Hope may be in store for the majority of office workers who must bear the discomfort of Oxford-style shoes. The results from a recent study showed that Oxfords inflicted as much damage to the sole of the foot as one would receive walking barefoot. The test results especially affect people with diabetes who run the risk of foot ulceration. The cheap running shoe emerged as the minimum support recommended for people with diabetes.
The group from Penn Medical Laboratory conducting the test used 39 individuals, 13 of whom had diabetes and neuropathy, 13 with diabetes without neuropathy and 13 control subjects with neither diabetes nor neuropathy. The plantar (sole) pressure associated with the Oxford-style shoes was not different from walking without shoes. In contrast, the inexpensive walking shoes relieved plantar pressure by an average of 31%.
Because of the risk of ulceration, individuals with insensate feet should not wear leather-soled, Oxford-style shoes. The test results may provide enough ammunition to mount a case for wearing tennis shoes to the office. (J. Perry et al., Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, American Volume 77:1819-28, Dec. 1995)