There are plenty of similarities and differences between Americans and Canadians. Perhaps the most striking difference I’ve noticed is that while Canadians tend to remove their shoes indoors, Americans do not.
Who knows why. Feet and footwear, outside of style, are often easily overlooked. But your feet are “the gateway to mobility” and need to be taken care of.
Footwear can play a big role in foot health and mobility. The shoes you wear most often can add support to the bones in your feet, while also impacting your knees and back. By the same token, they can take that support away and promote joint pain.
With many people spending more time indoors than ever, it begs the question: should you be wearing shoes?
The jury is out. Some suggest if you’re spending more time walking on hard surfaces indoors, you should be supporting your feet and joints with well-fitting shoes.
Ideally, your sneakers should have a wide and roomy toe area. The heel should be sturdy and the sole should be wide and flexible. As far as fit goes, you want about a half-inch between the end of your shoe and your longest toe.
But do you need to wear them all day every day? Probably not. Some experts warn against wearing shoes inside all day. The reasoning is that it can reduce control over foot positioning, impede ankle range of motion, and contribute to weaker muscles.
Of course, you don’t want to be walking around barefoot all day, either. This is especially true if you have flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or stomp hard. Also, if you have floors with little give, like concrete or tile, it could lead to pain, as well. And if you have cuts on your feet, dirty floors can lead to infections.
So perhaps the best idea is to spend some time in a pair of comfortable, well-fitted and supportive indoor shoes, while also allowing your feet to breathe, as well. Indoor-only shoes are recommended to keep your floors clean and limit bacteria.
Taking care of your feet is a great way to prevent joint pain, encourage mobility, and promote a higher quality of life. Of course, footwear isn’t the only component of healthy feet, but it’s a great place to start.