The holidays are approaching, and so are the parties. And with holiday parties come aching feet from unsupportive and uncomfortable party shoes.
Maybe you don’t see the need for wearing supportive shoes for a party. After all, you’re not running a marathon. But if you’re going to be on your feet all night mingling, especially if there’s dancing involved, you’ll want to make sure you have the support you need.
Because whether you’re wearing holiday dress shoes, high heels, or cute casual flats… wearing shoes that lack support can leave you in misery by the end of the night.
Why do shoes that look so good feel so bad? And what can you do to get through the holiday party season standing strong?
Holiday Dress Shoes Are About Fashion, Not Function
Imaging your average holiday party. Now take a quick look downward. What types of shoes do you see?
Depending on the dress code, you could see any number of styles, including:
- Men’s dress shoes
- Fashion-forward boots
- Casual Boots (Like Uggs) & Moccasins
- High Heels
- Casual flats (Like Toms, Vans, or Sperry.)
- Minimalist, fashionable sneakers (Like Yeezy or Nike Freerun)
What do all these styles have in common? Two things. First, they’re all about looks. And second, they all lack the elements of support necessary to prevent foot pain and fatigue.
What are those elements?
As we discussed in our post on the Anatomy Of A Shoe, there are two parts of any shoe that contribute to its support (or lack thereof.)
The outsole provides the foundation of your stride. And, just like the foundation of a building, it’s important to use the right foundation for the right structure.
As a rule, the main factors that impact outsoles are support and weight.
The wider an outsole, the more support a shoe has. Support helps to align the body. Wider base = more support.
The tradeoff, of course, is weight. A wide base is a heavier base. And when most people are choosing shoes for an evening out… they tend to pick lighter weight shoes under the mistaken assumption that they will be more comfortable over the course of an evening.
The midsole also impacts your balance and support. But where the outsole is about gripping the ground and providing balance, the midsole is about how the shoe contours to your foot.
When it comes to the midsole, the name of the game is arch support. How high the contour of the midsole posts the medial arch, and how high the arch is lifted.
Like the base of the outsole, it’s a tradeoff between support and weight. The level of support is impacted by the materials used. The heavier/more material used, the heavier, and more supportive, the shoe.
When You Wear Heels & Holiday Dress Shoes
When we talk about ‘wearing heels,’ most men think they’re in the clear. But many fashionable boots and dress shoes for men have a slightly elevated heel. And whether you are wearing a man’s dress shoe, a knee-high boot, or a drastic pump… wearing any type of shoe with an elevated heel can cause a number of issues.
Elevating the heel is a fashionable statement, and it has been for a long time. There are some dress shoe designs that haven’t changed in 100 years or more. But that old fashioned standard of fashion comes with some very unpractical trade-offs.
Elevating the heel changes the point of impact during your gait, which means that your weight distribution and alignment is thrown off balance. It puts more pressure on your calves, it puts too much of your weight toward your forefoot, and increases foot fatigue. And the more drastic the heel elevation, the more severe the changes to weight distribution & alignment.
When You Wear Casual Flats & “Comfortable” Party Shoes
That being said, the lack of an elevated heel on your choice of party shoe does not mean that it’s any more supportive.
If your shoe is squishy or “comfortable,” that may feel good at the beginning of the evening… but without support, it won’t stay that way too long.
Consider the minimalist sneakers, like the Adidas Cloudform or the Nike Freerun. As running shoes, you would assume that they have enough support to get you through the evening. But they were build with minimalist design in mind… which means a streamlined, lightweight shoe that lacks the supportive elements of chunkier, less fashionable runners.
An Ugg boot, or a canvas shoe like Converse or Vans, may feel lightweight or cozy. But if they don’t have a substantial base or a contoured midsole, they won’t be able to support you for a consistent period.
Insoles For Your Holiday Party Shoes
This is all well and good, but you’re probably not going to wear running shoes with a cocktail dress. If you have a dress code, or you’re attending a costume party, you may be limited to a select style of shoe that lacks support.
That’s where an insole comes in.
Orange Insoles makes an insole for almost any type of shoe. (Yes, that includes heels!) With a heel cup, metatarsal pad, and substantial medial arch support, and Orange Insole can keep you on your feet and on the dance floor.
Check out our inventory and find a pair in your size today!