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Experts agree: To make life feel a little more normal while sheltering in place, you should try to stick to a schedule, have meals at regular times, and actually put on some clothes rather than staying in PJs. This includes shoes.
While it’s super-luxurious to languish barefoot occasionally, it’s not necessarily going to be the best thing for your mental health during this long stretch of homebody-ness. And it may not be great for your feet either, especially if you’re prone to foot pain.
“Walking barefoot for extended periods can put excessive strain on your plantar fascia,” Dr. Dana Canuso, DPM, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. The plantar fascia is the tendon that holds up the arch of your foot. According to Dr. Canuso, host of the online show Real Medicine, “this strain can lead to plantar fasciitis.” That’s inflammation of the tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes—and it hurts like a demon.
Board-certified podiatrist Dr. Nelya Lobkova concurs, adding that walking or running barefoot for an extended period of time is especially problematic as we get older: “After age 50, especially women, begin to lose the fat pad in the ball of the foot, diminishing the cushioning.”
Even worse, trouble caused by too much barefoot walking can migrate upward, causing pain in knees, hips, and lower back.
The antidote? Epically comfortable shoes. Board-certified podiatrist Dr. Polina Zaydenberg tells Yahoo Lifestyle that “it’s good to choose slippers or shoes that have prefabricated arch support.” She also recommends shoes that “let the heel and metatarsal areas work to the best of their abilities.”
Here are six picks to please our panel of podiatrists—easy on, easy off, and just right for bustling about your home, garage, and yard on repeat.
This walking shoe—great for a stroll of for puttering around the house—is made with stretch mesh, so it’s both breathable and durable. Dr. Lokbova declares this pair "great for prevention and generalized foot soreness." Shaped for forward motion, this New Balance delivers the easy ride you’re used to from the brand.
Lightweight with a partly mesh upper, these soft-top slip-ons won’t press on sensitive spots and cause discomfort. They’re especially great as warmer weather arrives—offering traction and flexibility indoors or out. "They’re breathable,” says Dr. Canuso, “so you won't be sweaty wearing them all day in the house."
Nike’s faux-leather sandals with a memory foam sole give you that walking-on-clouds sensation. And can’t we all use a little extra sensory treat these days? “These flip-flops have good arch support,” Dr. Zaydenberg says. “People with flat feet need that, especially when it comes to backless shoes.”
Enjoy a little extra height and whole lot of comfort in these strappy rubber slides, also available in solid black. Cushioned and plush, they hold your feet securely in place so you can truly relax (no toe-gripping required). Perfect house shoes that, according to Dr. Lobkova, also happen to be "great for people who have ball-of-the-foot pain.”
The secret to these low-top sneakers is a just-right elastic collar that holds the shoes in place without digging into ankles—and a flexible sole that bends with your foot as you walk. Dr. Canuso loves this pair, which was awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance—because the style is “easy to slip on, breathable, and has significant cushion.” And they’re not too heavy, so you can wear them all day, without feeling weighed down.
You can get these soft-suede Toms slip-ons lined in faux shearling or not. Either way, they’re comfy, cool, and effortless. “These are good accommodative shoes,” says Dr. Zaydenberg. “They’re very sturdy, and the sole is a good shock absorber.” As always, purchasing with Toms means helping a person in need; the good folks at this company donate a pair of shoes for every pair they sell.
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