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The new year is here! People everywhere are saying, “Out with the old, in with the new!"

January 17, 2019 By Writer Featured Products
Dr. Cairns shares her expert opinion

This is especially true in fashion circles. And like a lot of fashion lovers out there, the SAS team is excited to see what trends 2019 has in store! In fact, we’re looking forward to doing some trendsetting of our own.

That being said, we here at SAS know it’s important to exercise a little caution when adding new items to your closet – particularly when it comes to shoes. Certain shoe styles can actually be detrimental to your foot health, according to podiatrist Dr. Shannon Cairns.

Representatives from SAS recently sat down with Dr. Cairns to get her expert opinion on what causes foot pain, as well as which shoe features and styles are good for you – and which are NOT.

Dr. Cairns explained that foot type is hereditary, and consequently so are many foot-related health issues such as heel pain, ingrown toenails, bunions, and hammertoes.

She said, “Poor shoe choices are not going to necessarily cause foot problems, but [good choices] can help to prevent pain [caused by an] unfavorable foot type.”

"Wearing a well-constructed shoe with a supportive arch can put the foot in a more neutral and stable position when walking," Dr. Cairns continued, "which can prevent the progression of certain foot deformities over time."

Dr. Cairns cautioned against wearing certain shoe types. "There are a lot of ballet flats or flat sneakers that you can basically fold in half in your hand. This is not going to give your foot any kind of support or stable surface."

She recommended shoe types as well, stating certain features can help prevent the appearance and progression of foot pain in various walking/standing situations. We’ve summarized her advice in the chart below. And because SAS focuses on the comfort and wellbeing (as well as style) of our customers, we were also able to include some SAS shoe styles that follow the doctor’s advice to a tee!

Scenario: Travel
Dr. Cairn's Recommendation: Supportive athletic shoe
SAS Style Recommendations for Women: Sporty, FT Mesh, Walk Easy, Tour Mesh, TMV, Marnie, Tour, Free Time, Traveler, Me Too, Step Out
SAS Style Recommendations for Men: Venture, JV Mesh, Time Out, Journey Mesh, Journey, VTO


Scenario: Cold Weather
Dr. Cairn's Recommendation: Well-constructed boots (1 to 2-inch heel is fine, but nothing bigger than that)
SAS Style Recommendations for Women: Gretchen, Jade, Alpine, Delaney, Maddy, Duchess, Dylan
SAS Style Recommendation for Men: Statesman


Scenario: Formal Occasions
Dr. Cairn's Recommendation: Stable arch and sturdy heel counter to support your arch and prevent ankle instability
SAS Style Recommendations for Women: Milano, Isabel, Viviana, Piera, Luxe, Moxie, Lena, Gia, Scenic, Linette, Scarlett, Lucia, Eleanor, Cate, Sonyo, Francessa, Reina, Sofia USA, Lacey, Elaine, Sofia, Regina USA
SAS Style Recommendations for Men: Ambassador, Aden, Diplomat, Penny 40, Statesman, Venetian, Imperial, Ace


Scenario: Standing for Hours at a Time
Dr. Cairn's Recommendation: Shoe with rigid support in the arch, and cushion in the heel to prevent extra pressure on your already tired feet
SAS Style Recommendations for Women: Clog SR, Patriot, Liberty, Alpine, Siesta, Traveler, Classic, Bounce
SAS Style Recommendations for Men: Guardian, Navigator, 'Bout Time, Time Out

Dr. Cairns said, “It's often true that if a patient starts regular use of well-constructed, high quality shoes and inserts at a young age, they can prevent many foot issues and improve their quality of life well into their later years.”

SAS is proud to provide our customers with a variety of quality shoes and inserts to choose from.

“Hopefully shoe designers like SAS Shoes,” Dr. Cairns continued, “will continue to focus on foot health while also adding an element of style.”

SAS has focused on health AND style for more than 40 years, and we certainly have no plans to change that in the years to come! –

Keep reading to see our complete interview with Podiatrist Dr. Shannon Cairns.

PODIATRIST DR. SHANNON CAIRNS ANSWERS QUESTIONS ON COMMON FOOT AILMENTS AND SHARES SHOE STYLES THAT MAY HELP ALEVIATE PAIN

What are the most common foot complaints and ailments people come to see you about? We see a variety of foot complaints. [The variation] is one thing I really enjoy about the profession, but the most common are probably heel pain, ingrown toenails, and bunions and hammertoes.

What better shoe choices can people make to prevent these foot ailments? Most people do not realize that foot type is hereditary, and so to an extent you might be destined to have conditions like bunions or ingrown toenails. Poor shoe choices are not going to necessarily cause foot problems, but [good choices] can help to prevent pain due to an unfavorable foot type. Wearing a well-constructed shoe with a supportive arch can put the foot in a more neutral and stable position when walking, which can prevent the progression of certain foot deformities over time.

"Fast fashion" has provided a lot of badly made shoe options. How do poorly constructed shoes affect your feet? People with flat feet – or even abnormally high arches – can bring about pain and progressive foot changes by selecting a shoe that has poor support. There are a lot of ballet flats or flat sneakers that you can basically fold in half in your hand. This is not going to give your foot any kind of support or stable surface. Your foot is supporting your entire body as you go about your day, and so you want your feet to be protected by shoes that encourage excellent foot position and stability.

What are some easily preventable foot ailments? Plantar Fasciitis, or heel pain, is one of the most common ailments we see in our office. It is also one of the easiest to prevent and get rid of with conservative treatment. The majority of patients presenting with heel pain will improve with simple lifestyle changes such as stretching, and the use of better shoes and inserts.

Are shoes and lifestyle choices a big part of these ailments? Yes. Many patients notice heel pain if they have been inactive and start a new fitness routine, or they have been wearing the same pair of athletic shoes for several years, or they are required to wear high heels or another poorly constructed shoe type to work.

The Holiday Season is upon us and people are traveling all over the world, what are your suggestions for the shoes people should wear while they are in transit? What other shoes do you suggest for their suitcase? The best shoe to wear when speed walking through a busy airport, or from store to store shopping for gifts, would be a supportive athletic shoe. If you are traveling to somewhere cold, make sure to pack well-constructed boots. It's okay for them to have a slight heel, but nothing over 1-2 inches and be sure to change back to tennis shoes if you will be doing a lot of walking. If you will need dress shoes, again, select a shoe with a stable arch and sturdy heel counter to support your arch and prevent ankle instability.

What style of shoe would you recommend for people who stand a lot for work? If you have to stand for several hours, you may begin to complain of arch pain, or even ball of foot pain, or heel numbness. Select a shoe with rigid support in the arch, and cushion in the heel to prevent extra pressure on your already tired feet.

Would you agree that people should invest more thought and budget into the shoes they buy? Absolutely. You need your feet your whole life! I see patients as young as 50 that begin to need to slow down their active lifestyle due to a worsening bunion or debilitating heel or arch pain. It's often true that if a patient starts regular use of well-constructed, high quality shoes and inserts at a young age, they can prevent many foot issues and improve their quality of life well into their later years.

Do you think there are advantages to investing in handmade shoes versus mass-produced shoes? Yes. With handmade shoes you can be reassured of the quality, and attention to detail that is required of something that will be responsible for carrying around your entire body all day long. Mass produced shoes just don't offer that specialized touch.

According to a recent NPD report, younger generations are driving the trend of casual and athleisure shoes while high heels have dropped in sales by double digits. Have you noted this trend and if so why do you attribute it to? Yes, I have definitely noticed and experienced a more casual approach to workplace attire. People want to be comfortable and are taking a special interest in health and wellness, including their feet!

A well-known high-heel designer was once quoted as saying, "The core of my work is dedicated not to pleasing women but to pleasing men". What is the first thing that pops in your mind when you hear that? Oh so many things! I picture an office environment like the one in "Mad Men". Luckily, women have come a long way from skirts and high heels being the only acceptable work place attire. Hopefully shoe designers, like SAS Shoes, will continue to focus on foot health while also adding an element of style.

Board Certified Podiatric Physician and Surgeon Dr. Shannon Cairns, DPM, FACFAOM co-founded Toe-Tal Foot and Ankle care with her husband Dr. Daniel Cairns. She is the author of popular blog The Freckled Foot Doc where she writes about money, medicine and motherhood.