Are your shoes making the grade? A new rating system for footwear

Monday - 8/12/2013, 2:14pm  ET

Don't let your foot pain pile up. A new rating system from the American Podiatric Medical Association will tell you which shoes are best, and worst, for your feet. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - There is help for consumers looking for the most foot-friendly shoes.

The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has a rating system for footwear. The program is called theAPMA Seal of Acceptance/Approval, and the results can be found on the organization's website.

Here's how it works: Manufacturers submit their products for review, and a panel of practicing podiatrists study the shoes to see if they meet certain standards and promote foot health.

The committee does its work in complete anonymity, according to Dr. Jim Christina, director of scientific affairs for APMA. He stresses the footwear industry has no way of knowing who is actually conducting the evaluation.

The rating program covers everything from dress shoes, to athletic gear and sandals.

Christina says podiatrists see a lot of injuries related to footwear. Using the wrong shoe for a sport is one big source of trouble, as is too much time spent in high heels or flip flops.

Christina says, as a rule, women should stay away from any heel over 2 inches. Flip-flops, while fine for wearing around the pool or at the beach, should never be used for any real activity.

"They really offer no support, no protection for the foot and they really can be pretty unstable," Christina says.

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