling lining, making them cute and super comfortable. Dr. Koshimune is always recommending Vionic shoes to her patients because they’re made with arch support in mind. “They come with a significant arch support so that for the price of the shoe, the customer gets a shoe and arch support rather than having to buy a shoe and an arch support separately,” she says. And not all shoes can accommodate orthotic inserts, so buying a slipper with arch support means you don’t have to Frankenstein a supportive slipper.
But, keep in mind that arch support isn’t necessarily comfortable—at least not at first. It’s a rigid hump in your shoe forcing your foot muscles to work in ways they’re not used to. I found that my feet welcomed the support, but they did get a bit sore after a few days of breaking them in. Vionic recommends wearing new orthotic shoes for just a few hours at a time the first few days to allow your feet to adjust. Jackie Sutera, DPM, a Vionic Innovation Lab member, adds that taking the time to adjust to the slippers slowly can help decrease the chances of any aches or discomfort, which should dissipate within one to two weeks.
As for how long they’ll last? “Everyone’s gait patterns and use of shoes is different but generally, I recommend to check shoes after each season and replace when they are starting to feel or look worn out or have flattened out on the inside,” says Dr. Sutera. “Remember—shoes may feel comfortable when they are older because they are softer and may have somewhat have molded to feet, but the integrity of the shoe is probably lost and this can lead to injury or pain.”
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