Paper Sneakers May Be Cool, But Are They Good for You?
By Dr. Robyn W. Paloian
September 10, 2014

You may have picked up the paper or read online about the new paper sneakers designed by Peter Weinreb owner of Civic Duty. Reminiscent of Toms shoes with their minimalist, environmental message these shoes are made out of Tyvek-- technically not paper but very lightweight, water resistant, sturdy and breathable. Perfect, perhaps, for a young vegan who shuns leather and has no foot issues.  But will they work for you?

As your local Seattle podiatrist, the answer is: it depends.  Here are some conditions and situations where you’ll probably want to avoid shoes like these.

You suffer from plantar fasciitis or heel pain.  Although they say they’re sturdy, I’ll bet that they aren’t supportive enough if you suffer from plantar fasciitis. If you have heel pain, take my “shoe test” before buying any shoe. Hold the shoe in your hands with the heel in one hand and the toe in the other. The shoe should not twist easily and it should only bend at the ball of the foot.

You plan on doing a lot of walking.  These shoes might be good for the environment, but if you’re planning to do more than the casual walk it’s better to wear a sturdier shoe, particularly if you tend to pronate or supinate (when your arches fall in or roll out).

You have bunions.  You may be thinking, “These soft shoes seem like heaven to me!”  But keep in mind that they likely won’t have the structure to accommodate an orthotic or other padding that may be helpful to offload your bunions.

You have flat feet. Again, they just won’t provide the type of support you need.   If you also have tight calf muscles, walking with ultra-flat shoes and little to no arch support can incite plantar fasciitis.

You have diabetes or neuropathy.  A shoe with a very thin sole or upper (the fabric up and around the foot) cannot offer the foot protection a diabetic patient requires.  Stepping on a sharp or prominent object will more readily cause damage to the skin and soft tissue, potentially leading to an ulcer or infection.   

Come into the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City and we’ll get all your questions answered about the type of shoes that are best for your feet.  If you have any of the conditions above we’d be happy to treat your feet.  Call  us at 206-368-7000 to let us know you’re coming, or request an appointment online.

 

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