Despite the haters, Crocs have become a staple in the footwear world. The rubbery clog, which hit the market in 2002, comes in virtually every color and style imaginable. From their classic clog to their newer wedges, sneakers and fabric-lined options, the brand is here to stay.
Beloved for their comfort, versatility and even float-ability, they might be a go-to for many, but podiatrists — doctors who specialize in foot health — are not the biggest fans.
“As a podiatrist, I think it’s easy to have a love, hate relationship with Crocs,” said Dr. Chanel Perkins, DPM, also known as the FabFootDoc. “I think they offer appropriate cushion, comfort and great arch support for certain foot types, but at the same time, they lack adequate heel stability which could lead to a slew of foot problems.”
A good quality shoe is a necessity for overall foot health. After all, most of us spend our waking hours in shoes. Dr. Casey Ann Pidich, an associate doctor at Park Avenue Podiatric Care in New York City and owner of shoe and foot wellness blog, doctorglassslipper.com says a healthy shoe should be breathable and easy to walk in. “They should have both an arch support and a sole made of rubber, foam, gel, cork, or something similar, for shock absorption,” she said.
Podiatrists agree that Crocs aren’t necessarily the best option on the market, but they are a great option for anyone recovering from a foot surgery. They also offer a wide toe box which is great for people with hammertoes or wide feet, but that’s where the list ends.
“I would never recommend Crocs for all day or everyday wear,” said Dr. Chanel. “Additionally, Crocs should never be worn for athletic activities like hiking or exercising since they do not offer the same type of support as an athletic shoe.”
And while support might be the biggest issue, doctors agree that foot fungus from Crocs is another concern. Since the shoe is made from primarily foam, people who tend to sweat more may develop or worsen their athlete’s foot. Dr. Ebonie Vincent, Board-Certified Foot and Ankle Surgeon and star of TLC’s My Feet Are Killing, says prevention is key when dealing with this issue.
“Crocs do have ventilation holes in their shoes which can greatly help with breathability, but it is important to continuously clean the surface of Crocs and incorporate daily prevention treatments to ensure a fungus does not prevail,” she said.
So, what shoes do doctors recommend if you’re wanting the comfort of a Croc, but with a healthy level of support? Here are some of Dr. Chanel’s recommendations.
Vionic Rechelle – This brand was developed by a Podiatrist. Vionic shoes are actually approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association. This style has a firm arch support and deep heel cup for protection against heel pain.
Brooks Glycerin 17 – This style comes with a built in OrthoLite sock liner which really grips into the arch and mimics the support of athletic taping of the arch, which in turn would help to alleviate heel pain.
New Balance 1540 V3 – The New Balance brand is a favorite among podiatrists when recommending shoes for heel pain. These shoes are wide enough to accommodate an arch support, custom orthotic or heel cup if needed.
Hoka One One Clifton 8 – Hoka shoes are traditionally highly cushioned which helps comfort any painful heel.
According to Crocs website, their shoes are a great option for gardening or lounging. Some shoes even come with deeper soles so orthotic inserts can be worn with the shoe. But before you buy a pair, check with your podiatrist and make sure Crocs are right for you.
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