The gift of pregnancy comes with many changes in a woman’s body of which the foot is one of them. Foot health in pregnancy is often overlooked even though the feet carries much of the weight day in day out. Hormones loosen the foot ligaments. The added weight shifts a woman’s centre of gravity and elevates pressure on the knees and feet. The body arches lower as a result. As a result, on top of swelling in volume, the foot increases in length and width. Some women increase half a size in the course of pregnancy.
Here’s some options and tips when looking for shoes to console those pregnant feet.
Athletic Shoes & Sneakers
These are versatile for on the go moves and widely available. Athletic shoes with rubber soles absorb shock and go easy on the knees and back. Some shoes come with laces and stretch panels which are perfect for that customised fit as the feet grows. There are even slip-ons which are oh-so-convenient for the third trimester. Look for uppers with mesh, canvas or leather for good ventilation. Brands such as Keds, Skechers, Converse and the like can be found in most sport stores.
With an open design, sandals provide the space for expansion of the feet without squeezing or pinching them. Flat sandals are a better choice then those with heels. Avoid flip-flops and complicated buckles.
Birkenstock carries comfort enhancement features in its shoes and sandals, such as raised toe bars, deep heel cups and arch support. These help the weight of the body to be borne by the correct bones and align the spine and legs. Depending on the style, some have adjustable straps which can be customised according to the feet. Clarks Women’s also carry casual sandals with a padded footbed, secure fit and easy slip-on. Enquire in-store for more information.
Although these do not provide much arch or ankle support, they are easy to wear and easy to walk in. When buying flats, walk around for a while in the flats you are trying. Flats with soft leather or fabric will provide a better conformed fit.
An increasingly popular shoe choice for work and casual wear, loafers come flat or low heels which can go with any outfit. The Lacoste Courcelle Loafer features added traction due to its leather, grippy outsole. Part of the Spring/Summer 2013 collection, they are available in blue and dark brown retailing at $189. Available in major sports stores.
Maternity Designed Footwear
Pregnancy footwear is designed to provide added support to the heel and arch. They also help to encourage good posture therefore alleviating pressure from the feet and back. For these exclusive lines, many are available from overseas and some ship worldwide. Such brands include the ShoeTherapy collection by Seraphine (www.seraphine.com) as well as Casa Couture (www.casacouture.com). Casa Couture is an innovative luxury line which ensures the mother-to-be retains her style with fashionable and drool-worthy shoes.
Certain women shoe models boast special wide feature to cater to swelling feet. The best selling model is “Mr Softee”, it has the diamond flex soles which besides being anti-slip, functions to distribute friction off the feet to improve ease of movement. The soft inner lining provides good comfort and protects the feet from abrasion. “Mr Softee” retails at $148-$158. Due to its popularity, Aerosoles is also available in major healthcare institutions such as Changi General Hospital, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Alexandra Hospital, KK Hospital.
Inserts, gel cushions, compression hosiery are accessories that can enhance your normal footwear. Compression hosiery prevents development of varicose veins and together with inserts alleviates aches and fatigue in the legs and feet. Gel cushions function to deter the burning pain that may develop in the balls of the feet. Some of these accessories can be found from Scholls. High heels insoles are at $6.50 while Party Feet gel cushions are at $10.50.
Shoe shopping tips:
- Look for shoes with low wide heels which provide a good stable base, preferably 2 inches or lower.
- Good traction to prevent slips
- Not too tight to prevent muscles weakening in ball of foot. There should be a finger’s breadth between the tip of the shoe and your big toe.
- Not all flat shoes provide good ankle support. Walk around and if your foot lifts out, there is insufficient support.
- Canvas, leather and suede footwear are more breathable and stretchable as compared to vinyl.
- Look for shoes after you have been walking around for a while, when your feet may have swelled. This will allow a better fit when you shop.
By Som Yew Ya