If you're spending most of your time at home and inside, it would make sense if your footwear preference as of late has been, well, nonexistent. While going barefoot has its benefits (no more lost socks in the washer?), it might not be the best choice when it comes to the health of your joints.
That's because going barefoot for extended periods of time, coupled with any foot issues you have and the stress the ground puts on the foot, can create a "potentially damaging situation" for your feet, explains Rock CJay Positano, DPM and Rock G. Positano, DPM, MSc, MPH — codirectors of the Non-Surgical Foot and Ankle Service at Hospital for Special Surgery.
"In addition, the connection between proper foot support and architecture has a direct influence on biomechanical functioning of the knee, hip, and lower back," they explain. "Quite often, we will hear a patient say that when they are barefoot, they experience knee and lower back pain."
So should you slip on those fuzzy slippers collecting dust in your closet?
Dr. Rock CJay Positano and Dr. Rock G. Positano say that as long as your slippers aren't thong-style sandals, wearing slippers in the house is a good idea because "at worst, they serve as both a protective barrier and shock absorber for your feet, and at best, they do both plus promote foot function and stability."
While something is better than nothing, not all slippers — or shoes in general — are created equal.
For the ultimate protection, you'll want to look for a "supportive" shoe, which is often different than a slipper-type shoe.
"A supportive-type shoe, as a general category, not only absorbs shock and protects the foot but it also keeps your foot in a more favourable position. Generally, a 'supportive' type of shoe would include structural elements such as a firm backing or heel counter in shoe parlance, an upper (or top enclosure) with some kind of lacing, and a firm yet substantial midsole," they explain.
We should add: you might not want to wear the same shoes you wear outside around your home, though.
If you're on the hunt for brands that offer house slippers and supportive shoes, Dr. Rock CJay Positano and Dr. Rock G. Positano suggest checking out Merrell, Spenco, Mephisto, and Rockport.
If you have concerns about what shoes you're wearing around the house and/or foot pain, reach out to your doctor to explain your specific situation and get their personalised advice.