Fashion Advice: Arch Support

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Dear Budget Fashionista: I have a problem with shoes—specifically, flats and pumps. I cannot wear shoes without socks because my heels will always become irritated and bleed. In the summer, it’s ridiculous to wear stockings with cute shoes, but is there some trick I’m missing here? Or am I just hyper-sensitive? One more foot problem—I have very high arches, and as much as I love ballet flats, they cause all sorts of problems with my feet if I walk any distance in them at all (even just around the office) due to a lack of arch support.

Arch Support For Stylish Shoes

Do you have some secret fashionista tricks for how to wear good-looking shoes without suffering so much?

Answer: A few tricks that I use…

1. Make sure you get heel guards every time you purchase a pair of shoes—they are sort of rectangular padded shaped guards that you stick inside your shoe to prevent your shoes from rubbing and slipping on your heel. Nordstrom gives them out like water—so you could probably score a couple of free pair from them.

2. You can buy arch supports to stick in your shoes (I have the same problem), that aren’t bulky or orthopaedic looking at Target (Located in the footcare section). Speaking of Target, Isaac Mizrahi has the cutest pair of black suede flats that have both padding and light arch support. If this doesn’t work, take your shoes to a cobbler and have them build arch supports for you in your shoes.

If all else fails, you may want to take a visit to your foot doctor—I do know they can recommend exercises to help stretch out your arches and may have additional resources to help you look fabulous and be pain free.

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  • Patti

    try Earthies or Helle comfort, Finn confort, Naot, Ramaka, Dansko

  • Jen

    If you have really high arches and are in pain you really cannot wear ballet flats.  If you have pain in the heels or the arch, you most likely have plantar fasciitis, a common problem if your arches are too high or too low.  Most people in pain with these problems get custom orthotics or at least a really good over the counter orthotic designed for high arches.  Yes, it is impossible to buy high fashion shoes.  You have to stick to the best looking comfort/orthopedic shoes you can find.  I am in the midst of the problem right now for my high arches.  I have been to several podiatrists.  They recommend absolutely nothing very flat and they say heels, not too high, can help esp. platform style.  No pumps, at least a clunky heel that isn’t going to put as much pressue on the heel.  Also if your foot is wide like mine, you need comfort shoes that are made wider or you need shoes that come in wide over medium as these will also help to fit the bump on top of your foot that you have because of the high arch.  I’ve asked about surgery to fix and the doctors are like that’s nuts.  There are such procedures, but it would take many procedures and problem years of recovery because there are so many tendons and ligaments in the feet.  They only do surgery on people whose arches are very high and getting higher due to neurological disorders such as charcot marie.  So for those of us who have it for some unknown reason, we just have to figure out something that works.  I may end up spending money to have shoes altered to have orthotics built in to them and whatnot, but I have to see the cost.  Custom shoes are very, very expensive.  And on more thing, high arches may be more problematic as far as pain if your arch is flexible so that when you stand on it your arch collapses.  I am told this is why I have plantar fasciitis.  Some people have rigid high arches and altho their feet look completely deformed, they walk around without wearing any arch suppot and without the severe pain that I have.  If you have problem feet, you just have to try not to keep staring at the gorgeous shoes in the shoe and clothing ads, just find something that will do and will not kill your feet because they are the only two feet you will ever have to stand on for your entire life.

  • i have a shoe problem also: i have incredibly narrow feet, so shoes never stay on me.  my mother discovered keds grasshoppers for me one day.  i usually associate keds with those hideous white tennis shoes that my mother used to outfit me in, but they’re flat ballet-like shoes but they have padding and arch support and all that jazz, along with a gazillion fun patterns (my favorites are hot pink!).  i still have to put heel grippers in them, it’s okay.  they’re awesome shoes and great for walking in, because they feel like sneakers.