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Expert Interview Series: Lilly Derrah of Shoestracker.com on the Right Footwear for Professionals Who Spend A lot of Time on Their Feet

by Emma Hurst September 15, 2016

Expert Interview Series: Lilly Derrah of Shoestracker.com on the Right Footwear for Professionals Who Spend A lot of Time on Their Feet

Lilly Derrah is the chief writer at Shoes Tracker, the leading blog about foot health and footwear. We recently checked in with her to get her advice on shopping for practical footwear for those who work on their feet. Here's what she had to say:

How did you become so passionate about foot health and footwear?

I can't remember exactly when I started doing research about foot health and footwear. There were numerous reasons but the biggest one was for my own heath benefit. My feet encountered several problems when I started taking Zumba lessons about a year ago. That was why I began to do small researches on my foot condition, and unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, an ailment that's very tough to cure. Because of this, I had no choice but to put aside all dancing activities and focus on the treatment; which took quite a long time. During that time, I often go online to forums to discuss foot health. Some people suggested that I should share my knowledge and experience; I thought it was a great idea and decided to become a writer.


Why do you want more people to care about their feet?

Statistics have shown that about 75 percent of Americans will suffer from foot health problems at least once in their lifetime, but another shows that 37 percent would wear uncomfortable shoes as long as they're stylish.

More and more data is showing that people aren't aware of the risk and the danger of foot ailments. Prevention is always better than curing, I wanted to educate and remind people how to care more about their feet and be fully aware of the risks so as to find proper ways to prevent them.


What are the worst things we do to our feet when it comes to picking shoes?

When choosing a pair of shoes, firstly you need to have a good understanding of your foot structure. It's necessary because everyone has different foot structure. Let's say that you possess a "normal" pair of feet (which is not very likely), you would at least have to know the size exactly. There are a lot of people who have very little knowledge about their own feet, as a result, they always tend to select the wrong shoes; but that's not the worst case, the worst thing is picking the wrong shoes anyway even when you already understand about your feet. This can happen for two reasons:

  • People might understand about their feet but they are not completely aware of foot health/ problems.
  • People choose style over comfort.


What are the long-term problems of not picking suitable shoes?

The consequences of choosing the wrong shoes are developing plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, bunions, etc. - these foot problems are usually very painful and interfere with daily activities and your job; they also take a very long time to cure. Furthermore, improper curing can lead to serious long-term health problems.


What professionals do you think are most in need of comfortable, supportive footwear?

They are jobs that require being on feet a lot especially on hard surface, like:

  • Professional trainers, athletes
  • Health professionals: Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc.
  • Teachers
  • Night auditors
  • Assistant store managers
  • Cook, hostesses or waiters
  • Warehouse or factory workers
  • Hairstylists


How do you approach shopping for footwear for your job? What considerations do you make?

A suitable pair of shoes can be determined according to four factors: Safety, comfort, style and durability.

Depending on your own needs and job requirements, these four factors vary in different patterns. For example, those who work in a dangerous environment need to pay more attention to the safety; those who have foot diseases need to focus on the comfort. An assistant store manager might not need to care much about style, however, those who work in a restaurant may need to consider it.


How often should we replace our shoes? What are signs that a shoe is no longer supporting our feet properly?

It depends on the type of shoes and their usability, and how much they are being worn. A study has proved that there is no significant difference between the different brands of the same type of shoes. Nike is just nearly as durable as Adidas or New Balance.

Other research shows that even when the cushioning capacity of a pair of shoes wears out, it does not have a major affect on the feet - our body always adapts to gradual changes by adjusting to the muscle tension. Of course, this means that the feet are actually affected, but in a very slow and gradual process.

According to my personal experience, if you purchased a suitable pair of shoes and it greatly supports your feet, it would normally take a year for replacement, unless you have foot problems and always need your shoes in perfect supporting condition.

I think there's no actual sign that shows a pair of shoes needed replacement(unless they're too worn). Because the part of a shoe that most matters here is the midsole, it decides 80 percent of the supporting capacity. So the best way to know when to buy new shoes is based on your own feelings, whenever you feel your feet are not supported well enough, that's the time to change.


How else do you pamper your hardworking feet?

There are two ways to give your feet some pampering at home. The first is using foot soaks and the second is foot massage. I will not go into details on this since there are already so many guides and tips on the Internet, just Google it and you will find many.


What are some other tips for managing health issues associated with jobs where a lot of standing is involved?

I think there are just two main things that you must focus on in order to maintain a good health in a tough work environment. They are:

1. Find suitable footwear that can support your feet while being at work.

2. Take care of your feet more regularly at home.

If you can guarantee to do these two things, you should be free of worry from foot problems and be able to avoid them most of the time.

Good luck!

Find your perfect pair of comfortable pumps today!

Emma Hurst
Emma Hurst

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