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Looking for alternative footwear this spring racing seasonLadies, the spring racing season is upon us! Whilst it is the perfect time of year to dress up in our fashion finest and indulge in a little pampering, the aftermath of it all can leave you with mixed the emotions of regret and self-pity. Unfortunately I can’t give you any advice on how to explain the hefty figure on the bank statement from buying that must-have dress, or how to deal with consequences of enjoying a little too much fruity lexia. I can however, give you a few pointers on what to look for in your racing footwear to keep your tootsies happy the whole day through.

Let’s face it, it’s no secret that high heels aren't good for your feet. We all know that they can cause a number of problems including corns, callouses, ankle sprains, Achilles injuries and various forefoot problems. Yet despite it being common knowledge that heels aren't exactly podiatrically approved, women (including myself) continue to wear them.

As a podiatrist, I encourage my patients to wear supportive shoes and whilst I am thrilled that wearing fitness gear as every day clothing is becoming socially and fashionably acceptable, I also understand that attempting to rock those incredible pink Asics with a cocktail dress is simply not going to work! As such, I've put together a few suggestions of what to look for when picking out your racing footwear.


  1. Choose wedges over stilettos: The benefits of choosing a wedge shoe over stilettos are not to be overlooked. Not only will it stop you from sinking into the grass but the wider surface area at the base of the shoe will increase your weight distribution and therefore improve stability. 
  2. Opt for a kitten heel over the sky high option: I know that this is common sense ladies, but definitely worth mentioning. A smaller heel reduces the pressure relocation occurring at the balls of the feet as well as decreasing Achilles tendon shortening. The bonus is that kitten heels are very on trend at the moment and there are so many gorgeous options out in stores. 
  3. Get a shoe with a strap or some form of fixation: Whether it’s a strap or boot style, having something to hold the shoe to your foot is a great addition to any footwear. This handy feature means that there is no need to claw the toes in order to keep the shoes on and there is no worry about your heel slipping out and causing problems. 
  4. Avoid platforms: For many ladies lacking in the height department it is very tempting to choose a shoe with a platform to give the illusion of a taller stature. The problem with this is that a platform will raise your centre of gravity and decrease stability; and decreased stability equals higher likelihood of falls. 
  5. Stay away from narrow toe shoes: A narrow toed shoe can open you up to the risk of developing all sorts of nasty problems. Blisters, corns and various forefoot problems- ouch! After all, let’s be honest… we all know that no normal foot is naturally that shape so let’s stop trying to squish and force it into that pointy shaped shoe shall we? 
I know we like to think we look like Victoria’s Secret Models when we strut around in those killer heels but lets be honest, for us mere mortals we sadly look very different. A day in those torture devices is more likely to leave us wobbling, stumbling and in agonising pain. It is only after a few hours of endurance that we typically throw our hands in the air in defeat and convince ourselves that we have decided to embrace our ‘inner hippie’ as we ditch the heels and continue with the rest of the event barefoot.

Save yourself the needless pain and instead, try to use some of these tips when you are shopping for your races footwear! After all, by looking after your feet you can enjoy your day at the races classy, comfortable and callous-free!

P.S. If despite all of this you still insist on wearing your sky scraper stilettos to the races there is one last little tip I can offer. Add a pair of Jiffies or Scholl Party Feet Ballet Flats to the secret stash of goodies in your clutch. That way when you decide to give up on the shoes half way through the day, rather than going around bare foot, at least you will have something to wear to protect your feet.

 is a sports podiatrist at Walk On Podiatry Narre Warren and Walk On Podiatry Hastings where she manages sports related and running injuries focusing on preventative strategies.