New Eneslow Survey Suggests More than 25% of the Shoes Americans Own Are Too Uncomfortable to Wear

How Can You Salvage Them? What is the Cost?

About How Many Pairs of Shoes Do You Currently Own That You Don't Wear Anymore? (Graphic: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--()--When it comes to shoes, men and women alike have been known to suffer for the sake of fashion. But what happens when the pain is just too much? A new national survey by Eneslow®, The Foot Comfort Center, finds that millions of Americans, driven by discomfort, relegate shoes they can’t wear anymore to the back of their closets or throw them out altogether.

According to the survey, the average American owns 11 pairs of shoes, and almost three in ten (28%) have this much footwear or more lying around.

But unfortunately, more than six in 10 (61%) admit there’s at least one pair of shoes in their closets that they don’t really wear anymore. On average, three pairs – or more than a quarter of what they own – are going unworn. And a wasteful 11 percent admit to 10 or more unemployed shoes collecting dust in their homes!

“With consumers across the country looking for ways to stretch their dollars, it pains me that most Americans not only waste money by buying uncomfortable shoes, but underestimate the damage they can do to their feet,” said Robert S. Schwartz, a Board Certified Pedorthist (C. Ped.) and fourth-generation footwear maven who is president and CEO of Eneslow Pedorthic Enterprises, Inc. “The most important thing is that shoes match feet; feet don’t have to accommodate shoes,” he said.

According to the survey, more women than men own up to having shoes they no longer don (67% vs. 55%) – they also own almost three times as many neglected pairs than men do (5 vs. 2).

“Some of these unused shoes taking up valuable closet space could easily be fixed to become wearable again,” said Schwartz, who as a pedorthist specializes in the use of footwear and supportive devices (commonly known as orthotics or arch supports) and other pedorthic devices (compression socks and hosiery, night splints, braces, partial-foot prosthetics, etc) to address conditions which affect the feet and ankles.

When faced with a pair of uncomfortable shoes, less than a quarter (22%) are likely to attempt fixing these shoes themselves with simple items like a heel pad or gel insole. Instead, they prefer to get rid of the shoes altogether, leave them lying around, or even wear them through the pain.

Your Feet Are At Your Mercy

What can happen when you subject your feet to ill-fitting shoes? According to Schwartz, “People can develop chronic conditions like corns on the tops of and in between toes, hammertoes, calluses, ingrown toenails, hallux limitus (pain in the big toe) and hallux rigidus (a rigid big toe). It can also encourage the growth of bunions, swelling and nerve entrapment. Down the road these ailments not only cause men and women to have embarrassingly ugly feet, but may require surgery and seriously affect their quality of life.”

You Don’t Need to Sacrifice Fashion for Comfort

Today there are more brands and styles of shoes in all sizes and widths that offer superior quality and fit. They have unique features and benefits like good, firm counters for extra support, high toe boxes, shock-absorbing outsoles, and mild rocker bottoms that make them optimum walking shoes. For women, the optimum heel height is at least one inch.

It’s worth seeking out the services of a certified pedorthist. “At Eneslow’s three locations in New York City and Little Neck, we have 15 pedorthists who watch our customers walk,” says Schwartz. “They check their feet, determine when, where, and why they get pain, how long they have had it, and how they have been treated. All of these answers help us find which products and materials will help them.

Each foot is measured, sitting and standing, and its shape is noted. Proper measuring is crucial because even though feet widen and change in the aging process, most people haven’t been re-checked since they were teenagers and their feet stopped growing. Feet actually keep getting bigger as we get older.”

To find a Certified Pedorthist near you, visit the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics ( or the Board of Certification/Accreditation International ( For more information about pedorthics, visit the Pedorthic Footwear Association at

If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit, It Can Be Inexpensive to Fix

“If you have a pair of shoes you love, but don’t love you, don’t wear them,” said Schwartz. “Sometimes these shoes can be modified with arch supports, heel pads or half- or full-innersoles which are relatively inexpensive – anywhere from $10-$75 – and a worthwhile investment.

Treasured shoes can be retrofitted. “At Eneslow, the process starts when one of our staff pedorthists takes measurements of your feet,” said Schwartz. “Your shoes are then examined by our team of professionals who dissect and surgically retrofit them according to the contours of your feet and toes. They are sewn up. There are no scars and absolutely no modification to the exterior of the shoe. The interior will have the original innersole.” The cost is typically $100 per shoe, but well worth the money if they’re high-end designer shoes.

Some modifications to shoes for diabetic or partially amputated feet, or other serious medical foot conditions, are covered by insurance.

If you do have shoes that really don’t fit, donate them to a charity like Soles4Soles (, which distributes new and gently used footwear around the world to those in need. All Eneslow locations are drop-off sites.


Note to Editors: Summaries of the Eneslow® Shoe Survey are available upon request as are interviews with Robert Schwartz, C. Ped. Contact Wendy Hirschhorn at 212-826-8790 or

Methodological Notes: The Eneslow Survey was conducted by Kelton Research between April 27th and May 4th, 2009 using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population ages 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About Eneslow, The Foot Comfort Center

Eneslow, The Foot Comfort Center, provides total foot care for normal feet and those suffering from common and not-so-common foot ailments or injury. In addition to stocking New York City’s largest selection of comfort shoes, available in virtually every size and width imaginable, Eneslow offers orthopedic and therapeutic footwear, foot orthoses and shoe modifications. Eneslow’s staff includes fifteen board certified pedorthists (C. Ped.), who are available to solve foot problems and fill prescriptions for doctors who regularly send their patients to Eneslow. Eneslow’s on-site factory enables customers to have their shoes repaired, modified, or custom made. For more information, visit or call 212-477-2300 or 800-ENESLOW.

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Wendy Hirschhorn; 212-826-8790


Wendy Hirschhorn; 212-826-8790