Just because ballet flats are all the rage doesn’t mean that your feet can handle these very flat, unsupportive shoes. For so many years women have been told to avoid high, high heels. And many have heeded the call by opting for a flat shoe. Unfortunately these flat, flat shoes can cause a significant number of foot and postural problems.

So what’s wrong with these cute, trendy shoes?
If you’re young and have perfect feet you may not notice a problem with them. But many people will. Wearing flat shoes with no arch support or lift in the heel can cause the plantar fascia (the band of tissue that starts at the heel, cuts across your arch, and inserts into the base of your toes) to overstretch causing heel pain.

How do you know whether ballet flats will be problematic?

Flat feet are the best indicator that you'll have problems with ballet flats. To determine your foot type, wet the sole of your foot. Step onto a blank piece of paper or a shopping bag. Step off the paper or shopping bag to examine the shape of your footprint and compare it to the photo to the right. If it turns out your feet are flat then you'll want to avoid these trendy shoes. People with flat feet are more likely to develop heel pain and flat shoes will only increase the risk due to overstretching of the plantar fascia. These shoes will relax the pull on the plantar fascia and in addition, relax the calf muscle which connects to the plantar fascia.

But what if I still want to be trendy?

You can still be trendy and prevent foot problems if you know the right shoes to buy.  Buy flat shoes that have some arch support such as the Rockport Cobb Hill Mary Jane Flat.

However, if you’re going to wear a regular ballet flat here are some recommendations:

  • Wear them sparingly; if you have an office job and you’re not constantly on your feet you’ll probably be fine. But if you work in sales or are constantly on your feet you’re just asking for trouble.
  • If you walk to work or long distances, wear tennis shoes or another supportive low heeled shoe, not ballet flats.
  • Alternate between ballet flats and other shoes with a slight heel.


If you’re experiencing foot pain as a result of wearing flat or unsupportive shoes, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about foot and ankle problems, download our eBook, "No More Foot Pain". In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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