Ballet Flat Blues

November 4, 2009

They come in all colors, they’re easy to slip on, and they go well with everything from jeans to tights. Plus, they’re comfortingly similar to your beloved ballet slippers. But ballet flats—and other flat shoes, like flip flops—put extra strain on the body parts that dancing already overworks, especially when worn for hours on paved streets and sidewalks. Doctors, podiatrists, and physical therapists have found that the lack of arch support can lead to overuse injuries, including heel, knee, and back pain, and strained Achilles tendons. So instead of scoping out the cutest flats on your next shopping trip, look for shoes that provide arch support and a spacious toe box, like well-fitting sneakers or Dansko clogs. These styles may not be as dainty and feminine as ballet flats, but they’ll help you maintain a healthy and happy body.