By Corrie Pikul
From safe shoes to Freddy Kruegers of footwear, a surgeon helps us saunter through summer without getting hurt or looking lame.
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Photo: ThinkstockEuropean Cork Sandals
Danger ranking: 2. "They feel wonderful for four to five hours of sitting or standing," says Hillary Brenner, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in New York. "But walking in these can put pressure on the ankles, knees and hips. Even though they have arch support, they don't have enough for long journeys."
Best for: Camp counseling; pointing out constellations in the night sky
Doctor's note: "Break them in by wearing them around your home so you know how they feel before you wear them outside."
Danger ranking: 2. "These saved my life when I was a resident. But while they're great for standing, they're a little too unstable for distance walking."
Best for: Swaying at a mellow concert; preparing hors d'oeuvres for a party
Avoid: Sightseeing around Europe
Doctor's note: "If you're going to be doing a lot of walking, your best bet really is a pair of stylish athletic sneakers."
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Danger ranking: 3. "Wedges add height, and I personally feel more stable in wedges than in heels or platforms. The back of the shoe shouldn't be much higher than the front."
Best for: Getting around the office on "Summer Monday-Thursdays"; standing during a speech or a toast
Avoid: Rushing to catch a flight
Doctor's note: "Cork and raffia soles offer better shock absorption. Wood is very rigid, which can cause your foot to overcompensate. This can lead to instability and extra pressure on the knees and hips. With wooden sandals, look for a rubberized sole that helps with shock absorption."
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Photo: Getty ImagesEspadrilles
Danger ranking: 3. "A bit of a wedge is better than a completely flat espadrille because it offers a little more support. And the rope soles can provide more of a lift than thin ones. These are good for light activity-walking or standing in moderation-but not much more than that."
Best for: Family reunions; picnicking in the park
Avoid: Energetic frolicking (especially in the rain)
Doctor's note: "The fabric would be more comfortable for those with calluses and bunions that are irritated by leather straps and hardware."
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Photo: ThinkstockCasual Flat Sandals
Danger ranking: 3. "Avoid sandals without arch support, straps that rub and cause blisters, cardboard-thin soles that don't offer any shock absorption and could eventually cause stress fractures. When we walk, we put two to three times the amount of body weight on our feet, so you need shoes that can absorb that shock."
Best for: Addressing individual quirks. "Thong-style sandals can be better for people with wider feet, calluses or bunions, as there's more room in the forefoot. The ankle strap of gladiator-style sandals could help slightly with stability, but these sandals often lack arch and heel support. To avoid blisters on the ankle or top of the foot caused by rubbing straps, keep those areas well moisturized."
Avoid: Running through amusement parks
Doctor's note: "Worishofer sandals were designed by a podiatrist, and the cork sole provides good shock absorption. Also check out MooShoes.com, a retailer that sells shoes made from vegan, cruelty-free materials, like faux leather and satin that tend to be softer on feet."
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