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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Podiatry Recommended Comfort Sandals For Spring.


Dansko Scarlett

Sanita Darcy

Dansko Nina

These are three great options for a sandal that you can dress up or down for the summer season. The first two are going to work better for anyone who has Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint) or any other forefoot problems that make it difficult or painful to wear heels while the Dansko Nina is a great option for someone who knows they can comfortably wear a heel.

What makes these three sandals superior to most are that they each have a thick, rigid sole that is protective of the foot joints. Less motion means less mechanical strain, which translates into less pain, decreased chance of injury and more comfort. Each sandal has forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot strapping, which is necessary for more comfort. If a shoe doesn't have a rearfoot strap, then you are forcing your joints, muscles, tendons and ligament to work harder to stay in the shoe. Instead of forcing your foot to do the work - make the shoe do the work!   

If you get 'tired legs' by the end of the day wearing flip flops or a backless sandal, try bumping up to one of these first two sandals. There are no good flip-flops! If your shoe does not have a thick rigid sole and rearfoot control, you are causing mechanical strain, which can promote all types of deformities such as bunions, hammertoes, osteoarthritis as well as knee, hip and lower back pain.

Remember, there are four requirements for a shoes: 
1. A thick, rigid sole (crucial!!)
2. Wide, soft toebox
3. Arch Support 
4. Rearfoot control 

The Dansko Scarlett and Sanita Darcy are Recommended for Patients with:
*Mild to Moderate Bunions
*Tailor's Bunions
*Morton's Neuroma
*Achilles Tendonitis
*Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
*Mild Tendonitis
*Mild Rheumatoid Arthritis
*Hallux Limitus (Limited Range of Motion of the 1st toe joint)
*Hallux Rigidus (No motion of the first toe joint)
*Patients who've had a surgical fusion of the first toe joint
*Mechanical Strain
*Mild Ligament Laxity
*Mild Hypermobility
*Mild Overpronation
*Patients recovering from foot fractures (Check with your doctor!)

The Dansko Scarlett and Sanita Darcy are NOT Recommended for Patients with: 
*History or Foot Ulcerations
*Peripheral Arterial Disease (Poor Circulation)
*Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerve Damage)
*Charcot Foot
*Severe Hypermobility
*Severe Over-Pronation
*Severe Ankle Instability 

*The major difference between wearing the first two sandals versus the Dansko Nina is - do you have any forefoot problems? If you have Hallux Limitus, Hallux Rigidus, Sesmoiditis, Metatarsalgia, Capsulitis, Morton's Neuroma (to name a few) - I would opt for the first two sandals as they will put less pressure on the forefoot structures. If you know that you can wear a heel comfortably then the Dansko Nina would be a good option for a comfortable sandal. 

Hope all is well!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy




Anonymous said...

Love the Danskos!
Also, recently I've been shopping around for shoes and came across the Earth Kalso line.
From a podiatrist's point of view, is the negative heel technology just commercial hype or is there actually some benefit to it?
I have never seen this before in a shoe.

Elizabeth said...

Great and timely post! I ordered the Scarlett and look forward to trying it. This year, the Dansko Thea is my go-to "dress shoe" and the Tasha my most-loved open toe sandal. Dansko has really upped their game and I'm loving their recent designs.

That said, every now and then, I want something a little less clunky and a lot more sleek. So, I've been trying Naots. Theoretically, they should be great for our feet, right? I have the Kayla and the Dorith and the Kelly. However, my feet ACHE by the end of the day and I'm thinking, maybe these aren't so great after all? Maybe they're too flexible? Or...something?

Thank you for all you do. You're my inspiration, for sure!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Thanks for reading the blog!
Yes, I agree, Dansko has really upped their game with cuter styles - especially their summer sandals.

Naots are excellent as long as you purchase one of the styles that has rearfoot strapping and a thick, rigid sole with no flexibility. Several of the Naot styles have a hidden metal shank in the sole and they should theoretically be the most comfortable. If you are young and active and Danskos feel great than stick with Dansko or maybe a Wolky Tulip, Jewel, Ruby or Cloggy. As a general rule, as we age and get less active, Naot becomes superior to Dansko in most cases.
Have a great day!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Anonymous,
Great question on the negative heel technology! Negative heel is a good shoe for patients with certain biomechanical foot structure. I always avoid recommending a shoe with a negative heel to anyone who has ever had issues with Achilles Tendonitis, ankle instability, hypermobility, Pes Cavus foot type and neurological issues. Assuming you don't have these issues, I would recommend trying them on and see how they feel. It's important that if you purchase a shoe or sandal with a negative heel that you make sure the sole is thick and rigid and does not flex. Also, make sure it has good rearfoot control
I checked out the Earth Kalso line and I particularly liked the 'Enrapture'. I don't think all of them are appropriate but assuming you find one meeting the criteria of a thick, rigid sole with forefoot, midfoot and rearfoot strapping - it should be comfortable (assuming you don't have any of the aforementioned foot issues.
I hope that was helpful and thank you for reading!

CarolynK said...

I have very narrow heels and a B width in front. Also flat feet and Tailors bunions. It is quite difficult to find shoes that fit, especially now that manufacturers have stopped making shoes with narrow heels. I wear 7-1/2 and years ago wore a 5A heel when they were making them, so that lets out European shoes. What do you suggest?

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Carolyn K,

That's a challenge! If you're talking about sandals, you're looking for a sandal that has an adjustable rearfoot strap so you can tighten it around your narrow heel.

For a dressier sandal, try:

Make sure the one you choose has a thick, rigid sole, a wide soft toebox and rearfoot control. You really need to fit the shoe for the front of your foot and find sandals that have a rearfoot strap that you can adjust and tighten.

For inclosed shoes, I recommend getting a custom-molded orthotic from you Podiatrist as that will help control your heel within the shoe as well as take up more room in the rearfoot, which should help with the narrow heel issue.

How about a Fit Flop Sandal? Check out my blog post prior to this one for info on that sandal - it works really well for patients with bunions and a wide forefoot.

I hope that was helpful!

Lynne said...

Hi Cathy,

I have been shoe shopping for the summer season and would like to know what you think about the Ecco Yucatan Sandal for everyday wear and the Clarks Caslynn Paula for work. Remember that I prefer bare feet but have come to accept the fact that I really need good support to avoid a recurrence of platar fasciitis.

While we're at it, where can I buy the Fitflop Fleur Sandal (with heel strap, of course) locally?


Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Lynne,
Sorry for the delayed response! The Ecco Yucatan sandals are on my recommended sandals list so they are good for casual summer wear. They also work really well for when you are at the beach, walking on the sand and even wear them into the water.

The Clarks Caslynn Paula look good! They meet all the criteria. Assuming that you don't have severe Hallux Limitus, Hallux Limitus or any forefoot issues and you can comfortably wear a heel that high, they should be good. Base it on how the shoe feels on your foot.

Sorry I can't help with the Fitflop Fleur Sandal - I'm an online shopper! Try a google search for the shoe within your zip code and see what comes up.

Hope that was helpful and have a great day!

Lyle said...

Hi, Dr. Cathy! I so appreciate your suggestions. I am seriously considering purchasing the Sanita Darcy for this summer, but I have a question. I do overpronate and frequently develop calluses on the balls of my feet. I also have a bunion that is becoming painful on my right foot. Would you still advise this shoe? It is really hard to find a quality shoe that is still flattering and stylish.

Thank you for any advice you can give. :)
Elizabeth B

Olivia said...

Thanks! Any thoughts on the Naot Gallus or Merrell Lorelei Emme?

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Elizabeth B,

Thanks for reading the blog!
Yes, I would recommend the Sanita Darcy. I recommend going to the store to try it on. My only concern is, if your bunions are large, the strap may cut across the bunion and cause irritation. Other sandal ideas are: Earthies, Wolkys and Naot. The Earthies have a wonderful soft insole material and have exceptional arch support, which helps prevent or slow the progression of bunions. Just make sure that you can't flex or bend the shoe.

The Dansko line is fabulous but they are not for everybody. When you try them on, you are either going to love them or hate them - your feet will let you know!

Good luck!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Olivia,

The Naot Gallus is a sandal I can highly recommend. The exceptions are that if you have severe Hallux Rigidus (no motion through the 1st toe joint) or you are diabetic with a history of poor circulation, nerve damage, or a ulcerations, this shoe is not appropriate for you. If you are not sure, you can always check with your Podiatrist but, in general, this is an excellent sandal.

The Merrell Lorelei Emme is a disaster! It fails in every department and I would not recommend this shoe for anyone. Merrell has many excellent shoes, but this is not one of them.

Hope all is well and thank you for reading,

Olivia said...

Thanks Dr. McCarthy!! - This site is very informative and I really appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts!!