posture and equilibrium analysis by foot step scan

Are you one of those people who often complain about having painful feet? Do you feel tired after standing or walking for extended periods? Well, you're not alone. Foot conditions are a common problem for people from all walks of life. And, one significant factor that contributes to painful feet is the lack of arch support in shoes.

Your arches? They play a crucial role in how your feet function, ensuring every step feels just right. But they need proper support to stay healthy. That’s why in this blog post, we'll talk about arch support and why it's essential for your foot health.

Stay tuned to give those hardworking foot curves the care they deserve!

What Is Arch Support and Why Is It Important?

Does arch support really matter? Yes! Your feet are the foundation of your entire body, so keeping them comfortable and healthy is non-negotiable. Having painful feet can prevent you from being active and participating in daily life activities. But did you know foot pain is often caused by a lack of arch support in footwear?

Your arches act as shock absorbers and distribute the primary pressure of your entire body weight. So, how important is arch support in shoes? Without proper arch support, your feet have to work harder, causing muscle stress, pain, and even injuries or chronic conditions. Arch support in footwear is specifically designed to provide extra padding under your feet' arches to help maintain your feet in an ideal position.

It adds additional stability and prevents your feet from rolling inward or outward, which can cause considerable stress and pain and even lead to plantar fasciitis (due to plantar pressure), flat feet, and other common foot conditions, especially when walking or standing for long periods of time. Having the right arch support in your shoes can also help improve your posture, which can affect your entire body's alignment.

Types of Arches: Understanding Your Foot Shape

types of foot arches

The arches in your feet play a vital role in bearing your weight as you stand and move forward on your foot. Composed of bones, tendons, and ligaments, they facilitate your movement and propel you as you walk.

What's intriguing is that there isn't just one type of arch – people have various shapes of arches that influence how they distribute weight and move while walking.

  1. Normal Arches: What type of foot arch is best? Normal arches! They're the ideal shape of foot arches —not too high, not too flat, just right! They provide a balanced distribution of weight across the foot, offering stability and flexibility for comfortable movement. Think of them as the reliable foundation that keeps you walking comfortably day in and day out without any fuss.
  2. Flat Arches (Pes Planus): Flat arches, or low arches, are like the laid-back foot version. They have less of a curve, making the entire sole of the foot touch the ground. While they can be flexible, they might need a bit more support to prevent overpronation and avoid potential discomfort. This foot shape might need a little extra help to keep up the pace.
  3. High Arches (Pes Cavus): High arches, also known as cavus foot, are like the overachievers of the foot family, with a pronounced curve that leaves a larger gap between the foot and the ground. They offer good shock absorption but might require added support to distribute weight more evenly and prevent issues like supination. Think of them as the high-flyers who could benefit from a bit of extra attention to stay grounded and comfortable.

How Can I Strengthen My Foot Arch?

female foot step on massage ball to relieve Plantar fasciitis

Strengthening your foot arch can be achieved through a variety of exercises. Here are some ideas:

  • Arch Lifts: Stand straight with feet parallel and hands on your hips. Engage your core and begin to lift both heels off the floor, focusing on lifting your arches as you do so. This exercise can help strengthen the muscles in your feet and improve arch support.
  • Heel Raises: This involves standing with your feet hip-width apart and then slowly raising your heels until you’re on your tiptoes. Lower slowly back to the ground and repeat.
  • Towel Pickup: Lay a small towel on the floor and use your toes to pick it up and release it repeatedly. You can do the same with marbles or small balls.
  • Toe Lifts: While standing, lift all your toes off the ground, then lower them back down. Repeat this movement several times.
  • Calf Stretch: This can help relieve tension in your arches. Stand facing a wall with one foot in front of the other. Press your hands against the wall while keeping your back leg straight and heel on the ground. You should feel a stretch in your calf and arch.
  • Tennis/Golf Ball Rolls: Roll a tennis or golf ball under the arch of your foot. This can help stretch the muscles and relieve tension.
  • Heel Walking and Toe Walking: Walk across the room on your heels and then on your toes. This can help strengthen different parts of your feet.

The Benefits of Having the Right Arch Support in Shoes

If you regularly experience foot pain over time or have painful feet, wearing shoes with proper arch support can help prevent or manage them. Let's take a look at some of the advantages of having the right arch support in your footwear:

1. Reduced Pain and Discomfort

Arch support insoles or inserts can redistribute pressure and improve shock absorption, reducing arch pain, ankle pain, painful heels, and general discomfort in your feet, legs, and lower back caused by the extra stress on your feet.

2. Improved Balance and Stability

Arch support can help prevent foot rolls, reducing the risk of falls and ankle injuries. It also creates a stable base for your body, improving balance and providing excellent stability.

3. Enhanced Comfort and Performance

Shoes with arch support add extra padding, providing comfort and cushioning. Moreover, it can enhance your athletic performance by preventing or reducing muscle pain, fatigue, and other discomforts caused by excessive or uneven distribution of pressure on your feet.

4. Prevention of Foot Conditions

Wearing shoes with inadequate arch support can lead to foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis, flat arches, and painful feet, among other issues. Arch support in shoes can provide relief and prevent these problems from occurring.

What Happens If You Wear Shoes without Arch Support?

Wearing shoes without proper arch support can lead to various discomforts and potential foot issues. As the kinetic chain kicks off from our feet, even slight imbalances in our standing or walking posture can trigger significant effects and cause a chain reaction further along in our body.

Without adequate support, the natural arch of the foot can collapse or strain, leading to issues like flat feet or fallen arches. This lack of support might cause pain and fatigue not only in the feet but also in the ankles, knees, hips, and lower back as the body compensates for the imbalance.

Over time, it could contribute to common conditions resulting from such issues, like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or even exacerbate issues like bunions or hammertoes. Overall, the absence of arch support can significantly impact comfort, posture, and foot health, potentially causing long-term problems if not addressed.

Types of Shoes with Good Arch Support

Getting a pair of shoes with proper arch support can make a big difference in your foot health. Here are some types of shoes that offer excellent arch support:

1. Athletic Shoes

Athletic shoes are designed to support your feet, provide optimal comfort, and reduce the risk of injuries. They have thicker soles than regular shoes, typically made from rubber or synthetic material that provides excellent shock absorption. This feature is crucial as it helps reduce the impact on your feet when you run, jump, or engage in other high-intensity activities.

They also come with extra padding for arch support, particularly in the midsole region. 

2. Boots

Boots are ideal for adequate arch support, especially in winter. Look for boots with thick soles and cushioned padding designed to support your whole foot and keep you comfortable no matter how long you have them on, especially if you need a pair of reliable work boots for daily tasks.

Boots, with their thick soles and sturdy build, become trusty sidekicks, providing the ultimate support, especially in the frosty season. It's like wrapping your feet in a warm, protective hug that lasts all day long.

3. Orthopedic Shoes

Orthopedic shoes are specifically designed to treat or prevent foot conditions. They often come with arch support insoles or inserts, providing extra cushioning and stability, and can be custom-made.

Arch Support Inserts as Additional Support 

men hand putting orthopedic insoles in shoes

Making sure your footwear provides adequate arch support should be a top priority for everyone. However, not all shoes come with built-in support that caters to individual needs. That's where arch support inserts step in as an effective solution. These inserts act as additional support systems, enhancing the comfort and alignment of your feet.

They help position your feet ideally, distributing weight evenly and reducing strain on various pressure points. While investing in shoes with built-in arch support is ideal, sometimes it's not feasible. This is where arch support inserts serve as a practical alternative.

  • Custom orthotics, designed specifically for your feet, offer unparalleled support. They're tailored to address individual imbalances or conditions, providing personalized comfort. However, they can be expensive and might not be accessible to everyone.
  • Arch support inserts, on the other hand, offer a more budget-friendly option. They're versatile, fitting into various types of shoes, allowing you to modify your existing footwear for better support. From high arches to flat feet, these inserts come in different shapes and materials, catering to diverse arch types and preferences.

Remember, ensuring proper arch support isn't just a matter of all-day comfort; it's about maintaining the alignment of the entire body. From the kinetic chain to overall posture, the support starts from the feet and affects the body's balance. 

So, whether it's through a properly designed pair of shoes, custom orthotics, or adaptable arch support inserts, finding the right support is crucial for every individual, ensuring comfort and well-being.

Is Arch Support Good or Bad for You?

Getting additional arch support in shoes can be beneficial for many people, but it largely depends on individual needs and circumstances. It can be especially helpful for people with certain foot conditions, such as flat feet or plantar fasciitis, as it can provide the additional support that their feet may lack naturally. However, not everyone may need or benefit from added arch support.

Is too much arch support bad? Well, sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing. Some studies suggest that for people with normal feet, using excessive arch support could potentially lead to a decrease in the natural shock-absorbing capability of the foot, possibly leading to injuries over time. Moreover, some proponents of minimalist or barefoot running believe that overly supportive shoes can inhibit the foot's natural movement and potentially weaken the foot's intrinsic muscles over time.

Therefore, it's crucial to understand that footwear needs can vary greatly from person to person. What works best for one person may not work as well for another. If you're unsure about what type of shoe or amount of arch support is right for you, it's a good idea to consult with a podiatrist or a professional shoe fitter. They can assess your foot type, gait, and specific needs to help you make the best choice.

Seeking Professional Help for Arch Problems and Foot Pain

doctor is holding an insole to support the arch and explains to the woman possible problems

Choosing high-quality footwear designed with proper arch support is the best prevention. However, if you're dealing with persistent arch problems or foot pain, seeking professional guidance is paramount. Consulting with a medical professional is the initial step towards finding relief and developing a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

These experts can assess your condition comprehensively, offering specialized insight into the forms of treatment available, which might include custom orthotics, physical therapy, or other targeted interventions.  By seeking professional advice, you're taking a proactive approach to resolving arch-related issues, ensuring a more comfortable and pain-free stride. 

Support from the Ground Up: Your Feet Deserve the Best

Foot pain should not be part of your daily life. However, if you ignore the importance of arch support, you might end up suffering from painful feet, especially if you have an active lifestyle. The primary reason why people experience foot pain is because they don't have the necessary arch support in their shoes.

If you're in pain, instead of getting rid of discomfort with painkillers, consider getting shoes with proper arch support or arch support insoles or inserts. At Overlook Boots, we’ve got plenty! Plus, you won’t have to sacrifice style and safety features. This simple addition to your footwear, whether it's work boots, hiking boots, or athletic shoes, can mean the difference between pain management and pain-free days.

Remember, arch support is not just about comfort but also your overall foot health, which contributes to your physical and emotional well-being.