Most parents and professional cleaners have a legitimate reason for wanting to keep outdoor shoes, well, outdoors, and that has to do with keeping the soles of our shoes from tracking dirt and grime, toxins like pesticides and industrial pollution, and traces of both human and animal waste into our homes. Outdoor shoes are even known to offer free passes to bacteria that can cause health issues, although that risk could be slightly exaggerated, according to The New York Times.
The habit of keeping outdoor shoes outside may be a cultural thing — the practice is seen in households across Asia and the Middle East (via The New York Times) — but that doesn’t mean podiatrists have bought into it. And its not because they aren’t concerned about having us invite germs and grime into the house. Rather, it’s because they have concerns about our tendency to go barefoot indoors which, to them, is a no-no.
Our feet can't deal with hard surfaces
One podiatrist said our feet were actually naturally designed for walking on softer, natural surfaces (think sand and soil), not polished hard ones, so we may be damaging our feet by traipsing around our houses without any shoes on. Foot doctor Phil Vasyli told Reader’s Digest (via The Healthy), “Our footprint allows the natural ground to accommodate the contours of our feet.” He explained, “The softer ground gives way to our heel at foot strike, allowing the outside of the foot to sink into the surface, which correspondingly supports the inside of our foot and the collapse of our arch.”
When this happens, we open ourselves up to foot problems that include bunions, hammertoes, shin splints, and Achilles tendonitis, as noted by Metro. Unfortunately, having carpets, wearing thick socks, and donning comfy slippers are of little to no help as well (via PureWow).
Doctors say that even when you’re looking for good indoor shoes, you need to look for a pair that provides good arch support, particularly if you already suffer from a foot condition, such as weak arches or bunions (via PureWow).
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