"Like ergonomically correct chairs and computer accessories, shoes promise styles with body alignment in mind.
Ergonomically correct shoes have been around for decades. But advertising surges, more fashionable shoe designs and celebrity photos of Debra Messing and Katherine Heigl in their ergos have given this niche footwear a dramatic rise in popularity.
Local foot specialists say there are definite benefits to ergonomically correct shoes, but whether or not they are worth the investment largely depends on the needs of the consumer. The shoes can cost between $50 and $275.
For that, all ergonomically correct shoes simulate the feeling of walking barefoot on soft ground instead of on concrete. And soft ground more closely matches the conditions for which our feet were originally designed.
While technology and designs vary among brands, all ergonomically correct shoes share these five basic goals:
• Properly distribute body weight
• Improve posture and spinal alignment
• Improve balance
• Relieve back pain
• Tone muscles
Here is a primer for ergonomically correct shoe lingo, popular styles and brands.
The Negative Heel
Negative heel technology is a prominent feature of Earth footwear, an eco-friendly shoe brand. The concept is the opposite of high-heels. The heel sits slightly below the level of the toes, leading to increased arch support and better spine alignment.
“A lot of people find them very comfortable,” said Dr. Marlene Reid of the Family Podiatry Center in Naperville." (Continued via Medill Reports, Gina Morgano) [Ergonomics Resources]