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Points about shoes

Various high heeled shoes.

Sure, you may love the sleek look of a high heel or pointy toe. But it’s a good idea to avoid those or at least save them for special occasions. Otherwise, you could risk problems with your feet, ankles, knees, and back. Instead, look for shoes with heels that are not more than an inch high and that have a wide toe box (which means the front part doesn’t squish your toes).

Want to keep your feet happy and healthy? Consider these facts:

  • Pointy, narrow-toed shoes put unhealthy pressure on the bones in your feet. If the shoes have high heels, the pressure is even worse.
  • High heels don’t spread the body’s weight evenly across your foot. They put too much stress on the front part of your foot.
  • The height of a shoe’s heel makes a big difference. A 2-inch heel causes fewer problems than a 4-inch heel.
  • It’s not a good idea to buy shoes hoping that they’ll stretch. They should already feel comfortable in the store.
  • Experts suggest that you don’t wear flip-flops all the time. They often don’t give your feet enough support and can change how you walk in ways that can cause foot and back problems.


Content last reviewed October 13, 2010
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.