Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Banishing Footwear Woes

A recent post on Madsnapper's blog sparked thoughts of my past and current footwear woes. 

For years, flat, skinny feet had me avoiding painful ingrown toenails by wearing sandals, even in cold weather. I just added socks.

That footwear pattern also applied to vacations that included hikes on challenging trails, climbing around on huge rocks. Still no problem. 

Things changed when I accepted a position with the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, a research, advisory, and marine education program housed at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in our coastal town.

One winter day a fellow female staff member called me out on my sandals and socks.

"Linda, you are in a position dealing with the public and high-level officials," she said. "Those sandals with socks are just not appropriate."

I took her advice to heart. Decades later I was retired and still hadn't found shoes that consistently resulted in happy toes. 

Then Hubby and I stopped at the Nantahala Outdoor Center's shop on our way to a camping vacation in the Smoky Mountains.

I found a pair of shoes on sale that were perfect.  I had never heard of the Altra brand. Even on sale they were pricey. But a plus beyond the comfort was that I could tie them one-handed thanks to a strategy my physical therapist had taught me.

The Internet was my shopping friend when those comfy shoes fell apart from daily wear over a number of years. A wonderful online consultant with Altra helped me find the same style even though the name had changed. I bought three pair. 

I still wear them everywhere--walking, church or even weddings and funerals. I can fit my brace into the left shoe, snug the brace to my calf with the help of a velcro strap and I'm ready to go. The Altra shoes don't let my toes slide down to cause sore toes and in-grown toenails.

The only drawback is that I can no longer tie the shoes myself. Hubby is now my official shoe helper. These days every brand I have checked out features reenforcement of the top eyelets. They last longer but sabotage the one-handed strategy I had learned. 

I am thankful that Hubby is willing to tie my shoes.

I also wear Avia shoes, the best I have found of brands that feature velcro straps. They are super convenient and easy to put on, but they still let my feet slide down with my toes crunching uncomfortably against the front of the shoe. 

I only wear them for short periods, though, and they are great to have by my bed, when I have to get up during the night.

Those footwear options that contribute to my mobility are among the many blessings that keep this granny going and glowing!



  1. My foor problem is the opposite of yours. I have very wide feet. Even extra wides are too thin. So I wear Crocs everywhere. I'm glad you found some that really work for you!

  2. How great you found comfy shoes that work for you. I wear comfy Skechers and Propet shoes, mostly the slip on kind with no lacing needed.

  3. this is great news that you found 2 brands that work well for you. one friend went for the custom shoes and paid a scandalous price for them. they hurt her feet. she stumbled on one shoe that is perfect and she buys them 3 at a time and has for years, they have to be tied, her hubby ties them. I think they are SAS but not sure. whe gets, navy, brown and black. My last place that I worked, retired from required toes covered and no backless shoes and hose. I had my doctor write a letter that wearing closed in shoes were a no and backless was necessary. I wore the kind that covers the instep in a dressy look and they approved them. as long as I wore hose. i wore pants or long dresses so it worked out

  4. So happy you are Granny growing and going.
    Sounds like you found the perfect shoes for your requirements. I'm glad you can still be mobile and enjoy life and your official shoe tie-er

  5. A good comfortable shoe is a must.
    For me it is Keen.

  6. Glad you found the best shoes for your feet. It’s not easy! I am guilty of wearing socks and sandals and probably never will give up my Birkenstocks. You’ve got me thinking, how many pairs have I probably purchased in my life, as they have been around and in my closet since at least the 1980s!

  7. I love comfortable shoes...have had issues of first one thing and another the past several years. I won't go into details...just wanted to say I want to remember to look up this brand...see what they have. I am glad you finally found something. For my current woes due to my fall, I have found a pair of skechers that do not bother me...this is the only pair of that brand that has ever felt good on my feet.

    There are a couple brands that I love the looks of their shoes but they are never comfortable.