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We've all fallen victim to strappy stilettos that make us stumble down the street in pain. And while that's not a life-or-death situation, we can be doing better for our feet. "Women need to know their foot-type first, and be realistic about expectations of shoe type," said Dr. Archer, a New York-based podiatric surgeon who appreciates both foot health and footwear. We probed her to give us her best tips on shopping for comfortable sandals that don't sacrifice style. Read on for bunion-proof living, here.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below 1 Tip #1: Listen to your feet The Block Heel Sandal Everlane everlane.com $155.00 SHOP NOW
It's absolutely necessary that you learn about your own foot before you make a purchase. As Dr. Archer says, "a swooping generalization can't be made" for all feet, so make sure you get yourself checked out if you're experiencing pain. "The higher the heel, the more severe the slope of the mid-foot, the greater extension of the big toe, the more load going thru the ball of foot, then the heavier the more load is place on the forefoot," Dr. Archer warns. So do your research on your own foot, and read up on shoes that are good for you. Everlane is known for their shoes, and this heel is raved about in over four hundred reviews.
2 Tip #2: Read your shoes Arizona Sandals Birkenstock zappos.com $99.95 SHOP NOW
Here's a rule of thumb: "If you look at the foot bed of a sandal and it's pancake flat (like a haviana flip flop), there is no support," she said. "When a sandal's foot bed accommodates the anatomical shape of the bottom of the foot it is easy to notice support— arch area, ball of foot area heel area." Look at your shoes, and think about whether the sole looks like an imprint of bare feet. Brands like Birkenstocks, with their ergonomic soles, are definitely foot-positive.
3 Tip #3: Limit the time on your feet (in flats) The Boardwalk Lace-Up Sandal Madewell nordstrom.com $59.50 SHOP NOW
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't dabble in cute footwear if you wear them occasionally. Dr. Archer said. But, "a well-made Grecian style sandal [can be] worn for social situations—i.e., not commuting or walking the dog."
4 Tip #4: Strap placements are important Starla Sandal Loeffler Randall revolve.com $195.00 SHOP NOW
"I also love Loeffler Randall’s strappy gladiators," Dr. Archer stated. "However they don’t offer much arch support and are not good for wide feet." So when choosing strappier styles, "be conscious of strap placement [that don't] cross over bunion bumps." Tight straps can cause bunions and blisters when they rub against your foot.
5 Tip #5: Hiking sandals are it Flatform Universal Pride Teva teva.com $80.00 SHOP NOW
Thankfully, comfortable hiking sandals are considered cool these days. High-end brands like Chloé and Marni are dabbling in the trend, but Tevas are the OGs. They took their iconic sandals one step further this summer with rainbow platforms, which are unsurprisingly super comfortable.
6 Tip #6: Fitflops are beloved by podiatrists Helga Slides Fitflop fitflop.com $120.00 SHOP NOW
A favorite brand of Dr. Archer's is Fitflops. "They all have anatomically contoured foot beds that increase foot-to-midsole contact for maximum comfort and support you in the right places with targeted pressure diffusion," she told us. She especially recommended them for "‘problem feet’ and walking increased distances."
7 Tip #7: Look to comfort shoe brands for stylish heels Orabella Daisy Mules Clarks clarksusa.com $100.00 SHOP NOW
For more fashion-forward styles, also search through well-known comfort brands like Clarks. You could walk miles in these sneaky-cozy heels. These mules have a secret, technologically-advanced sole that is atypical of designer shoes.
8 Tip #8: Block heels > stilettos The Mirri Sandal Stuart Weitzman stuartweitzman.com $450.00 SHOP NOW
This comes as no surprise, but "A block heel is always more stable than a stiletto, and criss-cross straps around the ankle can provide support and reduce incidence of any sprain," Dr. Archer said.
9 Tip #9: Stay Under 3" Patty Sandals Alexandre Birman shopbop.com $595.00 SHOP NOW
But if you can't say no to a stiletto, caution Dr. Archer's words: "Even if you have a normal foot type with no issues, a heel height of over three inches will [still] cause ball of foot pain and toe pain." For best practices, stay under her three-inch rule.
Justine Carreon Justine Carreon is the market editor at ELLE.com covering fashion, Dutch ovens, and fashion again. Advertisement – Continue Reading Below Chic Ways to Lug Your Laptop to Work 25 Meaningful Gifts for Fathers-To-Be Advertisement – Continue Reading Below ThirdLove's Buy More, Save More Bra Sale Is Here Nike Is Releasing a 'Stranger Things' Collection Which Shade of Green Are You Wearing This Summer? Your Favorite Basics Are on Sale at Everlane 15 Chic Bags You Can Schlep on Long Weekends I Guarantee These Leggings Will Get Compliments 21 Father'Day Gifts for First Dads The $13 H&M T-Shirt So Good I Bought 5 #ELLELoves