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Old 03-05-2005, 10:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NorCal
Posts: 996
What is it to have a "high instep"?

I have a hard time finding comfortable shoes because, apparently, I have a "high instep." Can somebody tell me what that actually means? Also, do people have suggestion for brands of shoes that might be comfortable given this condition?
Old 03-05-2005, 10:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NorCal
Posts: 996
Hm, while the first question is GQ, my second question definitely falls into IMHO territory. Mods, please move if appropriate.
Old 03-06-2005, 01:46 AM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Garden Spot of the South
Posts: 9,135
I know my mom had a *very* high arch of her foot, and wore a size 6. It was very hard for her to find slip on shoes, or boots which fit her feet. As far as function, she had problems later in life with her little toe, which did not speak so much to her high arch as to wearing too many high-heeled small-toed shoes.
Old 03-06-2005, 07:33 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Apple Valley, MN
Posts: 608
I've always thought of the instep as the top of the foot. However, tells me there's more to it:
The arched middle part of the human foot between the toes and the ankle.
So it included the meet of the foot, not just the top of it. Either way, I think a "high instep" means the top of your foot just past the ankle is higher off the ground than the average measurement.

This means loafers are going to feel tight because there is not enough material that goes from the sole on one side of the foot, over the top of the foot, and down to the sole on the other side of the foot to fit your instep. Shoes that lace should be more comfortable.

I have a similar problem, in that I have wide feet. So I also need shoes that allow for more material (or more flexibility) across the instep. I just shop around until I find shoes that are comfortable. While I prefer the ease of loafers, laced shoes tend to offer more comfort because they adjust to the width of my feet.

And Ladies, you know that they say about a man with wide feet...

...his shoes are always coming untied!
Old 03-06-2005, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Close to home
Posts: 9,907
I thought it was the opposite of flat feet--a very high arch, as opposed to no arch.

Which is basically what has been said already.
Old 03-06-2005, 08:09 AM
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Belfast, Ireland.
Posts: 6,380
I have that too.
It is indeed the opposite of flat feet. It means that there is more pressure on the ball of your foot and the outside edge of your heel than there should be. It's not really about brands of shoes so much as styles.

If you're a guy, you're fine, but you can get orthotics if you feel you need them.

If you're a girl you'll find that when you wear a high heel your foot is smaller than it should be, as the middle part is more raised, and will lift further away from the middle part of the shoes. You might need to go a size smaller in heels than in flats. Shoes with ankle straps and straps over the instep will be much more comfortable and secure than shoes without straps. You'll find it harder to walk in heels than most people because you weight is thrown even more over your toes than usual...get some of those gel cushions for the balls of your feet, and wear lower heels.

I need to get my shoes re-heeled often as the outside edge wears down very quickly, you might find that too. I find shoes with a slightly shaped inner lining, and ankle support like trainers and hiking boots to be much more comfortable than heels or ordinary flats, YMMV.
Old 03-06-2005, 01:00 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 3,322
My understanding of "high instep" is like milquetoast's : it is usually a high arch but most importantly the area on top of the foot between toes and ankle is higher than average, when measured from the floor. All my shoes have to either be a lace up or be very low cut, even to showing toe cleavage. My high heels are all very low cut. Adjustable straps are ok sometimes if they allow enough adjustment to be comfortable.

It's just a variation in foot shape. I have never had serious trouble with my arches, even though the arch supports in athletic shoes never come anywhere near my arches. If and when I do have trouble, I'll get custom arch supports.
Old 03-06-2005, 01:17 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,500
In anatomy terms, it means your metatarsals (the bones that make up the "foot" part of the foot -- below ankle, before toes) are strung up in a higher position by all the tendons and muscles and myofascial tissue that actually make up the shape of the foot. The extreme of this is a club foot, or the tightly bound foot of a Chinese woman of a century ago.

Foot massages are great for dealing with the tension and pressure Irishgirl speaks of. Massage your foot in long strokes from the ankle down to the toes. Next, grab your foot just above the big toe and the second toe. Feel those bones? Those are the metatarsals. Scissor them up and down in opposition to one another - they will move slightly to start with, and more when you get all that fascia loosened up. Now grab the bone above the second toe and third toe. Repeat the scissoring motion. Keep going with the rest of the metatarsals. Pull gently on the toes and scissor them, as well. Gently pull on toe over the one next to it, and then under. Twist a little if it feels good.

If you have a really tense foot and high arch, doing this every night will actually cause your arch to drop a bit. If you have a flat foot, it will sometimes help to put an arch into it. Either way, it feels really good!

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