Women inflict more punishment on their feet in part from improper footwear that can bring about unnecessary foot problems. Some of the problems result from high heeled shoes (generally defined as pumps with heels of more than two inches). Doctors of podiatric medicine believe such heels are medically unsound and attribute postural and even safety problems to their use.
To relieve the abusive effects of high heels, women can limit the time they wear them, alternating with good quality sneakers or flats for part of the day.
They can also vary heel height. There are comfortable and attractive “walking” pumps (also called “comfort” or “performance” pumps) for work and social activities, that blend fashion considerations and comfort. These pumps offer athletic shoe derived construction, reinforced heels, and wider toe room.
Activity has a bearing on the considerations; wearing the right shoe for a particular activity is probably as important a factor in the choice of shoes as any.
Perhaps the best shoe for women is a walking shoe with laces (not a slip-on), a polymerized composition sole, and a relatively wider heel with a rigid and padded heel counter, no more than three-quarters of an inch in height.