Nearly four in 10 women buy shoes knowing they do not fit, a poll of 2,000 reveals.
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists in Britain found 37% would wear uncomfortable shoes as long as they were fashionable.
And 17% of men admit buying shoes in the wrong size.
Although 80% of the women said they suffered foot problems like corns or ingrowing nails, only four in 10 of the men and women surveyed sought help.
Lorraine Jones, from the society, said: “Many of us find it hard to resist a bargain and the latest fashion must-have, but it’s important to remember that by buying ill-fitting shoes, you’re not only going to end up in discomfort, but you are also putting your health at risk.”
Importantly, if your feet hurt something is wrong.
Although “killer” high-heels can cause problems, slip-on shoes are one of the worst culprits, as they cause the foot to slide forward and cramp the toes.
Worst of all are court shoes, as they are low-fronted, giving no support to the foot, and tend to be too narrow in the toe.
Jones said many people were wearing the wrong sized shoes on a daily basis without even realising it.
“While not all foot problems can be prevented, a large majority of problems do result from incorrect or poor footwear.
“It is important to wear shoes in the correct size that are appropriate for the activity you need them for.
“That’s not to say we shouldn’t wear fashionable shoes or high heels, but it does mean that we should give our feet a break and see an expert if there is something wrong,” she said.
For frequent, everyday wear, women should choose a low-heeled shoe – no higher than 4cm – which has a rounded toe. – BBC