The shoes we wear can either help prevent back pain, or contribute to it. Supportive shoes consist of structural support for your entire foot, ankle and arch support, and provide a good level of padding in the soles to absorb the shock of each step and protect your joints. Improper footwear, on the other hand, can cause your foot to land flat with each step, or cause you to stand in pronated positions (inward motion of the foot), both of which can strain the hard and soft tissues in your feet and cause you to walk awkwardly.

When it comes down to it, your shoes really should support your spine. A good pair of shoes will provide a supportive foundation for optimal spinal alignment while cushioning the joints in your hips, knees, ankles, and feet. That being said, here are the worst kinds of shoes that people who suffer from back should avoid. Even if you don’t have persistent back pain, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that wearing these shoes may contribute to the onset of back pain at some point.

The Worst Shoes To Wear When You Have Back Pain


Flat shoes such as Vans®, Converse®, and different kinds of flat dress shoes for both men and women provide little-to-no arch support for your feet. As a result, there is nothing to help absorb or redistribute the shock of your full body weight coming down on each foot. People who wear flat shoes regularly often develop what is known as “flat feet” where the arch is nearly nonexistent and the entirety of the foot flattens against the ground.

Flat foot can make the ankles and knees work harder to absorb some of the pressure placed on the feet, which can cause your spinal posture to shift and fall out of alignment.

Flip Flops

Now that we’re coming into summer, many people in Littleton have already begun wearing the shoes we love to hate: flip flops. These summertime staples are typically flat, made from a thin, flimsy material, and don’t provide your foot structure any support. Additionally, to keep these shoes on, you have to flex your toes, which can cause the muscles in your legs, hips, and back to work harder.  

Old Athletic Shoes

Many people will wear their running and athletic shoes into the ground, which can be bad news for your back. When the supportive cushions and padding that make up your shoe wear away, it can cause a collapse in your arches which often leads to over-pronation or hyper-pronation. This affects your stance when walking, running, or standing, and can trigger a misalignment to develop in the spine.

Contact Your Littleton Chiropractor

If you experience back pain and think it may be aggravated by the shoes you wear, contact Arne Wellness Center to schedule a consultation with your trusted Littleton chiropractor. We can measure your leg length to determine where the postural imbalance is occurring and devise a treatment plan to realign your spine and reduce strain. Additionally, orthotics and foot inserts can help correct back issues caused or aggravated by wearing improper footwear. Call us today to get started!