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Why everyone should own at least one pair of trainers.

Written by Mrs. Heidi McCarthy

This is my prescription for pretty much everyone who has a job or hobby where they walk or stand, whether or not they have a foot/leg/back problem. It is the best prescription for anyone wearing foot orthoses or insoles. And the perfect shoe that fit these criteria is the running trainer.


Warning: I will repeat myself a little bit from the post on why I dislike ballet flats.


A lace or Velcro fasten up ensure the foot stays on your foot well, minimising pressure on the front of the foot, and if you’re wearing insoles, holds the foot onto the insoles. You can also get this from other lace up shoes. The secret to why trainers are so good for you all lie in the sole: The sturdy sole has varying degrees of cushioning. Most people’s feet and ankles can deal with the shock absorption of standing and walking, but a cushioned sole is comfortable when standing and walking, and protects your foot against sharp and wet stuff. The small heel aligns the subtalar joint in a functional position, and improves foot and overall posture. But I’ve saved the best for last- the rockered front bit of the trainer is excellent for gaining a smooth rollover gait and is brilliant for anyone with any forefoot problems- think bunions, hammer toes, stress fractures. You can also find this rocker effect in walking/hiking boots, which are generally stiffer than trainers and also a good option. And waterproof if you’re working outside. If you need to wear steel toe caps, there are some good models around with a trainer style sole.


But I need to look smart for work, and uniform policy states I can’t wear trainers. If you stand or walk all day in work your boss should allow you to wear comfortable shoes. Especially if you have a foot/leg/back condition. Actually, especially to prevent these. If you have to wear black shoes to work, can you wear black trainers? Can you wear trainers while you walk/commute or most of the day, and put fancier shoes on when seeing clients/doing presentations? To be blunt, sometimes it comes down to a choice of sore feet or comfy shoes, and only you can make that choice. Anyway, your boss might prefer you to wear trainers than to be off sick.


I can’t wear trainers when it’s hot.


I do. Every day. Even in the heatwave last summer. I have to have my toes covered, that’s the only specification I need to follow about my footwear. It’s a hospital thing. It’s also more comfortable for kneeling and scrabbling round on floors with kids. And walking miles in hospital corridors. I make sure I get trainers with a mesh front. I have two pairs so I can alternate. I sometimes change my socks halfway through the day. If you really can’t bear to have your feet enclosed, try a pair of hiking sandals. They are basically hiking shoes with cut-out bits, and much cooler. Or you can get sandals with your orthotic prescription built in. I have to declare a commercial interest here-Custom made Birkenstock and Place sandals are available right her at the Victoria Park Clinic, there are some new styles coming for next summer, contact us if you’re interested.


I have heard that trainers are bad for my feet. I really don’t know where this comes from. Maybe they were made from thick plasticky leather before?


There are so many different trainers to choose from. And they are really expensive. You do NOT need to buy a £150 pair of trainers for everyday walking and standing (or most sporting activities, more on that in a later post). I get my trainers from www. Sportsshoes.com ( I have no commercial interest in this company, I just like their selection and no-fuss customer service). I normally make sure my online search only includes trainers that are less than £50. You may need to do a little testing to find a make that sits nice on your foot, like with any shoe. I usually buy the same make again and again.


Really, I have to wear trainers every day for the rest of my life? No. Most people really don’t. For smart, wear killer heels, courts, ballet flats, flip flops, kitten heels, small heels, converse, hi tops, Cuban heels, slip ons, UGGS etc….. All of these shoes are bad for you in one way or another, but everything in moderation, right? For everyday use at work or play, it’s all about looking after your feet, and for most people this can be achieved in trainers.

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  • BSc Honours Degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics
  • BSc First Class Honours Degree in Health, Exercise and Sports Science.

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