According to the Center for Disease control, as of 2010 an estimated 51.9 million in the U.S. are affected by arthritis. So what does this have to do with shoes? Because, good joint health starts from the ground up. Even if you don't have arthritis, typical onset is between the ages of 35 and 55 so there are some preventative measures you can take to fend off arthritis and the unpleasant effects it can cause. In a great number of cases, especially of rheumatoid arthritis, the ankles, knees and hips are highly sensitive areas to impact and jarring. In these instances it's important to wear a shoe with great shock absorption qualities. In an athletic shoe, a good EVA mid sole to absorb shock and maybe even an added liner are great ideas. Be careful not to put too much padding in the shoe because this can strain the leg muscles with "mushy walking." And to keep the knees and hips in alignment, a shoe like certain Brooks or Asics with medial posting is great because it keeps the gait pattern from rolling too far in or out. For casual or dress shoes, some good brands include Clarks Unstructured and Alegria due to their blend of polyurethane and TPU. These materials, in high quality form, absorb shock and maintain a good walking structure.
So next time you're buying shoes, don't mistreat your feet with cheap, poorly made shoes. Instead put just an extra minute looking at the materials and construction to make sure it's the right shoe for you!
*statistics cited above obtained from the CDC