I know what you’re thinking—the words “podiatrist-approved” and “cute” are oxymorons, but hear me out. First of all, you know what’s not cute? Limping around a decade from now due to the bad shoe choices of your relative youth. Meanwhile, what is cute is investing in a good pair of fall boots you can actually, you know, wear—not just for a couple of hours or a couple of months, but for many seasons to come. (Sustainability for the win!) So while I’m not necessarily going to ask a podiatrist to go shopping with me, I am going to turn to such experts for advice on how to keep my feet safe and my footwear functional.
Of utmost importance is heel height, says Yolanda Ragland, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist, foot surgeon, and founder of FixYourFeet.com. “Wearing a completely flat boot is not good for the foot because it can cause plantar fasciitis and provides no support for the arch,” says Dr. Ragland. “Wearing a boot with a heel that is too high is not good because you can wind up getting pain in the ball of the foot—you’re increasing your chances of ankle sprains and plain-old stress in the foot in general.” Choosing a moderate-to-low boot heel is the best option, then, and Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a podiatrist with NYC-based City Podiatry recommends sticking with block heels with a max height of 3 inches. “The higher the heel ,the more your weight gets shifted to the ball of your foot and can cause foot pain as well as ankle, knee, hip and back pain,” she says.
To keep your feet happy through the fall and into winter, Dr. Sutera further advises looking for fall boots with wider toe boxes versus those with narrow, pointy boxes, as she says they’re healthier for your feet and can accommodate toe conditions such as bunions, bone spurs, and hammertoes. Dr. Ragland, however, suggests taking a more personalized approached to toe shape. “If the front of your foot is broad or square, then a square-tipped boot or a round toe box is recommended,” she says. “If your feet are more narrow and pointed, then you can opt for a more pointy boot.” In other words, some of you can go for fall’s cowboy boot trend while others of you may be better off sitting it out but luckily, square toe shoes are on point this season, too (or, off point…y toes?).
You’ll want to consider taking this personalized approach with respect to a shoe’s support, too. “If you have a high-arched foot, look for a boot with a high arch, or add inserts,” Dr. Ragland suggests. “If you have a low arch, make sure the arch of the boot is not too high.” Meanwhile, if you’re someone who suffers from ankle sprains or who just wants greater stability in their shoe, Dr. Ragland recommends opting for lace up styles you can adequately tighten around your lower leg.
7 (presumably) podiatrist-approved fall boots that will take you from this season into next
With a low heel, round toe, and laces, this wear-everywhere style from & Other Stories checks all the boxes. Plus, it’ll still be in style next season.
Vionic Ankle Boot, $160
Vionic is a brand co-designed by podiatrists and recommended by Dr. Sutera. (Full disclosure: She also works with the brand.) So basically, anything from this shoemaker is automatically approved, including this neutral ankle bootie.
Low heel, round toe… can’t lose—especially when you throw full calf support into the mix. Add an insole for extra support as needed.
This is a good price for these super cute and eco-friendly rain boots, which also come in black, pale pink, stone, and toffee colorways.
This shoe hits two trends in one fell swoop with a square toe shape and a snake print. See? Podiatrist-friendly shoes are so hot right now.
Okay, so I’m a tad bit skeptical that a podiatrist would actually approve of these chunky platform boots, but technically they meet the above requirements so I’m tossing them into the mix because they’re so on trend. (Believe it or not, this heel is just 2 inches tall.)
Sorel Cate Lace Bootie, $190
In the hunt for a sensible shoe, it makes sense to look to companies which prioritize function in their designs. These Sorel fall boots are rain-ready due to waterproof suede and a sole made for optimal traction. Oh, and they’re cute, too.
It’s time to start thinking about coats, too; luckily, Everlane’s choose-what-you-pay sale section has more than a few options. Plus, you know we’ve reached peak athleisure trend when the season’s most coveted item is… a sweatshirt (with a 20k person waitlist!).
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