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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Ugly Truth About “Uggs”

In Australia where they were invented, “Ugg Boot” appears in the dictionary with a little footnote: “Derivation: ugly”. Is there any less feminine way to finish off an outfit? In addition to their clunky, sloppy looks, they are just about the worst things you could wear on a day to day basis for walking. We have all seen the girls walking through the mall with their Ugg boots on, their feet practically collapsing into themselves. The rubber is usually worn down completely on both heels and they are dirty as sin. All of us are guilty of buying the latest and the greatest names and what’s the most popular thing to own. In the case of Ugg boots, not only do they come with a high price tag, they also come with a price for your delicate feet to pay.

Ask any Ugg owner what makes her boots so special and you will hear the same words over and over again. “They’re comfy, they’re warm, and they feel so lovely on my feet.” These are the same words you’ll hear from your grandfather after he slips on his new pair of slippers he just picked up at the dollar store. “I am an absolute believer in the the Ugg boot. I don’t use them for the impact or the style, it’s because they are so comfortable and warm”, says Katie Melville, 25, who works for an advertising agency and is now on her 5th pair. Her friend Lexy, a trainee chef, has also been won over by how “practical and comfortable they are”.

Apart from the notion women are supposed to suffer for their fashion (That’s why God invented stilettos), let’s examine the comfort of the things. They may be warm but they sure are not waterproof. “I wore them in the snow last year,” says Lexy. “My feet were soaking and it was a nightmare!” She also admits if it’s not below freezing, her feet are actually “too hot”. Meanwhile Katie says: “On the box it says you should wear them without socks. But if you do they are really quite smelly.” The reason why the Australian manufacturers recommend you don’t wear socks is because Down Under the Ugg boot is NOT worn outdoors. (Hence the lack of waterproofing.)

It was when the Ugg boot arrived in America in 2000 when Oprah Winfrey spent $50,000 buying pairs for her staff of 350 and included them on her Oprah’s Favorite Things show- that it occurred to anyone to wear them in a place where strangers might see them. The fact the Vogue magazine went mad for them- as did Kate Moss- probably explains why they took off so quickly.

What people do not quite understand is that just because Uggs are not stilettos, they absolutely come with their own set of dangers. For one thing, they provide absolutely no support. They do not have a firm heel counter to prevent inversion or eversion. The sole is made of very soft material and does not hold the foot in position during gate. The lack of support can also cause lowering of the arch which can cause tendon strain. In addition, the warm interior is a perfect place for bacteria to breed and spread to your toes and toenails like wildfire, especially if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself submerged in water or a foot of snow.

So next time you’re in Norstrom’s and your considering dropping 2 bills on a pair of Ugg boots you may want to consider the long term affects of your purchase . If the name and style really means that much to you, save them for inside the house.

Monday, January 16, 2012

High Heel Shoes Are Bad News!

Did you know that approximately 3.5 billion dollars are spent each year in the United States for women’s foot surgery? In addition to that enormous cost, the female workforce misses 15 million work days each year because of foot injuries and surgeries. WOW! The BIGGEST culprit in this figure is the high heel shoe. It’s no secret that a high heel shoe can look sexy and stylish, and we are all guilty of wearing them, but what women don’t realize is the long term health consequences they come with. Unlike sore feet, things like bunions and osteoarthritis do not go away over night, and that’s exactly the type of foot problems our 4 inch stilettos come with.

High heels shift your center of gravity forward so that your hips and spine are pushed out of alignment. Altered posture caused by wearing high heels leads to increased pressure on the inside of the knee. Repeated stress in this area dramatically increases the chances of developing osteoarthritis. If you’re in the habit of wearing high heels regularly the Achilles tendon will start to shorten over time. A short, tight Achilles tendon increases the risk of injuries such as Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. The heel elevation also causes the calf muscle to contract. If heels are worn consistently, calf muscles can become short and weak, which promotes injury. The combination of cramped toe boxes and the downward angle of the high heel can cause foot deformities and injuries including bunions, hammertoes, Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Yikes!

If you MUST have your high heels, consider styles that will reduce risk of injury or foot deformities. Get a shoe with a rubber sole instead of leather. They offer extra flexibility and increase your grip on the floor. Also, try to choose a shoe with a wider heel. While it won’t help much to alleviate the stress on your knees, at least you will have a wider base to stand on which will distribute your weight more evenly than a stiletto would. The highest your heels should be is 2 inches. Less is even better, but 2 inches should be your limit. These shoes will give you enough lift to show off your legs and reduce the risk of foot injuries and deformities.

Platforms are a great way to create the illusion of height without all the risk. Because the forefoot is elevated as well, you don’t have such an incline forcing the foot into a very uncomfortable position. Choose heels that allow your toes to lay flat in the shoe such as a round or square toe box. Lastly, only purchase heels that have a thumbs-width of space from the longest toe to the end of the shoe when you are standing.Link