With the temperatures beginning to drop, many of our patients at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care are thinking about buying a new pair of winter boots. As your go-to cold-weather shoes, it’s essential that your winter boots not only protect you from the elements but also that they are good for your feet. Below are four things to look for in winter boots.
- Heel Height Matters—boots with high heels are harmful to your feet. They force your toes forward, exacerbating conditions such as bunions and hammertoes and they reduce stability, making ankle twisting injuries and falls on slippery surfaces more likely. But boots that are flat can also cause problems. A heel height of ½ to one inch can reduce muscle strain that aggravates conditions like Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.
- Bigger and Better Toe Boxes—a roomy toe box that is round and wide will help your feet in a number of ways. First, it will allow you to wear thicker socks without making the boots feel tight. (Hint: bring the socks you plan to wear with you when you go to the store to try on boots.) It will also allow your feet more breathing room. Feet inside boots tend to get sweaty in overheated cars and stores. This can create the perfect conditions for athlete’s foot to start. Be sure you can wiggle your toes inside your boots. Toes that are forced up next to each other are more likely to develop ingrown toenails.
- Inside the Insole—although a wooly or furry lining many feel comfortable initially, they can flatten out pretty quickly. Instead look for a cushioned insole, preferably with a deep heel cup for maximum comfort. If our podiatrists, Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah, have prescribed a custom orthotic for a podiatric condition, you will want an insole that is removable so that you can use the orthotic in your boots.
- Tread Safely—look for boots that have a gripping tread to help you combat icy roads and sidewalks. For snowy days, you will benefit from a sole that’s thick enough to raise your foot a little higher than ankle height to get above the snow and keep feet dry.
If you have a chronic foot problem and want advice on the best boots and shoes for you, contact our Edison (732-204-6630), Monroe (732-204-6802) or Monmouth Junction (732-204-6945) office for more information.