Gait is the way we move across land. From a penguin’s wobble to the fluid movements of a cheetah to a person’s stride, it is the pattern of movement that propels us forward. If it walks like a duck, it probably IS a duck—unless it's a person with an unstable gait!

Your individual gait starts at the bottoms of your feet, the foundation of a healthy gait. It also depends on your posture, your bone structure, your particular rhythm and how relaxed you are. Pain and injury can affect gait; even a stone in your shoe can throw everything out of alignment from the sole up. That's one problem that is easily remedied, but physical conditions that cause gait issues can be a little harder to identify and address.

Causes of gait issues

Sometimes, the nervous system is involved in gait issues, and that is no laughing matter. However, sometimes one tiny physical issue with your gait can hurt your whole body. An unsteady gait can cause problems for your knees, hips and back. Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of thought and analysis; there are specialists who can analyse your gait and help you to improve it. However, there’s no doubt that the right shoes can help to put your body back into the swing of things. If it's just a matter of being out of alignment, a minor foot condition or even foot fatigue, then wearing the proper shoes could make a huge difference.

How shoes can help

Orthotic-friendly shoes are affordable, comfortable and helpful shoes that either mimic the benefits of prescription orthotics or leave room for them in the footbed. Both orthodox friendly shoes and prescription orthodics address some of the common problems with gait. They start with arch and heel support, and end with a footbed that is bio-mechanically designed for proper support and alignment. Wearing shoes like these is a good start to repairing gait issues, and over time, good shoes can reduce pain and fatigue and reduce the risk of further injury.

Brands to try

Birckenstocks are great casual shoes. The neutral heel and specially designed footbed that conforms to your feet evenly distributes weight and shock, getting you back to a healthy gait. You can always go for the classic sandal, but now you can find all the same benefits in clogs and thongs too. Other good choices for sandals include FitFlops and Lightfeet. The Arcopedico shoe company was founded by a professor of anatomy and ergonomics. They endeavour to offer soft and flexible shoes for women with double arch support to ensure proper gait and posture. They’re both flexible and supportive. If you’re looking for work shoes that won’t worsen gait problems, then try Clarks, Hush Puppies or Naturalizers, which all promote a natural, healthy gait without a bulky footbed or a clunky look.

With these Bstore brands and others, you're sure to find shoes for almost every circumstance that will help guide you to a better gait.