Podiatrist’s Heel Height Suggestions for Shoes and Sandals

Heels have a bad reputation for being bad for foot health, but that reputation may not be deserved, at least not anymore, as many shoe brands focus on making comfortable heels at this point . You can now find heels with arch support if you have flat feet, as well as ones you could dance the night away with at a wedding.

If you strictly wear flats for the sake of your feet, you might be surprised to learn that a little heel is better than none at all, according to podiatrist and podiatric surgeon Dana Canuso, DPM, founder of Dr. Canuso Skincare for the feet. “This is by far the most common misconception, that flats are good for you and responsible, but in the long run, the lack of support can cause major damage to your feet, knees, hips, back and shoulders,” she says.

That doesn’t mean you have to strap on a really high stiletto heel (which, FYI, Dr. Canuso doesn’t recommend wearing because they can increase your risk of ankle injury). There are many good options in between.

When it comes to finding heels that won’t hurt your feet, it’s important to keep a few things in mind, like the podiatrist’s heel height recommendations below.

Opt for a mid-heel

Choosing the right pairs of heels is a bit like Goldilocks – you don’t want anything too low or too high. It must be perfect because it can affect your posture and your walking pattern. “A heel that is too small can often lead to foot pain, bunions, back pain and plantar fasciitis (or inflammation of the foot), and a heel that is too high can often lead to bunions and back pain, as well as Achilles tendon problems,” says Dr. Canuso. So go for a two to three inch high heel and see how your feet feel since the ideal heel height varies from person to person.

“My personal feeling is that any heel over three inches should only be worn for a very short period of time, like say for a special occasion or a wedding, because wearing them for long periods of time can cause long term damage, especially if worn all day, every day,” she says.

Make sure he has a back

Slip-on sandals and mules can look very attractive, especially in spring and summer. But if your primary concern is foot health, not fashion, you’ll want to stick with heels that have a back. “Overall, having a back on heels will provide more support than shoes that don’t,” says Dr. Canuso.

The size of the rear part of the shoe also matters. “It’s common for some people to have a bony prominence on the back of their heel, which could rub against the back of a shoe,” says Dr. Canuso, “so make sure the shoe hits over or in below this point to avoid chafing and pain.”

Consider wedges

If Dr. Canuso had to pick an MVP when it came to heels, this would be the corner. “In my opinion, these are the best and most durable heels for all foot types because they help distribute pressure while walking, support the ankle, and provide more surface area for the foot to find stability when you’re walking. you’re standing and walking,” she says, adding that if your wedge is shorter (like 1.5 inches), it’s good that it’s open since you’re so low to the ground that it will be enough stable without the additional support.

Find a base of support

It is important to note that the thickness of the heels – whether block or wedge or rather thinner, or stiletto – can be more or less favorable depending on the arch of the foot. “If I had to choose between a thin, short stiletto heel or a high wedge heel as the best heel option to avoid pain and discomfort, my answer would change depending on foot type,” says Dr. Canuso.

According to her, a mid-height wedge works best for low-arched or flat feet, as well as neutral feet; however, a short stiletto (1.5 inches) should be fine for high arched feet. “As a rule of thumb, I’d say a 2-3 inch wedge heel with a comfortable leather back is the best heel. [for anyone] for everyday wear,” she says.


Having a bit of a feel is better than no heel at all when it comes to foot health, but you want to be sure you’re sticking to mid-height options that measure between 2 and 3 inches tall for maximum stability. For similar reasons, opt for rucksacks and wear wedges if you plan to wear heels for long periods of time, although stilettos are great for special occasions like a wedding.

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