NY Times: Men are Better Than Women… At Choosing Footwear

09/30/2009 12:06 PM |


This so weird, you guys. Seriously, I woke up this morning, and even before getting out of bed, I was like, “Hmm… when it comes to deciding what pair of shoes to wear on a given day, which gender tends to make the best decisions in terms of how the chosen pair of shoes will lower the person’s risk of suffering from foot pain later on in life?” And I continued to think about it throughout my entire commute. “Women do seem to like fancy pointy shoes,” I reasoned, “but I also see a lot of men wearing flip-flops, and I can’t imagine they’re very good for your feet.”

I was at my wit’s end by the time I got to work. Because, like, I know that lots of women—like Jessica Simpson, for example—wear those Ugg boots, and they seem really comfortable. But I also know lots of men who wear running sneakers, which are famous for their arch support.

It seemed to close to call, really—until I found this Times piece, which answered the very question I had been struggling with all morning! And let me tell you, ladies, the news is not good.

More than 60 percent of women said that in the past they generally wore high heels, pumps, sandals and slippers, all of which researchers rated as higher risk.

Women who wore heels, sandals and slippers were at greatest risk of the most common pain linked to poor choices in shoes, the study found: pain in the hind foot and around the ankle and the Achilles’ tendon.

And don’t think you’re gonna get off without a lecture, people. You need to learn.

“I think women need to really pay attention to how a shoe fits, and realize that what you’re buying could have potential effects on your feet for the rest of your life,” said the paper’s lead author, Alyssa B. Dufour, a doctoral student in biostatistics at Boston University. “It’s important to pay attention to size and width, and not just buy it because it’s cute.”

But what about the men, right? Pffff, turns out we are awesome.

When it comes to shoes, men make much better choices, the study found; fewer than 2 percent wore bad shoes.

So, congratulations, men, on your sensible taste in shoes. And thank you, New York Times, for asking—and answering—all the tough questions.