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We tend to put our feet through a lot, often in the name of fashion or as a byproduct of bad habits. It’s important to remember, however, that keeping feet healthy is key to maintaining your overall health and comfort. We’ve learned from experts that slippers or indoor shoes should always be worn at home, as walking barefoot or simply wearing socks can lead to foot conditions like plantar fasciitis and sprains. For those who love high heels, it almost goes without saying that these lofty styles are some of the main culprits of achy soles and poor posture. And, as it turns out, those pairs you’ve loved to death could be negatively impacting your health and wellness, too.
“Worn-down soles force you to hit the ground at an angle that’s abnormal, which affects your skeleton,” New York-based podiatrist Dr. Jackie Sutera told FN. “This can cause injury or pain.”
According to Dr. Sutera, the best way to determine if shoes are worn out is by using the tabletop test. This method requires placing your shoes on a tabletop or other flat surface, then viewing the pair at eye level. If the soles and heels are uneven and don’t sit flush with the surface, it’s time for you to replace the shoes. Dr. Sutera says it’s also a good idea to simply look at the bottom of shoes for signs of damage.
When getting rid of worn-out shoes, consider recycling them to avoid filling landfills. Thrift stores may not accept excessively worn-down pairs, but you may be able to drop them off at a clothing recycle bin in your area. Columbia stores and select Asics locations will also accept shoes from any brand and recycle them for you.
While it can be hard to let go of well-loved styles, the good news is that it gives you an excuse to buy new ones. According to Sutera, it’s actually beneficial for your foot health, too.
“Having a shoe wardrobe is important,” she explains. “You need a pair of slippers, a boot, a few sneakers, a loafer – essentially a range of shoes you can wear depending on the day and activity, and also throughout the day if you need to. The body loves moderation and variety, so you should not wear the same shoes all day every day.”
Below, shop some versatile and supportive styles that are perfect for replacing worn-out pairs.