There is a constant refrain in the shoe business about the evils of major shoe brands and how their decisions are damaging women’s feet.
The narrative says that generations of women have suffered immeasurable foot damage due to shoe designs that promote style and beauty over health. These decisions, the narrative holds, have caused millions of older women to suffer from hammertoes, bunions, crooked toes, flat feet, corns, callouses and many other maladies of the feet.
To some extent, that is true. Poor shoe design does lead to preventable injuries and painful chronic conditions. But at some point women have to take responsibility for the choices they make.
Yonex Ladies Court Shoes
A random sample of five Yonex ladies court shoes from our online store.
In our store for example, we help hundreds of women try on shoes every month. Many of these women suffer from one or more of these maladies, so we do not hesitate to offer healthier options. Only a small percentage, however, even consider what we are telling them.
Almost every day of the week we have women in our store who insist on buying court shoes that are too short and too narrow. “But my heel is slipping,” is the most common sign that a woman is about to insist on buying a shoe that is too small.
We advise them that a little bit of movement in the heel of an athletic shoe is normal and healthy. We explain that the only way to get an athletic shoe in which there is no heel movement is to choose a shoe that is too short.
Asics Ladies Court Shoes
A random sample of five Asics ladies court shoes from our online store.
Shoes that have no heel movement — in other words, shoes that are too short — lead to hammertoes, bunions, crooked toes, flat feet, corns, callouses and many other maladies of the feet.
“But I am always a size 7,” some women state emphatically. “I have been a size 7 my whole life.”
In fact, from birth to death, the human foot is in a constant state of change. Our feet change grow longer and wider through childhood. For some people, feet continue growing well into adulthood.
Asics Ladies Court Shoes
A random sample of Babolat ladies court shoes from our online store.
Change continues even for those whose feet do stop growing in their teens. As we age, our feet tend to widen and our arches tend to fall. So nobody can ever truly say that their feet are the same size now as they were more than 20 years ago.
We offer expert fittings in our store for exactly this reason. We want to give all athletes, including female athletes of all ages, an opportunity to buy shoes that will not damage (or further damage) their feet.
Unfortunately, we often feel like our good advice is falling on deaf ears. Many women, it seems, are accustomed to the pain and want to continue experiencing it, even into their golden years, in spite of the fact that there are many healthier options right in front of them.