Adverse effect of Soft Soled Footwear
Adverse effects of soft sole shoes
If you’re given the choice between picking soft-sole and hard-sole footwear, which one would you pick? Soft and cushioned ones right? It’s because all of us prefer comfort over anything else.
However, the comfort factor in shoes is not in itself a good criterion for ensuring long-term foot health. There are a lot of factors to consider when picking the right footwear, including the correct fit and taking the time to transition properly.
On one hand minimalist shoes (Less or barely cushioned) are designed with minimum cushioning to help keep a person lighter on their feet, maximalist shoes are designed with an intention to protect the wearer from injury by giving them loads of extra padding. However, this notion may not be correct. Contrary to what the majority believes, high-cushioned shoes can significantly hamper foot health. Let’s go through the impacts soft-sole shoes can have on our overall well-being:
Soft soles or excessive cushioning feels like we are reducing any joint impacts which is highly deceptive since cushion decreases the sensation of the impact. As per the laws of physics, the impact forces on our joints and tissues increase in case of highly cushioned shoes. It can also be hugely harmful to our joints and tissues because of misinterpretation of footfalls or foot placement.
On the contrary, in case of thin-soled and flexible footwear, our feet can estimate and understand everything about the ground and lower extremities. Footfalls tend to be gentler and more mindful comparatively.
When it comes to cushioned footwear, each footfall needs us to put more efforts and energy. It’s little similar (though less extreme) to “running in sand”. People who go for minimal or thin footwear, considerably less energy is wasted with each step or stride.
Most of the shoes (specially the conventional ones) possess springy cushioning, with an intention to avoid injuries but the thickness of the soles can rather have adverse effects on foot muscle strength and arch integrity. Minimally cushioned shoes, on the other hand have no built-in arch support which makes these shoes ideal and provide more flexibility, and less susceptibility to pain and rigidity. After 2 years of research, we incorporated the right kind arch support to provide right support for your feet.
Most of the people believe that less cushioning can lead to more foot and lower extremity injuries which is rather true but these injuries tend to be of the more acute (i.e., temporary) variety and most likely occur when users transition too quickly. On the other hand, it isn’t always necessary that cushioned shoes ensure less injuries. Since it makes the wearer put more energy and pressure while walking, injuries become frequent and are more chronic in nature. The uppers designed ensure you not only get right protection but also grip. Unlike other conventional footwear, in Murtles one can choose to take a sole and pair them up with smaller or bigger straps hence not compromising on 'snug-ness'
Another significant consideration while picking soft sole footwear is the effect of it on knee health. When we land on our heels wearing cushioned shoes, our ankles are not strong enough in managing impact, so our knees and hips comes for a rescue to handle our bodies’ natural shock absorption. On the other hand, minimally cushioned footwear tends to adopt a midfoot strike, letting the ankle contribute better to shock absorption. At Murtle, we use cork as mid sole which has tendencies to absorb jerks to an extent and control damage.
According to a recent study performed on 14 subjects, Dr. Irene Davis found that maximalist shoes (extra cushioning footwear) could actually increase the risk of injury, contrary to what is claimed by the company. Following are some interpretations and findings on the basis of the study:
- When wearing the soft soled shoes adults in both the groups (adults and younger adults) had a great shift in their center-of-mass and base-of-support.
- The younger adults had a realization that the soft sole shoes were less stable than the standard shoes.
- Soft sole shoes offer less mechanical support while the minimalist and standard shoe proved to work to walk faster and take long strides.
The study concluded that anyone with balance problems, or reduced sensation in the feet should avoid soft sole shoes as they can be a potential hazard to your foot and overall health. When it comes to choosing the best footwear to put on your feet, being practical, mindful and good judgment is always the best policy.