Keeping your feet in shape

Tired post-summer feet can look unsightly and most of us cannot wait to get into opaque tights and boots to cover them up. But bunions, heel pain and tender toes could mean that you are damaging your health.

The whole process of exfoliating and moisturising your feet can be monotonous and yet it is essential if you want soft feet that are comfortable to walk on.

Scholl's HydraStep sandal has recently been launched and is said to moisturise your feet with every step, taking the pain out of battling with removing hard skin. The sandals have a special built-in gel foot bed containing Vitamin E and an insole made from bamboo and charcoal that slowly releases softening ingredients to the skin on your feet while you go about your daily routine.

The new addition to the Scholl shoe family once again throws the comfort shoe into the spotlight. Still seen as an unstylish choice for feet, the comfort shoe does help prevent sore and damaged feet and as the shoes have been made to ensure that you walk comfortably and properly they can prevent back pain and improve posture.

This is great news for your health, says Jonathan Geere, a spinal highly specialist physiotherapist at the Spire Norwich Hospital: 'Comfortable feet are important for healthy legs. Shoes that help you feel good about your feet and get you active are, in my book, a good thing.

'Wearing the right kind of shoes is important for overall health and not just for the wellbeing of your feet. Properly supported feet help improve the health and strength of your legs. A good shoe will support foot posture and improve how stress is transmitted through the legs helping reduce some of the wear and tear we experience when walking. That means high heels are not a good choice for daily use!

'High heel shoes stress not only the small bones in our feet but shorten the calf muscles. The knock on effect goes through to our knees and pelvis, contributing to aches and pains in these areas. Poorly fitted or unsupportive shoes can lead to Achilles tendon problems, shin splints and knee pain. Such problems can be minimised by wearing appropriate footwear.'

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Martin Ingram, UK and Ireland managing director of comfort shoe manufacturer Josef Seibel, agrees: 'The average person spends around 10 hours on their feet every day and so comfort should always be a deciding factor when it comes to purchasing new footwear.

'Look for shoes with cushioning systems that provide increased shock absorption and technology that massages the foot for increased circulation. It is also important to have feet measured for size and width by a qualified fitter. Shoe shopping is also better done in the afternoon as feet tend to swell slightly during the day.'

This is all very well, but many of us would steer clear of comfort shoes because they do not score highly in the fashion stakes. Or do they?

A traditional style of comfort shoe has been worn by fashionistas throughout the summer and it is a shoe trend that is set to continue into the autumn. Clogs, traditionally worn by farm workers and a Swedish favourite, are said to be good for your feet.

Even shoe manufacturers such as Josef Seibeland Norwich-based Van Dal have upped their game in the style stakes, as both autumn and winter collections feature aviator and military style boots, jewel coloured pumps and mid heel courts, all tipped to be the footwear trends this year.

Says Martin Ingram: 'In the past consumers faced a choice between style and comfort when it came to footwear choices, but brands have now bridged that gap by offering a wide range of designs and heel heights. There is no longer a sacrifice of style in order to accomplish pain-free feet, in fact comfortable footwear seems to be taking over in the fashion stakes with clogs and ballet pumps gracing the feet of fashionistas and style icons!'

Maybe Victoria Beckham should take note!