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Healthy summer sandals

Cute summer sandals don’t have to mean sore feet and a misaligned body. Follow these tips to find sandals that feel as good as they look, plus check out our top picks

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1. Choose quality over quantity

How to find a healthy summer sandal? Buy smart, says Spiros Marinos of Nick’s Shoe Repair. When looking for a quality summer sandal, be prepared to invest. Look for a sandal made entirely from leather, insoles as well as outsoles. It’s expensive-be prepared to pay upwards of $100-but your feet will thank you.

All-leather Ecco Calcutta sandals, $160
(www.ecco.com for stores)

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2. Find room for your toes

Rounded, square and open-toed shoes all help to prevent toe crowding. Cramped toes can lead to aches, blisters, corns and even bunions. Crowded toes can even result in foot fatigue and pinched nerves, so make sure that all of your toes can move freely within your sandal.

Waltz by Ros Hommerson, $110
(www.walkingonacloud.com or 1-866-882-4470 for stores)

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Rockport LUSH

3. Choose the right heel

Wedge, tapered heels and low, square heels absorb pressure. Stiletto heels force the body forward and the buttocks back for balance. Over time, says chiropodist Salman Alam from the Complete Foot Health Clinic, high heels can cause shortening of the calf muscles and knee and back problems.

Lushlife Floral by Rockport sandals, $110
(www.rockport.com or  1- 866-290-6431 for stores)

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4. Pick timeless over trendy

Look for a timeless design, suggests physician-turned-shoe designer Taryn Rose. This black and strappy sandal allows you to move seamlessly between a working lunch and evening cocktails. The all-leather lining is breathable and the soft leather straps allow for movement without being overly flexible. Spiros Marinos from Nick’s Shoe Repair says that a good-quality sandal can have insoles and outsoles replaced with wear.

Mirage by Taryn Rose, about US$215
(www.tarynrose.com or  1-877-440 ROSE for stores)

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5. Choose quality soles

Look out for one-component soles as they provide more support than split soles. A rubber outsole provides excellent traction in the case of a surprise spring shower. Chiropodist Salman Alam cautions that sandal bases should not be too flimsy or allow too much flexibility–you need strong support, especially in a walking sandal.

Warm Grey walking sandals by Ecco, $140
(www.ecco.com for stores)

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6. Find sandals that breathe, and keep them clean

Geox specializes in micro-holes in the rubber outsoles to keep hot feet dry. Heat build-up in shoes cause odours from bacterial growth, and the presence of bacteria increases your risk of foot infections. To clean most leather shoes and insoles, use a soft cloth and white vinegar for instant refreshing.

Geox D Roxy Gold sandals, $130
(www.geox.com for stores)

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7. The more straps, the better

The more straps, the better, says chiropodist Salman Alam. Adjustable leather straps help to ensure fit because they accommodate either a narrow or wide foot and decrease slippage. Alam also cautions against sandals that require you to grip with your toes. Over time, gripping can cause toe cramps, foot fatigue and even clawing.

Balena Silver sandals from Mephisto, $275
(www.mephisto.com for stores)

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8. Go for customized

Not only do Naot shoes provide removable insoles that can be replaced with wear, but they can also accommodate your own custom orthotics. And Spiros Marinos of Nick’s Shoe Repair says that most insoles can be removed from sandals and replaced with something more comfortable-depending on the original construction of the sandal.

Paris sandals by Naot (also available in green), $155
(www.naot.ca for stores)

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Quad Comfort Mark's Work Warehouse

9. Pick comfort above all

Go shoe shopping at the end of the day when feet are at their largest. Comfort has to trump style when you’re on your feet all day. For maximum comfort, look for a slight heel-at least 5 mm, suggests chiropodist Salman Alam. Also look for a built-in arch or curve to accommodate the natural shape of your foot.

Quad Comfort Charm shoes, Mark’s Work Warehouse, $29.99 (www.marks.com or 1-800-663-6275 extension 7500 for stores); visit adayinmyshoes.ca for more on foot health from Mark’s.

What do you spend on summer sandals, and how important is the health factor? Tell us in the comments.