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The warm weather is here, which means it's time to pull out our sandals and sneakers.
Now is the time to prepare to spend your days outdoors and have fun with fashion but not worry about getting any uncomfortable blisters.
Erin Kesler, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, tells Yahoo Canada Style to try to avoid blisters in your footwear choices.
"Make sure that the shoe comes with a closure such as laces or velcro. Closures work with you to secure your heel at the back of the shoe to prevent it from riding up and down and creating a spot of friction. Friction=blisters," she warns.
Kesler says that sandals can be tricky to prevent blisters because our feet tend to sweat and slide. "Sliding is another form of friction, so trying to minimize slipping in a sandal is key," she says. "Try looking for sandals that are made out of natural materials. Avoid plastics or cheap synthetics. Natural materials absorb sweat slightly and prevent sliding."
She says when choosing a supportive sandal, it's important to look for the same qualities you look for in a shoe "minus the need for a strong heel counter."
"If you plan on wearing your sandal for shorter tasks, or puttering around, an open back sandal that flips can be OK for most people," Kesler says. "Open-back sandals are actually good to help strengthen your feet in the summer."
"Since there is less support, your foot works to grip your toes to help keep the shoe on your foot. This exercises the intrinsic muscles in your feet. A great idea for those of us without foot pain," she explains.
Should you wear running shoes for hiking?
Summer weather gives us the chance to spend more time outside doing activities like hiking, running and outdoor workouts. Kesler suggests using hiking shoes if you plan on going into the woods or on intermediate trails.
"Running shoes can have very specific features and biomechanical research behind them," she says. "The high-end runners out there are awesome shoes to wear every day for comfort, but when it comes to rocky or rough terrain, they aren’t ideal."
"Although quality higher-end running shoes have good strong support on the bottom, they don’t have the strength to resist tree roots and rocks," she explains.
"Most hiking-specific footwear has treads that are injected with carbon to make them stronger, or shanks in the soling to resist the shoe from forming to the rocks and terrain, and higher cuts on the ankles," Kesler says. "It's all about the stabilization. We need to be able to rely on the bottom of the shoe for support and the sides to help prevent ankle rolls."
What to look for in your summer sneaker
Kesler says if you want to focus on comfort when looking for a summer sneaker, make sure the shoes have three redeeming features: "There should be a strong heel counter," she says. "This is the part of the shoe that sits around the back of your heel. You shouldn’t be able to bend it when you squeeze the sides or press on the back with your thumb."
Kesler explains that the shoe should only bend at the forefoot, where your foot would naturally bend. "You can test this by applying pressure to the front and back of the shoe. If it bends in the arch area at all, toss it aside," she adds.
She says that when you gently twist the shoe from side to side, it shouldn’t wring out like a wet towel; the structure in a shoe equals comfort.
"For summer-specific styles, look for sneakers that have good, breathable mesh on the upper of the shoe and a removable insole that you can take out and spray down after a particularly sweaty day," she suggests.
Kesler's summer footwear picks
To ensure you're choosing the right shoe for summer, we had Kesler pick out some options. Check out her picks — and reasoning — below.
This running shoe has PWRRUN+ cushioning that is flexible, durable and springy for a lively ride that stays consistent throughout the run. The shoe will hug the foot and deliver a personalized fit.
Kesler says that this is a great choice for those who want a shoe they can run in. "It comes with a removable insole under the main insole. Removing it will provide more room for feet that need more width or depth in their shoes," she says. "It's great to work with, and its neutral support works with most foot types."
SHOP IT: Saucony, $195
ECCO’s take on the classic Scandi slide, the sandal is made from sustainably sourced leathers. The gentle velcro closure is adjustable to fit your feet.
"This is a good, lightweight sandal that has a slightly contoured arch support for added comfort," Kesler says. "The natural materials are an added bonus."
SHOP IT: ECCO, $110
The New Balance 574 low-top sneakers are crafted with suede and a mesh upper and lining. They have a round toe and padded insoles. This sneaker also features ENCAP midsole technology for support and maximum durability. "For a stylish option, [...] these shoes check my boxes," Kesler says.
SHOP IT: New Balance, $110
The fully recyclable Everlane Forever Sneaker is a timeless style meant to be your easiest and most comfortable shoe. It's made from durable, sustainably sourced materials like 100 per cent organic cotton and natural rubber. It's also machine washable for easy care.
SHOP IT: Everlane, $91
This sporty sandal has spring to spare and features stretchy straps made from 100 per cent recycled PET plastic bottles. Kesler says this is a nice, trendy back-strap option for leisure walking.
SHOP IT: Keen Footwear, $80
These women's running shoes have a breathable mesh upper with built-in zones of support for lasting comfort. They are lightweight and feature a dynamic shape with a bold zigzag midsole.
SHOP IT: Reebok, $120 (originally $160)
These lightweight and supportive sandals from ECCO provide everyday walking comfort on and off the trail. They have a rugged rubber outsole for great grip and action on multiple surfaces.
"If you want to wear sandals on your adventures, these are a fantastic option that has features of both running shoes and hiking shoes," Kesler says.
SHOP IT: ECCO, $170
If you're looking for something to reintroduce you to wearing heels again, Julieta's The Madrid is perfect. This shoe is designed by an experienced orthopedic surgeon who crafted the custom insoles to support the foot to distribute the weight evenly and avoid stress on the most common areas. Plus, the heel height is only 3.5 inches, and it comes in seven different colours.
SHOP IT: Julieta, $385
These stylish leather and suede platform sandals have a clean and modern foam footbed and heel cushion for premium comfort from Sorel's Ella II Collection.
SHOP IT: Hudson's Bay, $110
This waterproof, breathable hiker takes you from the peak to the street in comfort and style. It has a secure fit and slides on easily, while its soft yet stable cushioning offers support. As a bonus, the shoe features OutDry breathable waterproof protection.
SHOP IT: Columbia, $180