5 Different Shoe Design Features & Problems Created

5 Different Shoe Design Features & Problems Created

May 06 , 2021


Tags - Different Shoe Design Features and Problems Created


In the ideal world, our shoes should allow our feet to function as if we had no shoes on at all.

However, whether it’s dress shoes, sports shoes or work boots, there are a number of different design features that can become problematic for our feet.

In fact, conventional footwear is the underlying cause for most common foot problems and toe deformities.

Seeing as we spend a lot of time on our feet, in shoes, it’s important to understand what constitutes a bad shoe design.

This way, you'll be able to find healthy footwear that maintains optimal foot, toe and joint health, which will overall have a positive effect on the quality of your life.

To put it simply, a truly, healthy and properly designed shoe needs to provide foot stability and support your natural arch - this can only be achieved if it has a sole that can easily bend or twist.

Moreover, a good shoe needs to have a toe box that is widest at the end of your toes to allow for natural toe splay.

That said, here are 5 different shoe design features and the problems that come with them.


1. Tapering Toe Boxes

Toe box tapering is the narrowing of a shoe from the ball of your foot to the tip of your toes, and is one of the most harmful features in footwear.

Most shoes, including athletic shoes, force your toes into a wedge position (a triangular shape), which can have an effect on foot health, form and function.


Simply, shoes with tapering toe boxes can cause toe deformities and contribute to many other foot problems in adults.

For example, deformities include bunions, crooked toes, hammer toes, ingrown toenails, shin splints and more.

Unfortunately, most shoes are widest near the ball of the foot and become narrower near the toes - which is not what we want!

Consequently, tapered toe boxes can cause us pain and problems, so you should opt for shoes that are wider near your toes to avoid these.


2. Rigid Soles

Many people believe that rigid outsoles offer the right support and protection to our feet.

Actually, it’s quite the opposite - it prevents the natural flattening of your main foot arch.

And so, in most cases only a thin layer of material between your feet and the ground is required for adequate protection.

In other words, rigid soles reduce the impact between your foot and the ground, which can increase the chances of an injurious fall.

Plus, rigid and inflexible soles hold your feet in a compromised position, both during activity and rest.

In essence, rigid soles will immbolise your feet in an unnatural position, weakening them over time; it will have a negative effect on your gait, posture and joints.

Therefore, thinner and more flexible soles are the answer to developing stronger, more resilient feet, so try to find shoes that can be easily folded with just one hand.


3. Heel Elevation 

Heel elevation is presented in almost every shoe, from dress shoes to running shoes.


However, heel elevation causes unnecessary stretching of foot structures, forcing the weather to walk in a downwards-like position which places extreme pressure on the arch of the foot.


As such, when shoes have an elevated heel, it can affect our leg muscles and tendons and overtime, this can cause a shortening of the lower leg muscles.

And because heel elevation impairs normal gait, it takes away the foot’s natural arch support, which can impact how important acting such as balancing or guiding your foot forward is performed.

Typically, we think of high heels when talking about heel elevation, but they are a problem in most shoe types, including sports shoes.


4. Excessive Cushioning

You may have been advised, cushioning in key when it comes to comfortability in shoes.

One reason being, the more cushioning in a shoe, they less impact on your body when absorbing shock.

However, too much cushioning and problems begin to occur; legs can become stiffer to maintain the preferred spring-mass mechanics.

In fact, the more cushioning a shoe has, the harder and more damaging it can be on our joints, because it actually increases the impact placed on the foot, especially during running.

5. Stack Height

The stack height refers to the amount of shoe material between the foot and the ground.

For instance, the sum of the thickness of the shoe’s insole, middle and outsole.

Consequently, the greater the stack height, the less likely you can feel the ground beneath your feet.

As a result, you may find you are spraining your ankle a lot more frequently, as the ankle rolls over more the higher it is away from the ground.

Therefore, you should stick to shoes that have a lower stack height to prevent injuries, and achieve comfort and protection.


Concluding Thoughts

Ultimately, there’s a lot to consider when buying the right pair of shoes.

And, you should be opting for comfort over anything else to avoid foot problems and injuries later on.

So, when shopping for footwear, we recommend considering the above features for healthy, happy feet!

Contact us to find out more.

In the meantime check out these other posts:

  1. 5 Common Materials To Make Shoes
  2. Importance of Getting the Shoe Size Right
  3. 5 Considerations When Choosing Healthy Footwear