Full-Time Flats vs. Get-Ahead Office Heels
The dilemma: You've finally found a pair of cute yet podiatrist-approved comfortable shoes, but they don't really go with your power outfits. Is it better to have happy feet or versatile ones?
The advice: While it's obviously healthier for your feet to favor supportive flats over stilettos (which have been proven to shorten the calf muscles), it's not a good idea to wear any type of shoe all of the time, says Hillary Brenner, DPM, a podiatric surgeon and a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. If you wear flats exclusively, your tolerance for heels could decrease to the point where you'll feel miserable wearing them to formal events like a presentation or a wedding, and you'll risk rolling your ankle and straining your ligaments. To keep your foot muscles flexible and your shoe confidence high, Brenner recommends regularly varying your heel height from flats to two-inch heels—and never walking very far in heels higher than that. To make dress shoes more comfortable, customize them with inserts (Brenner says the Cobra orthotic can be transformative for higher heels) or padding (Brenner likes Foot Petals for cushioning the ball of the foot without squishing toes).