High heels, high danger; that’s the upshot of a study by researchers at Stanford University. And that’s not from falling off them, that’s from just being in them at all.

The awkward angle and unnatural pressure the angle of a heel puts on knee joints will wear away cartilage, leading to either knee replacement surgery, osteoarthritis, or both.

But while it’s perhaps easy to scoff and think ‘that’s ok, I’m sensible, I wear sensible flat shoes’; it’s not quite that simple.

Whichever shoes you wear, there’s a high change they will give you bunions. Or sore tendons. Or fungal infections. Or any other number of hidden horrors that can lurk when you make the wrong choice of footwear.

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“Shoes are an essential piece of personal protection equipment, but then we add to them to make us taller, and we walk too far in poorly fitting shoes and get up to all manner of activities without properly considering our choice of shoes,” says podiadrist Emma Supple.

“Poor choices in what we wear on our feet and for how long can have a direct and damaging effect on our foot health.”

Here are some of Emma’s general do’s and don’ts for putting your best foot forward:

1. Heels

“When choosing high heels, pick the style with a well-placed heel under the natural heel of the foot,” Supple advises.

“Ideally go for styles with a strap or a buckle to help keep the foot from slipping.”

She adds that the height of - or the lack of - a heel is a personal thing, and it’s about finding what feels right and comfortable for you.

“For some this ‘perfect heel height’ is the highest of heels and for others the flats will triumph. Know yours and it makes shoe buying so much easier,” she says.

2. Slip-ons

“If you have inherited a tendency for bunions or misshapen feet that develops over time, poorly fitting, narrow style shoes that pinch the toes will make it worse faster,” Supple warns.

“It is important to note that bunions are not actually caused by shoes and are down to genetics or often arthritis, but they are made worse by narrow, slip-on styles of shoes.”

She also says to avoid open backed or thin-soled shoes if you’re susceptible to dry and cracked heels.

[Related story: 6 ways to stop your knee, wrist and ankle joints from aching]

3. Slipper style

“Ugg-style boots are lovely and warm, but if they get wet or are worn out and about for long periods of time they can contribute to a sloppy style of walking that can have an effect up the body in knees, the back, all the way up to the neck and shoulders,” Supple says.

When they’re wet, they also harbour infection and can lead to conditions like Athlete’s foot. Make sure you have a separate pair of indoor shoes as well as your outdoor.

4. Flip flops

“Flip flops are a universal shoe that can be a fantastic way to keep feet free and strong,” says Supple.

“However they can overtire the feet sometimes, causing tendon problems because they work the whole back of the legs.

“Ideally their use needs to be mixed in with more supportive styles of shoes. The FitFlops, with their thicker sole and higher upper, are a great choice for many.”

“If you have inherited a tendency for bunions or misshapen feet that develops over time, poorly fitting, narrow style shoes that pinch the toes will make it worse faster,” Supple warns.

“It is important to note that bunions are not actually caused by shoes and are down to genetics or often arthritis, but they are made worse by narrow, slip-on styles of shoes.”

She also says to avoid open backed or thin-soled shoes if you’re susceptible to dry and cracked heels.