If you’re pregnant, and your shoes aren’t fitting the way they used to, you may be dealing with more than a case of pregnancy brain. Did you know that your shoe size can change permanently over those nine months? As many as 70% of women need to shop for new shoes for pregnancy.
There are 360 distinct joints in the human body, and over thirty are in your feet. The ligaments connecting all those joints must stretch and relax to accommodate your little one’s exit from your body. If you add swelling and weight gain to the mix, you’ll find your old kicks just don’t fit the way they used to.
It’s past time to pick out a new pair, but what types of shoes are ideal for pregnant bodies?
A pair of supportive shoes can make all the difference when you’re already dealing with an uncomfortable pregnancy, and you deserve to feel your best. We’ve created this guide full of pregnancy tips to help moms-to-be choose the shoes that will provide the most support during this dynamic period.
Read on to discover the factors to consider when shopping for the best shoes for pregnancy.
What’s Happening to My Feet?
When you’re pregnant, you wake up every day noticing new, unusual changes in your body. Many of those changes are thanks to a hormone called relaxin, which does exactly what it sounds like. It helps “relax” your ligaments, making your entire body more flexible to facilitate labor and delivery.
The ligaments in your feet may become so relaxed that the arch (the curved structure near the center of your foot) physically drops. This can add length to your foot, necessitating a larger shoe size. With a shallower arch, your foot may also need support in different areas than before.
While these changes are happening, short-term changes are taking place, too. Weight gain and fluid retention can make your feet temporarily wider. You may need to purchase shoes with a wider width to accommodate swelling.
What to Look For in Shoes for Pregnancy
While the right fit is essential, there are other factors and features to consider when shopping for a great pair of pregnancy shoes. Your first priority should be comfort. Many women stick to sneakers for the majority of their pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose a fashionable pair that makes you feel great.
Here are other details to consider when you hit the shoe store.
You’re carrying precious cargo, and there’s nothing more terrifying than taking a spill with a baby on board. Your center of gravity is constantly shifting, and it can be hard to trust your sense of balance. Choosing a skid-free shoe with some traction can help compensate for pregnancy clumsiness, preventing accidents.
Most moms-to-be stop wearing heels sometime around the second trimester, when they begin to sense physical changes in their bodies.
The farther along you are in your pregnancy, the flatter your feet will become. Flat arches demand specific support. The right shoes can ensure your body stays aligned while you’re on your feet, eliminating pain and preventing long-term issues like arthritis.
You’ll want to look for a shoe with a lot of structure. Avoid sneakers with too much cushioning. Many expecting moms like a shoe with a memory foam insole.
Lighter Is Better
You’re already carrying a lot of extra weight. A bulky, heavy shoe will not be comfortable, even if it’s supportive.
A lightweight shoe can be just as supportive as a heavier one if it’s well-constructed. Remember, many designers create shoes specifically for pro athletes. They aren’t just footwear—they’re feats of engineering that keep runners moving.
Sometimes a pair of lightweight and supportive shoes can come with a higher price tag, but we promise it’s worth it for the back support alone. You’ll sleep easier when you’re in less pain throughout the day.
The biggest problem with wearing sneakers during later pregnancy is tying the laces. The bigger your belly, the more difficult it is to bend over! You might want to look for supportive slip-on shoes, especially during that arduous third trimester.
Even if your arch doesn’t flatten during pregnancy, it’s normal to need a bigger size for a while. Visit a shoe store where a professional can size your feet. You may need to go up a full size to accommodate your swollen toes.
Many brands make shoes in both regular and wide widths. If you feel you need a wider shoe, ask an associate. They may need to be special ordered.
Ideal Types of Shoes for Pregnancy
Once you’ve considered the above factors, it’s time to choose a pair of shoes you love. You should be able to put on and take off the ideal pair without assistance. Also, keep the season in mind—the most supportive pair of shoes is only helpful if you can feel your toes!
Here are a few types of shoes to consider:
- Lightweight canvas slides
- Athletic walking sneakers
- Sherpa-lined slip-on mini booties
- Slip-on sandals with insole support
- Ballet flats with memory foam insoles
- Supportive mules or clogs
- Breathable running sneakers
Take your time and try on several pairs. Don’t settle for the first pair that fits. Comfort is critical when choosing footwear during late pregnancy.
The Perfect Shoes for Pregnancy
Your whole body undergoes immense changes during pregnancy, but your feet are your foundation. Between weight gain, fluid retention, gravity, and typical physiological changes, your feet take a beating. Choosing the right shoes for pregnancy can significantly impact your comfort as you bring a new life into the world.
Are you still searching for the perfect pair of sneakers for your swollen tootsies? Check out the Best Walking Feet Blog for the top comparisons and reviews. Start with this post about choosing the right walking shoes.