“Sit up straight.” “Don’t slouch when you’re walking.” “Stop hunching over.”
Growing up, these were just some of the ways our parents would pester us about our terrible posture. It’s not bad advice- posture is extremely important.
But here’s something no one ever told us: your footwear choice plays an equally important part in maintaining a healthy posture as your sitting and walking habits.
As it turns out, lightweight flexible shoes are crucial for maintaining a healthy posture or correcting a really bad one.
Sounds like a stretch? Allow us to realign your beliefs.
Why Good Posture Matters
Having a good posture- with your back straight and shoulders high- is a sign of good etiquette and professionalism.
A number of different things constitute your overall posture. According to Harvard Health Publishing, your posture is affected by your entire body- from the way you hold your head to the weight distribution on your feet.
But why exactly is posture so important?
The thing is, posture is more than just about keeping up appearances- it is directly related to your health as well.
Countless literature notes the direct effect of posture on multiple aspects of health, such as:
- Blood pressure
- Respiratory activity
- Blood circulation
- Spinal joint health
- Postural disorders
- Cognitive functions
On the other hand, if you actively work on improving your posture, you will start noticing positive changes to your overall health. In fact, a 2015 study proved that you could feel the positive effects of postural correction exercise programs in as little as a month’s time.
So, it’s no secret that good posture is essential to your general health, and regular exercise can help improve poor posture.
But guess what? Shoes can help your posture, too.
The Link Between Shoes and Posture
Now, we know what you’re thinking: “what do my shoes have anything to do with my posture?” Honestly, it does feel like a stretch.
But think about it: when you wear heels or shoes that don’t quite fit right, you have to adjust your entire body accordingly. Sometimes, you’ll have to walk in a painfully awkward position just to compensate for the discomfort.
As it turns out, there’s a very good reason for that.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons analogize your entire body to a long chain. Each link of the chain represents your bones, and the contact point between the two links represents your joints.
Now, what do you think would happen when the very first link of the chain is mispositioned? Certainly, the point of contact will become overstressed and likely wear out.
Similarly, if even one bone is misaligned for long periods of time due to poor posture, your entire body will suffer as a consequence. According to the analogy, your feet are that first link in the chain. As such, they will affect the positioning of the rest of your body- your posture.
As you can see, it all starts with your feet; you can straighten your back and hold your head up as much as you want, but as long as your feet are uncomfortable, your entire posture will suffer.
Lightweight Flexible Shoes Benefit Your Overall Health
Different occasions call for different footwear- heels, flats, boots, sneakers, and so on. But while you can’t always wear casual and comfortable sneakers everywhere you go, two things must remain consistent: lightweight and flexibility.
You’ll often hear the words “lightweight flexible shoes” enthusiastically thrown around in the running community. However, non-runners can benefit from this type of footwear as well.
Think about it: your feet already support your entire body weight. Hence, the added weight of your shoes means that they have to work that much harder. Therefore, shedding off that extra bit of weight can do wonders for your feet, which will, in turn, benefit your posture.
How to Choose the Right Shoes For Your Posture
When it comes to choosing the best shoes for the benefit of your posture, the main thing you must focus on is your natural pronation.
What is Pronation?
When you’re walking or running, your ankles naturally tend to roll inwards or outwards as a shock-absorbing and stabilizing movement. This reactive motion of your ankles is known as pronation.
The thing to note here is that everyone has a different pronation tendency, and this is something you can’t change. What you can do, however, is pick the right lightweight flexible shoes to cater to your pronation type.
You can identify your pronation tendencies through the “wet foot test”:
- Layout a piece of sandpaper on the ground.
- Wet your feet thoroughly and stand on the sandpaper for roughly 10 seconds.
- Your feet will leave behind an impression on the sandpaper. Observe the shape of this impression.
- If the impression shows the entirety of your foot with a slight curve, then you have a normal arch leading to neutral pronation. Most modern footwear caters to neutral-pronators, so count yourself lucky.
- If the impression looks unusually flat with no curve, then you have a low arch, and you tend to under-pronate. In this case, you need something with extra ankle support.
- If the impression shows a very sharp curve with only a small band connecting the forefoot and heels, then you have a very high arch, and you tend to overpronate. In this case, you’ll need shoes that have built-in arch support, or you’ll have to get separate arch support insoles. Additionally, you’ll need extra sole durability on the outer edge.
By this point, you must know about your pronation type. But what do you do with that information?
Everyone’s pronation tendencies are different, and so everyone will have to look out for different types of shoes. But there are some ubiquitous characteristics that you must always have in your shoes- whether you’re an under-pronator or overpronation.
We have already discussed the benefits of lightweight flexible shoes on your overall posture. But apart from this,
- Ankle support
- Ample cushioning
- Adjustable fastening
- Removable/replaceable insoles
- A slight, well-cushioned heel.
Top 4 Lightweight Flexible Shoes For a Good Posture
At this point, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with information. After all, there are so many things to consider before buying the right shoes for the sake of a healthy posture.
So, how about you take a breather and let us do the hard work. Here, we have combined a list of the best lightweight flexible shoes for your postural health.
Comfortable, stylish, and functional- Loom encapsulates this ultimate trifecta with their flagship waterproof sneakers.
The characteristic feature of these lightweight flexible shoes, apart from their high-level water resistance, is their four-way-stretch Merino Wool interior. Not only does the Merino wool maximize flexibility and movement, but it’s also a very effective material for cushioning.
By using Merino Wool alongside a podiatrist-approved Excelcast sole, Loom offers ample amounts of cushioning without the shoe being too high.
You’ll also notice that the heels of these shoes extend outwards. While it is a small detail, this heel design actually adds a lot of stability and encourages you to distribute your weight evenly on both feet.
If you’re someone who tends to overpronate, then the Aetrex Carly Arch Support Sneakers will be a sight for sore eyes- or rather sore ankles.
The Carly Arch Support Sneakers are specially designed for people who suffer from chronic ankle soreness. As we saw earlier, problems in the ankle can lead to problems throughout your body.
Luckily, Aetrex’s Cobra Orthotic Technology helps lessen the pressure buildup from around your ankles and heels. Instead, it allows for a much more even weight distribution so you can stand upright without any discomfort.
Before the era of highly-cushioned running shoes, barefoot shoes were extremely trendy. These shoes mimic the feel of barefoot walking as much as possible by reducing the number of materials between your sole and the ground.
While most barefoot shoes need to compromise on cushioning, the Xero Aptos achieve the perfect balance between the natural barefoot feel and protection.
And the secret lies in the soles.
Thanks to highly flexible outsoles, you can flex your feet as naturally as possible. Without the added restriction of heavy cushioning and tough outsoles, the rest of your body won’t have to compensate for the awkward foot alignments.
In other words, your shoes won’t be hindering your posture.
There’s something about a classic Chase Chukka-style boot that immediately makes you want to stand more upright. And it’s not just the high-class leather or the elegant contrasting stitches. Instead, these timeless Chukka boots are optimized for your posture.
As it turns out, experts attest to the trademark technology’s ability to correct over-pronation. The slight heel alleviates pressure buildup around your rearfoot, while the high ankle collar offers constant ankle support.
Sure, the high-grade leather requires a longer break-in period. However, the shoes become extremely flexible and comfortable to wear following a successful break-in period.
While most people don’t realize it, having a good posture is extremely consequential to your overall health.
Now, exercising is a good way to correct your posture. But in order to reap the long-term benefits of postural exercises, you need to address the root problem- your shoes.
As you’ve seen, lightweight flexible shoes are the ideal type of footwear for postural issues. Not only do they help correct your posture, but they also ensure that you’re able to sustain that corrected posture.