Someone asked me about my sandals. “Aren’t you always cold on days like this? I have numb toes right now!” It was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I was wearing split-toe socks about as thick as a regular pair of socks with my sandals.
“No”, I replied. “My feet don’t get that cold anymore.” …And they don’t. My toes no longer go numb since I started wearing sandals year-round from about 2014.
She seemed shocked by this news and told me her toes go numb all the time. She was wearing a pair of pointy-toed shoes with a 2″ heel. I told her that her shoes looked like they are too tight and the heel is too high. She said, “but I can wiggle my toes, and wouldn’t the blood go downward into the toes because they point downward?” I told her it doesn’t quite work like that, but I failed to give her a better explanation. I didn’t know how to explain to someone so tied to her heels and pointy toes that her shoes are hurting her feet. I really love this person too and I wanted to be able to help her understand, but I knew that there isn’t much I could say that would have any effect. I want to share this story here because I want to help her and other people who might find this information. There is much more work to be done to change the health of feet for the vast majority of shoe-wearing societies.
Let’s say this is an example of your shoe (see figure 1). With every step you take, your foot will follow the direction of force (purple arrows). The only thing keeping your toes from sliding into the front of the shoe is the top part of the shoe (the laced part in this picture). You may not be aware of it because you’ve spent so much time in shoes like these, but without the lace portion of the shoe, your toes will slide further down and crunch up at the toe.
You don’t need to wear sandals all the time to increase circulation to your toes. Many people are in jobs that require them to wear shoes. But, you shouldn’t need to wear heals unless you’re a model, and if you’re a model, you’re probably not wearing them around the clock, so take them off as much as you can, and exercise your feet to prevent circulation issues.