Editor’s Note: This post has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy on May 2022 and reflects up-to-date information on Xero shoes VS supportive shoes for women with foot pain.
Have you been experiencing foot and leg pain lately? Are you experiencing pain around your heels, middle, side or top part of your feet? There has been a lot of controversy over whether women should wear shoes that provide minimal support that imitate barefoot walking (Xero shoes) versus supportive shoes.
Some studies show that women should wear Xero shoes while some others are in favor of women wearing supportive shoes. I have read both sides and agree that there is great value and benefits of natural movement in truly minimalist footwear. However, when women are experiencing foot or leg pain they must stay away from Xero or minimalist shoes, as this can further aggravate the issue.
I have been fitting women’s shoes for the last 10 years and I can tell you that when women experience foot or leg pain “more” is better than “less”. I have seen that 90% of the time a woman’s foot pain was significantly reduced or fully eliminated by wearing sportive shoes.
I specialize in helping women with “complicated” foot shapes as well as foot and leg problems. I have helped hundreds of women with foot pain find the correct pair of shoes for their feet, and I believe I can help you too.
The 4 most common reasons why women experience foot pain sorted from most common to least common are:
- Wearing shoes that are the wrong size
- Wearing unsupportive shoes
- Being flat-footed
- Having rolled ankles
First Things First – Are You 100% Sure of Your Exact Foot Size?
Before we move any forward and start discussing what type of footwear is best for your feet, I want to make sure that you know your exact foot size. It doesn’t matter if you are wearing minimalist or supportive shoes, if the shoes are not the right size, you simply won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer!
Did you know that several studies show 35% of women are wearing the wrong shoe size? I have noticed that most women that come to the store I work for are wearing shoes that are either too short or too narrow.
When was the last time you had your foot measured to check your shoe size? Your foot shape and size can change over time, and some of the factors that contribute to this change are pregnancy, aging and weight gain or loss. Over time and because of gravity, our feet will get longer and wider.
Wearing the wrong shoe size can affect both your walking gait and overall posture. My goal is to raise awareness so women don’t develop foot issues from wearing the wrong shoe size. Hopefully now you are thinking of having your feet resized.
The issue now is that most shoe stores have been closing down. If you live in an area where you can’t have your feet properly measured, I suggest that you take a look at a different article I wrote where I describe how to figure your exact foot size and shape from home:
Xero VS Supportive Shoes for Women with Foot Pain? – Which One is Best?
Let me start by saying that every single foot is different, and what might work for several women, might not work as well for others. I have spoken with women who swear by minimalist shoes, while some others can’t stand wearing them and vice versa.
In my experience, supportive shoes are way more effective than minimalist shoes when it comes to treating and preventing foot pain. In fact, most women who come to the shoe store complaining about foot pain are either wearing shoes in the wrong shoe size or shoes that are too flimsy and unsupportive.
I have seen how supportive shoes can help treat your foot pain and improve your walking gait and overall posture at the same time. However, don’t take my word for it, let me prove it to you!
Supportive VS Xero Shoes for Women with Foot Pain!
Let’s first take a look at an image of a woman standing barefoot. The woman has a low arch and rolled ankles so her feet are collapsing and turning inwards. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:
Now let’s take a look at an image of the same woman wearing a pair of unsupportive shoes. Do you notice how her feet are straighter but they are still collapsing and turning inwards?
The third image shows the same woman wearing one of the supportive shoes I recommend. Do you notice how her feet are a lot straighter? What a difference the correct pair of shoes can make!
What are the Best Shoes for Women with Foot Pain?
The shoes I recommend for women with foot pain provide 2 key features that will help support your feet and minimize the impact that your feet take when they come in contact with the ground:
☑️ Substantial Outsole
☑️ Targeted Heel and Ankle Support
The shoes need to be lightweight and flexible at the same time. Keep in mind that your shoes should always bend at the ball of the foot but no further.
If you believe you can benefit from wearing a pair of supportive shoes you can find below a list of the most popular ones that I have fitted before.
These shoes are available in different widths such as narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. Look at the description below each shoe to check whether is capable of fitting the shape of your feet. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
What Shoe Size Should You Order?
Take a look at the description below the shoes that I recommended to find out what shoe size you should order.
Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?
Do not hesitate to contact me if you are looking for a different pair of shoes to help treat and prevent your foot pain:
Let us know in the comment section below whether you prefer Xero Shoes over supportive shoes or vice versa. I am sure other women will find your experiences helpful.