Foot pain is common, yet few studies have examined the condition in relationship to shoewear. In this cross-sectional study of men and women from the population-based Framingham Study, the association between foot pain and type of shoewear was examined.


Data were collected on 3,378 members of the Framingham Study who completed the foot examination in 2002–2008. Foot pain (both generalized and at specific locations) was measured by the response to the question “On most days, do you have pain, aching or stiffness in either foot?” Shoewear was recorded for the present time and 5 past age categories, by the subject's choice of the appropriate shoe from a list. The responses were categorized into 3 groups (good, average, or poor shoes). Sex-specific multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the effect of shoewear (average shoes were the referent group) on generalized and location-specific foot pain, adjusting for age and weight.


In women, compared with average shoes, those who wore good shoes in the past were 67% less likely to report hindfoot pain (P = 0.02), after adjusting for age and weight. In men, there was no association between foot pain, at any location, and shoewear, possibly due to the fact that <2% wore bad shoe types, making it difficult to see any relationship.


Even after taking age and weight into account, past shoewear use in women remained associated with hindfoot pain. Future studies should address specific support and structural features of shoewear.