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More than 25% of shoes Americans own are too uncomfortable to wear, Eneslow
Jun '09
When it comes to shoes, men and women alike have been known to suffer for the sake of fashion. But what happens when the pain is just too much? A new national survey by Eneslow, The Foot Comfort Center, finds that millions of Americans, driven by discomfort, relegate shoes they can't wear anymore to the back of their closets or throw them out altogether.

According to the survey, the average American owns 11 pairs of shoes, and almost three in ten (28%) have this much footwear or more lying around.

But unfortunately, more than six in 10 (61%) admit there's at least one pair of shoes in their closets that they don't really wear anymore. On average, three pairs – or more than a quarter of what they own – are going unworn. And a wasteful 11 percent admit to 10 or more unemployed shoes collecting dust in their homes!

“With consumers across the country looking for ways to stretch their dollars, it pains me that most Americans not only waste money by buying uncomfortable shoes, but underestimate the damage they can do to their feet,” said Robert S. Schwartz, a Board Certified Pedorthist (C. Ped.) and fourth-generation footwear maven who is president and CEO of Eneslow Pedorthic Enterprises, Inc. “The most important thing is that shoes match feet; feet don't have to accommodate shoes,” he said.

According to the survey, more women than men own up to having shoes they no longer don (67% vs. 55%) – they also own almost three times as many neglected pairs than men do (5 vs. 2).

“Some of these unused shoes taking up valuable closet space could easily be fixed to become wearable again,”said Schwartz, who as a pedorthist specializes in the use of footwear and supportive devices (commonly known as orthotics or arch supports) and other pedorthic devices (compression socks and hosiery, night splints, braces, partial-foot prosthetics, etc) to address conditions which affect the feet and ankles.

When faced with a pair of uncomfortable shoes, less than a quarter (22%) are likely to attempt fixing these shoes themselves with simple items like a heel pad or gel insole. Instead, they prefer to get rid of the shoes altogether, leave them lying around, or even wear them through the pain.

Your Feet Are At Your Mercy
What can happen when you subject your feet to ill-fitting shoes? According to Schwartz, “People can develop chronic conditions like corns on the tops of and in between toes, hammertoes, calluses, ingrown toenails, hallux limitus (pain in the big toe) and hallux rigidus (a rigid big toe). It can also encourage the growth of bunions, swelling and nerve entrapment. Down the road these ailments not only cause men and women to have embarrassingly ugly feet, but may require surgery and seriously affect their quality of life.”

You Don't Need to Sacrifice Fashion for Comfort
Today there are more brands and styles of shoes in all sizes and widths that offer superior quality and fit. They have unique features and benefits like good, firm counters for extra support, high toe boxes, shock-absorbing outsoles, and mild rocker bottoms that make them optimum walking shoes. For women, the optimum heel height is at least one inch. It's worth seeking out the services of a certified pedorthist.

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