Are cushioned shoes good or bad for you?


Are cushioned shoes good or badThe feet have an extremely complex skeletal structure than any of the other parts of the human body. Feet give us the mobility we need for walking, running, and jumping. Sadly, we often forget how much feet do for us until we get them injured or when they start to hurt. Every step we take, and every move we make, the health of our feet is impacted. For the sake of healthy feet, a suitable pair of footwear is a necessity for maximum protection. So does that mean wearing padded/cushioned shoes only? Are cushioned shoes good or you? Or is it really bad? What do you think?

Let me clear up your confusion. Cushioned shoes actually shouldn’t be your best friend. The best kinds of shoes are those that have the least amount of foam for cushioning. The more cushioned a shoe is the better- this is nothing but a myth. Those shoes may seem comfortable to your feet, but they are causing more damage you can possibly think of. So if you don’t want to face major injury from impacts, heavy-cushioned shoes are clearly the deal-breaker!

Why Cushioned Shoes are bad?

Okay, you might need to sit down before you know how bad cushioned shoes can be. If you’re wearing one right now, just take them off. Today, we will learn why cushioned shoes are bad for you.

For decades, footwear companies are promoting bouncy, foam-installed soft cushioning shoes. We, the consumers are getting crazy over them. Consumers have been buying and wearing these shoes without knowing the terrifying consequences. We have to admit that, cushioned shoes do feel nice around and under the feet. But how beneficial it is when you’re standing, walking, running, or jumping?

“The cushions in the shoes boost comfort, reduces the impact on your feet by buffering forces on our bodies as we move”— ideas like this were established by healthcare professionals in the shoe industry. Any sorts of major to minor calluses, plantar fasciitis,  bunions, or cracked heels — a podiatrist’s first choice is to prescribe the patients with shoes that have a high degree of cushioning or padding. But what about patients who have knee or joint pain, or pain in the lower west? Should they still wear these kinds of cushioned shoes? The answer is, NO! But still some cushioned shoes are available for bad knees who badly need it

There are so many misconceptions among people regarding shoe cushioning that it’s pretty scary. The initial idea behind cushioned shoes is that a higher level of padding under the foot reduces the impact on the body’s tissues and joints during physical activities. Intuitively, this may sound reasonable. But it’s pretty terrifying that people have been told that they NEED cushioning to protect their soft tissues and joints from damage. Unfortunately, several studies and physics say otherwise.

A few years ago, a study with a small group of people as test subjects was conducted. They were given heavily-cushioned and thinly-padded shoes for their athletic and jogging activities. Several videos footage of them showed that runners with high-cushioned shoes bent their knees less than usual, hit the ground harder than they usually do. But while wearing the less-padded shoes, the scenario was completely opposite. Moreover, there was a noticeable difference regarding speeds. Of course, less cushioned shoes make you faster.

Runners sincerely care about impact peak. When we walk, the force our feet endures is equal to our body’s weight, but when we run that same force gets tripled in weight. Although there are several debatable best running forms, some runners tend to strike their entire feet on the ground and so the impact on the heels and forefeet. Now think about walking and jumping. When we walk, we mostly heel strike first. Similarly, running is basically a form of jumping that you do constantly and fast. So when you’re jumping barefoot, do your forefeet or your heel gets in contact with the ground fast? Yes, it’s your forefeet. So when you run in a pair of cushioned shoes, they prohibit you from forefeet striking naturally. Indeed, landing on your heels sounds much more comfortable as it eases your Achilles tendon and calf muscles and lets you lengthen your strides easily. But it is actually not as nice as it seems. One Harvard research shows that the strikers are twice as likely to be injured than forefoot strikers. Shoes with minimalist cushion/padding lowers the possibilities of heel strikes, and as a result, it decreases the risk of knee, ankle, joint, muscles, and back injury.

Why do you need Cushioned Shoes?

Since cushioned shoes have so many downsides, do you think you should just throw away the ones you already own? Definitely not! The cushion does absorb the impact, and it does buffer out forces to make strides more tolerable for you. But, here’s the thing. You don’t really “need” them, but if you want to have one for yourself and give them a try, sure, go ahead!
When you get yourself a cushioned shoe, make sure it is lightly cushioned. Also, make sure it doesn’t have thick padding. Heavier cushioning/padding will make your shoes heavy and therefore, more difficult to move. You will see less responsiveness, stiffness in your knees and ankles, and of course, consequent lower back pain. Even if you’re running in a marathon, wearing a pair of slightly cushioned shoes is just fine. Although there is one particular group of people who will actually benefit from mid-level cushioning- those who are recovering from foot injuries like- fracture, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, etc. Do remember, these shoes can be worn only temporarily.

Who should avoid cushioned shoes?

Runners, joggers, athletes, marathoners, gym-goers — basically anyone who is into a lot of physical activities when being on feet is mandatory. Even city or village people who need to walk miles every day, or the ones who work standing all day should avoid cushioned shoes at all costs. Your feet don’t get tired when you walk barefoot at home or on the grass, do they? It’s because being barefoot is the best possible care for your feet. Hence, if you’re into sports, or any activities that require using your feet, avoid padded/cushioned shoes at all costs.

How Much Cushion is needed for Running Shoes?

The footwear industry offers you both maximal and minimal cushioned running shoes. As we just mentioned, heavy-cushioned shoes are basically your biggest enemy when it comes to running. The bouncy feeling sure does feel awesome. But long-term usage of these shoes can dramatically damage your healthy feet. That’s why go for some lightweight minimalist cushioning shoes. It will offer you enough “barefoot” feeling, strengthening of your foot and leg muscles, and an advanced proprioceptive sensation.

Conclusion

Healthy feet are happy feet. When it comes to choosing the best for your feet, you should never compromise what’s good for you. Soft shoes raise the danger of leg pain and foot injuries. The temporary comfort comes with a price, and that is an increased level of stress on your bone, joints, and muscles. Who wants that, right? So we’d recommend you avoid cushioned shoes as much as you can. This is for your own safety and well-being.

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