It can be hard to pinpoint what’s causing back pain. It can be from muscle strain, ruptured discs, or lack of exercise. But people rarely suspect their shoes. How can something you wear on your feet affect your back? However, shoes have more impact on spine health than you think.

Shoes aren’t just a fashion statement. They should provide ample comfort and support too. Otherwise, they can cause back pain and other spinal problems. To help you, here are all the ways your shoes can affect your back. That way, you can be more conscious the next time you buy a new pair.

How High Heels and Other Shoe Designs Harm Your Back

Shoes can make a plain outfit stand out. But even though they’re fashionable, some designs can cause significant harm to your spine. Here are the types of shoes that are known to cause back problems:

High Heels

High heels are notorious for causing back pain. They put excessive pressure on the ball of your feet and shorten your calf muscles, altering your gait. They also cause you to overarch your spine and shift your weight forward. These changes in the body can lead to lower back pain and discomfort in the neck and shoulders.

Backless Shoes

Backless shoes can also be the culprit behind back pain. And it doesn’t matter if they’re flats or heels. They don’t offer enough arch support and easily fall off your feet. Because they keep slipping, people tend to scrunch their toes to grip them while they walk. That changes their gait and can lead to back pain.


Flip-flops are the most effortless footwear to slip on. They also earn plus points for being airy. Unfortunately, they don’t provide sufficient support and can lead to ankle and knee pain. In addition, their flat design puts more pressure on the outer parts of your feet than on the heels. These things can alter your gait and put unnecessary strain on your back.

Ballet Flats

Ballet flats are better alternatives to backless shoes and flip-flops. However, you can still suffer from back pain when you wear them. Like flip-flops, they have flat and flimsy soles and provide insufficient arch support.

Finding the Right Shoes to Ease Back Pain

It might sound like the only correct choice in footwear are sneakers. But that’s not the case. There are various ways to wear your favorite shoe style without sacrificing spine health.

The first step is to get shoes in the correct size. Make sure they’re not too small that they scrunch up your feet. They shouldn’t be too big either so that your feet keep sliding forward. In addition, choose shoes that provide the correct level of arch support for your feet. You can also purchase insoles that you can use in various pairs.

You can still wear the heels, flip-flops, and ballet flats you love. But it’s best to alternate them with shoes that offer better support.

The Bottom Line

It may not be obvious, but your shoes play a significant role in spine health. You can prevent back pain and other issues by being mindful of your shoe choices. But if you continue to experience discomfort in your back, it’s time to see a chiropractor. For more information, contact Fletcher Chiropractic at 402-261-5766.