How Wearing Inappropriate Shoes Can Lead to Severe Back Pain

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Hey guys! This week Amanda is dropping some simple yet often overlooked knowledge when it comes to shoes and lower back pain. I know first hand the power shoes have on the body. The people who say shoes don’t mater have NEVER dealt with any kind of chronic lower back pain issue. Check it out and be sure to leave a comment below! What has been your experience with shoes and lower back pain? 

By Amanda Wilks

There’s nothing quite like experiencing severe back pain for the first time. It doesn’t hurt in the same way a normal ache does: It drills down to the core of your spine and refuses to leave no matter what you do. Sometimes it’s just a distant reminder of an old injury, but for many of us it’s a constant reiteration of the fact that we just don’t take care of ourselves the way we should. 

Just a note: Some links in this article include affiliate products that William 100% supports. 

Finding the root cause of what makes you hurt might set you back tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, let alone the cost of addressing the problem, but your case may be as simple as a poor choice of footwear leading to aches and pains you don’t have to put up with. Considering how much time we spend on our feet and how important it is to invest in shoes that support your body properly, it’s no wonder we occasionally end up in more pain than we should.

How does improper footwear hurt us, exactly? It turns out it can be as simple as an uneven gait or as complicated as improper shock absorption.

Your Gait and You

To understand how your footwear ties into your back health, you must first understand just how your walk cycle can affect you. Something as simple as the way your feet roll as they hit the ground can lead to serious problems later on in life.

In the most basic sense, your feet and ankles play the part of your primary shock absorbers to keep your knees, hips and back from soaking up jarring impacts that can lead to serious injury over time. Your body is designed around this core principle and for some of us, this works exactly as intended, with our natural walk style leading to no real issues.

Occasionally, the problem may come from workload and our lifestyle. Those who exercise or work on their feet all day long are more likely to wind up with injury-related back pain as they get on in years. Finding proper footwear to exercise in or extremely comfortable work boots that support your feet can be just as important as standing properly, so make sure your legs and your footwear are working together well.

Pronation, and Why Your Shoes Matter

For others with foot arch issues in the realm of overpronation and under-pronation, our body just isn’t capable of absorbing the repeated and life-spanning impacts that walking causes. Underpronation is the term for when someone with highly arched feet suffers from a lack of proper sole rolling as they walk, while overpronation is common in those with flatter arches. Their natural inclination is to roll too heavily into their instep.

Those with a tendency to suffer overpronation generally require shoes with strong arches that support their feet, though extreme cases may require orthopedic footwear to correct serious arch problems. Underpronation can be relieved with shoes that are designed to absorb impact through additional padding and sole support, as a lack of sole roll often means your hips and knees take more of a beating than they should.

Finding a properly-fitting shoe might seem costly and unnecessary, but our bodies are more complex than we commonly realize. Something as simple as when you choose to purchase your footwear might affect its fit and, over time, how well your back feels!

Shoe Wear Can Lead to Back Tears

Not everyone is going to have a shoe wear problem. Sometimes it’s hard to stick with a single pair of shoes for more than a few months, but for others who cling to their shoes for years at a time, serious discrepancies can begin taking place. Consider the curious case of a serious runner who couldn’t discover why his back hurt so often for a glimpse into some of the stranger things that can happen to us when we aren’t careful.

The length of our legs and keeping them even is key in ensuring shock to our body is distributed correctly between both legs and something as minor as quarter inch of difference between legs can lead to serious chronic pain. If you’ve stuck with your favorite work boots or running shoes for a few years, measure the height of their soles and see if you’re painfully overdue for an upgrade. 

It also paints a very interesting picture for reporting potential causes of pain to your doctor, too, as something as simple as overly worn shoes could be the difference between solving a chronic problem or suffering another six months of costly medical tests.


In short, your shoes are more important than you might give them credit for and your favorite pair of go-to walking shoes might be the reason you lie awake at night with chronic back pain.

Find footwear that works for you and your budget, make sure you buy new shoes when your old ones start to wear and always make sure you know how you step to avoid ending up with foot support that doesn’t support you properly.

-Amanda Wilks

I have another great post that goes into even more detail you can check out here. 

If you want to check out my current top shoe for back pain warriors I highly suggest you look into some Vivo Barefoots, Merrells or Altra Brand shoes

Thanks for reading guys! 

Talk to you soon!


6 thoughts on “How Wearing Inappropriate Shoes Can Lead to Severe Back Pain

  1. I am always worried about my son developing some sort of back pain. The school shoes he is required to wear are atrocious! Anyway, great article – glad I stumbled upon it.

  2. It is a fascinating blog about shoes and back pain.I actually like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. please stay us informed like this.keep it up.

  3. This was a totally different side of the root cause of a back pain. Thank you for alerting us to this. It is true that we often think the cause of a backache as the stress and strain we undergo on our daily routine. We need to understand that the causes are multiple and we must give importance to each of the activity we do. Thanks again for the great guidance shared.

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