Wellness shoes are a new trend in footwear focused on foot health and total body wellness.  Most Health and Wellness Footwear brands have a number of different benefits and they can typically be split into the following categories based on their main benefits:

Fitness and Exercise Footwear: Fitness and Exercise Footwear is a very popular category with consumers and developers. Fitness and Exercise Footwear, when considered in the Health and Wellness category, will include a specific technology that offers benefits such as increased flexibility, enhanced toning benefits or technology devised to combat cellulite. A lot of fitness and exercise footwear brands will have clinical studies carried out on their products and technologies to ensure they do provide the benefits they claim.

Comfort Footwear: Comfort footwear is a huge footwear category that has been around for years and as the trend of Health and Wellness Footwear grows it has naturally been included under that umbrella. As such, most traditional comfort brands don’t include a ‘technology’, they simply offer soft leathers or a wide foot bed. However, there is a new breed of comfort footwear that has been developed as part of the Health and Wellness Footwear trend.

Medical Footwear: Medical Footwear is a category of Health and Wellness Footwear that can help with specific medical conditions. Most Health and Wellness Footwear brands do have benefits that can ease medical conditions such as back pain, poor posture, and foot pain. These brands have specific technologies that usually help align our bodies and support the joints properly, or have a specially designed foot bed to ease foot pain. Some brands are developed specifically as a solution for medical conditions and are connected with health practitioners. MBT is an example of a specific medical shoe and as such it only available from special shoe fitters.

Shoes with a rocker sole can reduce several types of foot pain and often reduce ankle, knee, hip and back pain as well.  Specifically, they can help relieve pain associated with plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, broken toes, hallux rigidus, hallux limitus, heel pain and general forefoot pain.  Individuals who suffer from painful arthritis in the midfoot and forefoot can also find much relief when wearing these shoes.  People who suffer from Charcot foot or foot drop can benefit greatly from rocker sole shoes. Due to the lack of control these conditions cause with the foot and ankle, the assistance of the rocker can make walking much easier. 

While rocker sole shoes have proven to be effective in providing foot comfort to many people, they are not for everyone.  People with balance issues, severe over pronation and severe foot abnormalities should consult their doctor before purchasing a pair.

The Mechanics of Wellness Shoes

While standing in a heel-to-toe rocker, the balance point is on the midfoot.  With the heel and ball-of-the-foot suspended, stress is relieved on those areas.  Benefits are experienced while the foot is in motion as well.  The rocker sole shoe uses the simple concept of a contoured rigid platform that controls joint motion by rocking the foot from heel-strike through toe-off.  The rigid platform reduces the movement of the midfoot and forefoot, often resulting in reduced pain in those areas.

Tips to keep in mind when thinking of buying wellness shoes:
  • All health and wellness footwear should have clear features and benefits.
  • You should have a clear understanding of the health benefits you’ll get by wearing the shoes – make sure these fit in with the benefits you’re looking for or the condition you’d like to help.
  • If a health and wellness footwear brand claims to have medical benefits like correcting posture or helping with back pain, they will usually have data from experts and customers that back up those claims. Make sure that the store where you buy your shoes is knowledgeable about what they are selling. The most experienced healthy shoe stores, such as SHOES-n-FEET will have specific knowledge about all brands of healthy footwear and will be able to help you identify the best brand for you.

For more details about the wellness brands we carry, check out our in store selection!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to try a pair on, or have more questions, head to your nearest SHOES-n-FEET and a Certified Shoe Fitting Specialist will be happy to assist you.