Everyone wears converse shoes or flat-bottoms these days– everyone who thinks he/she’s hip, trendy and young at least. I studied feet in these cloth-made, non-supportive shoes with hard flat soles on the train yesterday and came to this conclusion– they’re horrible for feet, especially tweens and teens who are still growing. They lead to over pronation of the foot, foot pain, and gradually, flat-feet.
First off, evolution has programmed us to walk on surfaces such as sandy beaches and terrain, bare-footed. Our feet were not programmed to walk on man-made concrete floors, or flat, hard surfaces. Adding injury to insult (of nature that is) we subject our feet to flat shoes and voila, our ankles hurt, our feet are deformed, and calluses form.
A foot takes a lot of abuse– a lot of ground reaction forces, pressure, and strain daily. You have to wear shoes that are comfortable and mold your feet. Anti-gravity rocker bottom shoes are the way to go, though if you overuse rocker bottom shoes like MBTs, Sketchers Shape Ups, you can get achilles tendonitis because you are overusing your plantarflexors and dorsiflexors. The secret to preserving your feet is moderation– don’t constantly wear Converse-like shoes and don’t always wear rocker bottom shoes. Kids, especially growing toddlers, should walk bare-footed from time to time. Flat-feet should be corrected early on with proper shoes and orthotics– because though we can get knee and hip replacements, we can’t get feet replacements (we can get prosthetics and ankle replacements, but those aren’t fun, now are they?)