Back in the heyday of the healthy shoe movement, A.K.A. the 1960s, healthy shoes were in style. The flatter the better, the earthier the better… the uglier the better! We’re referring to those flat, wide, suede-soled sandals that make anyone’s foot look clunky and awkward.

Healthy, flat, comfortable sandals may have been the hallmark of Hippie fashion, but little most people know… there are some surprising health benefits to wearing so-called ‘comfort shoes’.

Although Hippies didn’t wear comfortable shoes because they were good for their feet, they were actually doing their feet a favor by wearing them. Fast-forward to today, where cheap, flimsy, uncomfortable shoes abound thanks to the global economy and internet shopping, and you’ll find a lot of people have foot problems and worse.

In fact, many people don’t seem to know how important the right shoe can be for health. For everyone who needs a reminder, here are the surprising health benefits of wearing comfortable shoes.

1. They Reduce Foot Problems

Your feet work hard every day to hold up the weight of your body. Specifically, your arches work extra duty and as such is considered the most important part of your feet, structurally speaking. With every step you take, the arch absorbs all the pressure of not just your body weight but also the pounding of your stride.

Some people have more arch in their feet than others, but everyone needs arch support. Good shoes will feature a mounded area that hits your arch just right, providing the support it needs to hold you up during the 250,000 pounds of pressure you deliver with every mile you walk.

Without it, your arches could begin to ‘fall’, which can drastically undermine your ability to walk comfortably. Over time, it could lead to serious muscular-skeletal issues.

2. They Make it Easier to Walk More

A quarter of a million pounds of pressure for every mile you walk—that’s what your feet have to bear. Wearing thin-soled shoes without the proper cushioning can mean bad news for your heels!

Good shoes, especially orthopedic shoes, will buffer that impact with proper cushioning. And don’t be fooled by soft, cheap sneakers that feel wonderful in the store. Their cushioning material is likely to become easily crushed, unable to hold up to much stress at all. Good cushioning will reduce foot pain associated with plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.

3. They Make Your Back Feel Great

A proper, healthy shoe will have a wide footbed (hence the ‘caveman’ look of some famous brand sandals…). But that width is necessary for your foot to spread out the way nature intended. That leads to greater stability, which is great for your back.

They’ll also have a wider toe box, which means the same for your toes: they can spread out, the way nature wanted them to do. That also leads to greater alignment and a happy back.

4. They Can Correct Foot Problems

Some people’s ankles turn in, while others turn out. Those types of problems can actually be corrected by wearing the right shoe. By providing support on the arch or on the outside of the foot (depending on whether someone over- or an under-pronates), good shoes can begin to balance the ankle and correct foot problems.

5. They Help You Avoid Foot Surgery

If you’re young, you may not suffer from any of the foot-related problems mentioned so far. But give it time! When you don’t take care of your feet, you are most likely facing a long road of the foot, joint, knee, and back problems later on. Problems like hammer-toe, bunions, and general foot pain often result in surgery. Wearing good shoes from an early age may help you avoid that.


Luckily, many of today’s ‘comfort’ shoes come in great styles, so you don’t have to look like a Hippie or a caveman if you want to treat your feet right. Just remember to look for arch support, good cushioning, a wide footbed, and plenty of room for the toes.

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