How to emerge from COVID-19 fitter, stronger and avoid injuries along the way.

Posted by Emily Smith on

With studios, gyms and pools closed and exercise among the few legitimate reasons people are allowed to venture out of the house, you only need to look around at local parks and running tracks to see the spike in people engaging in running-based exercise.  

Whilst our body relies on exercise and movement to maintain metabolic function, postural strength, conditioning and mental health, it is particularly important during this time to employ simple strategies to create a sustainable exercise routine and avoid injury setbacks.

During this time, it is essential that you uplevel your self-management strategies.

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Posted by Emily Smith on

 Photo: @elle_ferguson/@chiaraferragni

So, you wore those show-stopping stilettos over the weekend. Bad decision? Pain-wise, maybe. Your feet now look like elephant’s paws, and you probably feel like you've exposed a raw nerve. However with new evidence confirming the confidence-boosting benefits of high heels, it’s no wonder more than 80% of women “put up with” pain when wearing high heels. It’s not rocket science that high heel elevation of more than 4cm are predisposing factors to musculoskeletal pain and postural changes, however the ill-effects of fashionable flats fly under-the-radar.

Whether it's sneakers, ballet flats or slides, flats can also wreak havoc on your posture - even though they're far more comfortable than heels - as they lack the support and structure of other footwear options. What's more is that these options could also be contributing to back and foot pain, and even affecting your performance at the gym. So with approx. 2.5x your body weight being loaded through your feet every step, we’ve put your pumps, and their effect on your posture, into perspective.

1. Give yourself a lift

When standing in a flat shoe (0-4mm heel elevation from heel to toe) our weight is directed towards the heel, causing compensations of the foot, legs and hips to prevent the body from falling backwards. Common muscular adaptions that can lead to more permanent postural changes include the over activation of our shin muscles, forward flexion of the hips and poor use of our posterior chain (including calf muscles, hamstrings and glutes). Over time this can lead to excessive toe extension, weakening and/or overuse of the calf muscles and tight hip flexors. These subtle changes can effect your yoga practice and gym form let alone contribute to back pain and aching legs.

With ballet flats and canvas topped sneakers notoriously flat, try choosing your fashionable (not-so) flats with a wedge of 8 - 20mm at the heel. Beware of flat shoes that curve to be higher at the toe than at the heel (look at them on a flat table) as they create a negative heel which will exacerbate changes.

2. Sole salute

With many fashionable flats designed with an unforgiving sole (i.e. firm rubber, cork and leather) the shoe is essentially an extension of the hard floors we walk on. So to navigate the modern terrain of concrete and tile, our inbuilt shock-absorbing mechanisms are often exploited, causing muscular and postural changes to occur. On the flip side, shoes that have soles made from really soft material lose their integrity quickly and will often exacerbate poor wear patterns and can lead to overuse injuries of the foot and ankle.

Look for midsoles engineered from moderately dense material i.e. foam or EVA, that bend to approximately 70 degrees under the ball of the foot.

3. Core stability

Although many of the iconic sneakers originated as vintage tennis, basketball and running shoes, take a look inside a fashionable flat shoe and you probably won’t find much in the way of support or stability. How do you know? If you can rotate the sole like you are wringing out a towel, or you can fold them in half, there is a lack of structural integrity. What does this means for your feet and posture inside these contemporary classics? The lack of a shank means our muscles are required to work harder to maintain biomechanical balance and arch support. This can cause arch muscle fatigue leading to collapse of the arch and rotation at the knees. This newly adopted foot posture and knee position can play havoc with your leg stamina, muscle control and ability to box jump and burpie without a pain hangover.

The good news is? A slim line, off-the-shelf well-designed insole (such as the EB flats footbed) can be fit perfectly into a fashionable flat to improve your faves the core stability, cushioning and arch support that they lack.

- Emily Braidwood x

See the article at Body + Soul

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Posted by Emily Smith on

A Cinderella-eque stiletto is the ultimate fairytale shoe story. We all search for it, but rarely find that perfect on-trend gem that fits like a glove, is the perfect heel height AND feels like a dream. {Our bonus tip #1? If you find it.... buy one in every colour!}

In reality, stylistic license usually trumps fit and function, making it difficult to find a staple piece that ticks all the boxes. Knowing your feet (actual size and width), heel height boundaries and trouble spots (boney prominences and commonly rubbed areas) can make ruling shoes in or out a far less painful task for your feet and your purse.

Most of us have one foot slightly bigger and/or wider than the other, so dressing the larger foot is first and foremost. Natural materials (like soft leather or suede) may have some room for error for a wide foot, however seams, or materials such as patent leather or synthetic, will prevent a shoe from stretching. The golden rule? A snug not tight fit is best, ensuring all parts of the foot is carried by the sole of the shoe (yep, no foot overhang ladies).  

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3 High Heel Hacks from a Heel-lovin' Podiatrist

Posted by Emily Smith on

Oh, I know! There was a huge Manolo Blahnik sale but your size was sold out. So, like Cinderella’s prince-hungry step-sister, you squeezed your feet into a pair just half a size smaller. They looked so good on you! And for 50 percent off! Surely that’s a smart buy? 

If you want high heels to be part of your wardrobe repertoire, but don't want to risk months of sporting sensible flats for the privilege - employing these simple tips can ensure comfort and longevity across your shoe-drobe. 

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The scientific reasons why some women shine and some struggle wearing heels.

Posted by Emily Salkavich on


I am a pioneering podiatrist who is passionate about empowering women to be fearless in attitude, effortlessly chic and confident in their heels. My expertise is nested in human mechanics and women’s footwear with a personal mission to make it safer and more comfortable for women to enjoy wearing high heels. Through my blended love of science and fashion, I have uncovered the unknown source of high heel pain and engineered a dynamic insole range that provides luxurious comfort and unique support for all types of women’s footwear. Check out for more information.

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