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How to avoid spring shoes that hurt your feet

Sandal season will soon be upon us, and I’ve been perusing websites for spring shoes that provide enough comfort and support to walk around the city after work.

Flats are out, a foot specialist told me, as are sky-high heels. “You should look for a shoe with one-inch heel differential,” said Dr. Kenneth Leavitt, chief of podiatric medicine and reconstructive foot surgery at New England Baptist Hospital. That means a shoe with a two-inch platform at the sole should have a three-inch heel.

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“Flat shoes stress the Achilles tendon and cause extensive pronation or flattening of the feet,” Leavitt explained. Surgery is sometimes warranted for severe, chronic foot pain to fix it.

High heels can cause persistent foot problems including corns, calluses or misshapen hammertoes — and can even cause stress fractures.

Wearing flats or heels occasionally won’t usually cause these problems, but Leavitt recommends wearing a proper-fitting shoe 90 percent of the time.

Look for shoes that fit well, and are not too tight or too loose so that they rub up and down against your heel as you walk. The toe box should be wide enough so that your toes don’t feel squeezed. Shoes should be sized to the larger foot and should be tried on in the late afternoon or evening when feet tend to be a little swollen.

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