The Best Shoes for Teachers: Sweet Relief From Hard Floors and Long Hours
Posted by Jenn F. on Friday, November 30th, 2012
I think teaching is one of the noblest professions. We’d be a nation of imbeciles without the hard work and dedication of the men and women in our classrooms. We owe them so much! I wish I could raise their pay and give them more vacation time or a robust 401K. Of course, I can’t. One thing I can do: find them some comfortable shoes. Often ignored in the hustle and bustle of a classroom, foot pain is one of the occupational hazards of being a teacher. Teachers are on their feet all day: lecturing, writing on the blackboard, and ferrying kids to and fro down busy corridors. The pain may be mild and sporadic, or severe and lasting. As always, severe lasting pain should immediately raise red flags. And, it always warrants a trip to the podiatrist.
There are many foot and leg ailments a good shoe can fix. Corns, achilles tendonitis, metatarsalgia, sesamoiditis, ankle and foot sprains, flat feet, neuroma, arch pain, heel pain, pronation, top of the foot pain, bunions, shin pain, and some knee pain can all be fixed or at least dramatically improved by choosing appropriate shoes. So let’s get started.
Consider the Mechanics. When you walk you push off with the toe, so you need flex in the front of your shoe. Many dress shoes and unsupportive heels or flats have stiff material in the forefoot. This will cause undue strain on your toes as they bend against an unyielding sole.
Measure the heel height. Many dress shoes have an elevated heel (most running shoes do too, since runners tend to push off with the ball of the foot or mid-foot). A raised heel is problematic for prolonged standing or walking, since it will distribute your weight on the front of your foot instead of evenly along its full length.
Consider cushioning and support. Cushioning and lateral support are probably the most important two characteristics of a comfortable standing and walking shoe, but the type of cushioning and support you need depends entirely on the anatomy of your foot (particularly your arch) and on how you distribute your weight. If your feet are overpronated and you have flat feet, you’ll need a shoe with extra support to control the inner bend of your ankles. If you have a high arch and your a supinator, you’ll need extra cushioning to protect the outer edge of your feet and ankles. If you have a normal arch, you’ll need a wide sole for good stability.
Buy recommended brands. A podiatrist can help you understand the anatomy of your feet and the type shoe that will protect them best. If you already know what you need but need help finding particular brands, visit the American Podiatric Medical Association’s list of approved shoes. And remember, if you’ve got great shoes and you’re still struggling with foot pain, try orthotics.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.