After being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, I can no longer wear high heels and many other beautiful styles of shoes. I had to give up certain styles of shoes, and learned to shop differently. This blog post shares information I’ve gathered about shoes for women with foot troubles. Even though my journey involved plantar fasciitis, the shoes that I reference below are for people with a variety of ailments such as heel pain, heel spurs and bunions. All of these brands market their products as being part of a healthy foot regimen helping with natural alignment.
I was diagnosed with pneumonia two years ago. I had to take several weeks off from work and was directed by my doctor to avoid physical activity. After several rounds of antibiotics and recovering from pneumonia, I happily returned to my normal workout schedule. Unfortunately for me, my feet were not having it. I suffered extreme pain in both heels and across the bottom of my feet to the point of being unable to walk without pain. My ankles swelled, I was unable to walk barefoot, and I was unable to wear many of my shoes. Even though I am no longer in pain, I still suffer from swollen ankles.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that occurs when strain or tears occur in the ligament that goes across the bottom of the foot. It is common in middle aged people and athletes such as basketball players.
I was prescribed customized orthotics. Orthotics are devices used to provide foot support. When prescribed by a podiatrist, orthotics are designed for your individual foot and crafted out of a sturdy material. The use of orthotics is challenging because your shoes have to be spacious enough to accommodate them. I had extra difficulty finding shoes because my feet are wide and I have difficulty finding shoes that fit without the orthotics.
The Walking Company & ABEO
The Walking Company is a great place to shop for specialized shoes. Its mission is “to help you walk in comfort in all aspects of your life.” It features brands that are known for comfort such as Birkenstock, Dansko, Naot, Umberto Raffini and more. The sizes range from super slim to extra, extra wide.
I am particularly fond of ABEO – a brand of shoes exclusive to The Walking Company. ABEO shoes allowed me to wear heels again. (My favorite pair of ABEO shoes is pictured above.) ABEO offers shoes with built-in orthotic support, digitally matched orthotics or with removeable orthotics. Their orthotics are too soft my use. However, I love their shoes and find them to be supportive, durable and decent looking. They are not available in wide width, so I size up half a size.
Birkenstocks are my favorite summer sandal. I can wear them anywhere for hours at a time! My love of Birkenstocks has extended to their boots and other shoes.
All Birkenstocks feature a cork footbed that molds and shapes to the wearer’s feet. For me, the Birkenstock footbed functions like my customized orthotics. It provides firm, customized support.
Birkenstock offers its footbed in a variety of insoles for wide and regular sized shoes and varying heel heights. I am able to use the Birkenstock in a variety of shoes. The insoles range from $40 to $100 and are not as expensive as my customized orthotics that cost $175 with insurance.
Birkenstock shoes fit sizes 4 to 11 1/2. The shoes feature regular and narrow widths. I am able to fit Birkenstock regular width sandals and shoes even though I typically wear wide width shoes. The Birkenstock insoles are produced in wide width.
Vionics are great! Vionic notes that its “orthotic technology may help relieve heel pain, knee pain and back pain.” After I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, Vionic sandals were the first shoes that provided relief. I wouldn’t have survived several flights without my Vionics. The orthopedic support helped me survive the walking and standing in line at the airport.
These shoes come in a variety of attractive styles from sizes 5 to 11. Vionic also sells wide width in sizes 6 to 11. They are available via Vionic, QVC and my podiatrist’s office. My podiatrist highly recommends these shoes.
Vionic also sells orthopedic inserts. I didn’t have much success with these, but you may find these work well. Vionic shoes have removable insoles. You can wear customized orthopedics or the insoles of your choosing.
Other Supportive Shoes
Clarks shoes and boots were a favorite of mine before I started having foot troubles. Even though I am unable to wear many of those shoes, I have purchased new Clarks shoes that I routinely wear. Clarks’ newer shoes (such as the ankle boots pictured above) have a removeable ortholite insert. The ortholite insert doesn’t provide enough support for me, but I use my Birkenstock insoles or prescription orthotics.
Crocs are rumored to do wonders for people with foot troubles. I know several people who used Crocs to help with their plantar fasciitis. The Crocs Croslite™ material molds to the shape of the wearer’s foot. Known for their signature classic clogs, Crocs are not known for their fashion forwardness. However, they are very inexpensive. I wear Crocs at the pool.
Dansko and Alegria also make supportive shoes. I have an assortment of Dansko and Alegria sandals that are stylish and fun! I look forward to buying more!
Breaking In Support Shoes
Shoes and insoles with extra support often require time to break-in. Typically, they should be worn for two to four hours a day on the first day of wearing. They should then be worn one or two additional hours each day before wearing them for a full day. Even then, it can take up to a month before the shoes fit comfortably.