Recently, someone sent a link to me about these L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stafani sandals. And the note read, “Not exactly an ‘arch support.’” Well, you can say that again! I feel shoes like these need to come with a tag saying, “Buyer Beware.”  

These shoes are nothing more than cheaply made, flat, thong-toe sandals with a silver-colored heel lift glued into them. While the upper straps, linings and soles are made from leather (according to the product description from several store websites), the shoes are still made in China. Although a couple websites would like you to believe otherwise by simply stating they’re “imported.”

So what do you think the price is for these “classic” gladiator sandals? $195. (You do realize you’re primarily paying for the celebrity name attached to the shoe – right?) However, it’s the heel lifts that I find the most outrageous (the silver lift attached to the inside of the shoe). I sell heel lifts that can be inserted into shoes for $25 each. That’s $50 for a pair. For sandals, you simply attach a piece of Velcro to the lining of the sandal and the matching Velcro piece to the bottom of the heel lift. And viola! You can easily transfer the heels lifts from shoe to shoe.

However, not everyone needs to wear heel lifts in their shoes. Heel lifts are primarily designed for the purpose of:

  • Elevating one side of your body due to leg-length differences.
  • Reducing stress on the Achilles’ tendon, especially for people suffering from Achilles’ tendonitis.
  • Treating children with Severs Disease. (This is not really a disease, but a condition the child will outgrow.)
  • Discreetly adding height for people who are uncomfortable with their height or who may need a boost of self confidence. (Although the heels lifts in these sandals are very visible.)
  • Helping golfers improve their golf swing.

However, heel lifts do not absorb shock or redistribute heel pressure caused by each step.  And they certainly don’t add arch support; however, they do put a flat arch in a little better position for walking. A heel lift is mainly used for therapeutic reasons. In the case of the sandals in question, a person wearing them, who doesn’t need them, it will only cause more harm than good.

Having heel lifts in these sandals is similar to wearing high-heeled shoes; therefore, there are disadvantages associated with their use. These may include:

  • Forward slipping of the feet during walking if the slope of the heel lift is too steep or the feet are sweaty. This may lead to falls, ankle sprains or other injuries to the feet.
  • The development of calluses on the heel of the foot due to the foot rubbing against the lift, or irritation of the delicate skin between the big toe and the second toe as it rubs against the toe strap.
  • The possible formation of bunions due to the lack of proper foot function if you wear lifts and your feet don’t need them.
  • An increased risk of metatarsalgia due to the weight and pressure of your foot pressing down on the ball of your foot, especially without adequate support to your midfoot.
  • An elevated risk of Achilles’ tendon issues. By wearing heel lifts or high heeled shoes for prolonged periods of time, the Achilles’ tendon in your leg is shortened. When you remove your shoes at the end of the day, your Achilles’ tendon may be sore as it stretches back out to its proper length. Prolonged wear and tear on the Achilles’ tendon puts you at a higher risk of Achilles’ tendon rupture as you age.

However, the worst thing about these sandals is, there’s no arch support. It’s like putting your feet on a straight slope, and the plantar surface (bottom) of your feet aren’t shaped this way. When you pitch a shoe for a heel rise, there must be an arch to hold the foot into place. Otherwise, the foot will suffer because it has to work too hard as you walk.

There is a time and place for heel lifts. However, they use should be prescribed by a competent expert in the field. They can be an excellent solution when used correctly for individuals with leg length discrepancies or Achilles’ tendon issues. But a correct measurement is necessary to determine the proper height to make the lift. Otherwise, people are just increasing their risk of injury.

So before you spend your hard-earned money on sandals such as these (because you think they’re a fashion statement), consider the consequences of wearing shoes with heel lifts if you don’t need them. So buyer BE AWARE!

For more information on heel lifts or custom foot orthotics, I recommend the ezWalker® Performance Insole, contact customer service at the at 888-3-WALK-EZ or Also, visit our website to learn more about common foot conditions like bunions, calluses, Achilles’ tendonitis or heel pain.

Remember… when your feet feel good, you feel good.