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Whether you’re sightseeing on vacation, enjoying a leisurely stroll or on your feet at work, the right shoes can make all the difference. And now that we’re in the midst of summer, cushy sandals and lightweight sneakers are a must for all.
But if you suffer from common foot-related issues like flat feet, plantar fasciitis or bunions, then finding comfortable shoes is your top priority. It’s also tougher to navigate the world os so-called “comfortable” shoes — so we called in a professional to make navigating the shoe aisle a bit easier.
Related Video: A Podiatrist Explains Why Flip-Flops Are Bad For Your Feet
“When it comes to summer shoes or sandals, a lot of them are hard to walk in because they are not connected to the foot,” NYC-based podiatrist, Dr. Emily Splichal, DPM, MS, CES tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She recommends looking for sandals with straps that secure your foot and ankle for extra support, stability and course, comfort. But that’s just the beginning of her shopping checklist.
So, avoid wasting money on sandals and shoes that cause blisters, aches or pinched toes, do your research and take note. Dr. Splichal shared some of her tips for finding the most comfortable shoes, below.
Arch support is key.
It goes without saying, but it’s a reminder to pay close attention to a shoe’s footbed no matter what kind of style you’re shopping for.
“A lot of summer sandals don't have built-in arch support, which you absolutely need, especially if you have flat feet,” says Dr. Splichal.
The podiatrist-founded brand Vionic makes a bunch of shoe styles, from flip-flops to sneakers, with built-in arch support. This pair also has a unique contoured footbed and deep heel cup for all-day comfort.
Shop it: Vionic Keomi Sandals, $129.95, zappos.com
Ankle straps are important.
Dr. Splichal stresses the importance of straps that keep your foot and ankle secure and close to the footbed, no matter what style you opt for.
"You want to make sure that the sandal is connected to the foot because a lot of people tend to curl their toes to hang on to shoes,” she explains. “Which is something you should especially avoid if you have hammer toes.”
"I really like Aetrex — they have built-in arch support and good strapping that connects the sandal to the foot,” she says of her favorite shoe brand.
Shop it: Aetrex Bethany Sandals, $129.95, zappos.com
Avoid really flat sandals.
“Avoid really flat sandals, especially if you suffer from plantar fasciitis,” adds Dr. Splichal. She says to look for a style that has a for a bit of lift (she recommends about a half-inch) to take the pressure off the heel.
Shop it: Aetrex Jillian Quarter Strap Sandals, $109.95, zappos.com
Look out for strap placements.
If your feet are on the wide side or you have bunions, Dr. Splichal says finding the perfect sandal with straps that support — but don’t irritate — is essential.
“Find a sandal with arch support and be mindful of the strap placement since it can be potentially irritating,” she says. “Look for a flip-flop style that has an ankle strap.”
Shop it: Vionic Kirra Sandals, $99.95, zappos.com
Be mindful of the material.
And, if you’re looking for cozy but light summer sneakers, it’s all about breathability. This style has a removable twill-lined footbed and has small cutouts built into the design for a breezy fit.
"If you're wearing a closed-toe shoe in the summer you want to think about the breathability of the material,” says Dr. Splichal. “The wrong material creates a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.”
Shop it: Vionic Kani Sneakers, $129.95, zappos.com
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