Sickness makers on silent soles - 80 % wear wrong shoe sizes...

Posted by:
Claudia Ebbers
March 10, 2021

60 muscles, 300 ligaments and tendons, more than 50 bones and over 20 joints: the human foot is a highly complex marvel, so healthy feet are the foundation for the entire body.

Moreover, feet are as different as faces. No two feet are alike and not every foot of the same size has the same shape, width, height and form. Nevertheless, they are often neglected and forced into the wrong footwear. In addition, as we age, our feet change. 


60% of adults with foot problems

In industrialized countries, 60 percent of adults now suffer from foot problems, although 98 percent of them are born with healthy feet. Appropriate footwear is the basic prerequisite for healthy feet, because our feet are exposed to enormous stresses. "In the course of a lifetime, a person takes an average of 150 million steps. That's a distance that goes around the globe about three times! So feet have to withstand a lot. Together with the first metatarsal, for example, the big toe bears 50% of the body's weight - with every step.

But instead of thanking our feet, we squeeze them into shoes that are often far too tight and uncomfortable. Often it seems much more important that our shoes look good and fit the latest fashion. Not only the wrong length, but also shoes that are too wide, too tight and too high are uncomfortable, unhealthy and make you sick in the long run. In addition to an incorrect fit, permanent impact and compression loads also damage the feet - for example, due to insufficient cushioning. This can lead to tension and pain in the back.

People get bigger, feet don't!

The German Foot Report was the first foot measurement study on adults in over 50 years. The large-scale research project proved that 80% of Germans wear shoes that do not fit properly - the majority are too big - and that most people are not aware of this fact. Germans have become taller and fuller over the last few decades. Because this has also changed the demands on our clothing, clothing sizes have been adjusted again and again, most recently as recently as 2009. However, this does not apply to shoe sizes. However, research has shown that the volume, width and circumference of feet have increased. Therefore, a much wider range of widths is required than before. In order to supply all feet with the correct shoe width, approximately 17 widths would be required in each size. Neither the shoe industry nor the retail trade can realize this. Nevertheless, innovative changes are needed. As part of a further research project, new width concepts are to be sought that will enable a wider supply of suitable shoes at acceptable prices.

Foot agony due to wrong choice of shoes

Shoes that are too tight squeeze the feet and the toes are compressed. Because the muscles that move the toes originate in the calves, restricted toes can cause circulation problems in the legs. If shoes are too big or too wide, the proportions of the shoe do not match the proportions of the foot. If the shoes are too wide, the foot does not find support and slips into the empty space in the shoe intended for rolling, the so-called allowance. As a result, the toes are compressed with every step just as if the shoe were too small. At the same time, there is too much space at the heel, so that the foot slips out of the shoe. If shoes are too long, it hinders the foot from rolling. This can change the gait and put more stress on the joints. After a long time, the forefoot can even stiffen in the worst case.


"Features of shoes such as too hard, too tight, too wide, too long or too high heels lead to additional problems such as tendon shortening, sore feet, blisters, pressure pain, deformities and skin diseases" says Dr. Guido Wendt, specialist in orthopedics (and advisory board member of mySHOEFITTER GmbH).Especially permanent foot problems are painful and sometimes can only be fixed by surgery. Here are the most common foot problems:

  • Bunion toe (hallux valgus) - predominantly in women
  • Bending/slumping/spreading/flat foot
  • Hammer toe (curvature between proximal and middle phalanx -> hump)
  • Stiff big toe (hallux rigides ) - mostly in men

Toe malpositions also promote corns, calluses and ingrowing nails.

"Healthy" Footwear One of the best ways to prevent foot pain and related issues like sore knees, hips and backs is to invest in quality footwear. The right fit is key:

  • Business shoes: should not only look good, but especially be comfortable. Many suit shoes today are made with a sneaker-like sole that provides better cushioning, tread and arch support. Expensive Italian loafers are not for everyone.
  • Casual shoes: this should be based on the natural shape of the foot, i.e. it should offer sufficient freedom of movement, but also fit well and support the natural rolling behavior when walking.
  • Active shoes: support not only natural walking through angled soles in the forefoot and heel area, but also activate the muscles. In addition, the material and shape must ensure muscle-active cushioning support.
  • Safety footwear: has the primary goal of protecting against injury, as well as preventing joint wear and spinal discomfort. This footwear should support the heels to relieve ankle stress and reduce the risk of twisting.

According to experts, walking barefoot is the healthiest, because without shoes the feet can roll freely and you automatically take the correct foot position. As often as possible, you should therefore do something good for your feet and go "bottomless".

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