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Old 05-12-2009, 08:34 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Shoes (or sandals) for troubled feet?

So my beloved Birkenstocks have failed me. Podiatrist-recommended as I've a history of plantar fasciitis and sesamoiditis... but after 10 years of wearing them, I've developed tailor's bunionettes (like the big-toe-joint bunion, but on the little-toe joint). Possibly unconnected to the Birks, but I do know that a day of wearing Birks now hurts that part of the foot. Sigh.

Those of you whose feet regularly betray you, any brand recommendations? Closed shoes aren't the major issue, as I have orthotics for those.

Sandals however, are another story. For wearing to work, I can get by with dressier sandals as long as they fit correctly (12-wide) and have adequate padding. If I'm going to be on my feet much - a day out walking on the boardwalk, or whatever - I need something more serious though.

Podiatrist suggested I try MBT shoes (http://www.swissmasaius.com/) and indeed they may be very nice, pain-wise, but the odd thick sole may literally trip me up. The price tag doesn't thrill me either but as I typically get 2-4 years wear out of a pair of shoes, it's acceptable.

Earth shoes? I had a pair of cheap knockoffs when I was a teenager and liked 'em OK. Dunno how I'd do with them now and I'm a tad suspicious of the claims on their website (cause you to burn more calories than regular shoes).

Any other brands people have tried and liked?

Given the foot size involved, I'll likely wind up in a pair of men's sandals. Size 12 is hard enough to find in women's, and 12 *wide*... well, it ain't happening.
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  #2  
Old 05-12-2009, 08:52 AM
Hunter Hawk Hunter Hawk is offline
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I'd be a little leery of Earth shoes. ISTR they only come in one width, which will probably be too narrow for you. At a minimum, you should try on a pair before deciding to purchase them. (I wear Birks and thought Earth shoes were too narrow for me.)

Would Fitflops potentially be an option? I have zero experience with them, but the idea intrigues me.
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  #3  
Old 05-12-2009, 09:14 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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I have a very messed-up left foot/ankle (post-traumatic arthritis, limited range of motion from surgical scarring, bone spurs, etc., occasional plantar fascitis issues). I also have very high arches, which apparently exacerbate the problems. The only sandals that work for me are Mephistos.

For regular shoes, I usually wear stuff with thick removable insoles so that I can wear prescription orthotics; Danskos work the best. Dress shoes other than sandals, though, are a problem, even if they are flat; the arch support is very important.
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  #4  
Old 05-12-2009, 09:46 AM
corkboard corkboard is offline
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I don't have any specific recommendations but my only advice is this- for difficult feet, you get what you pay for.

I spent years buying shoes I thought fit me in the store, which cost $50-$75, but would hurt the longer I wore them. So I'd move on to something else, same story. When I finally ponied up a couple hundred bucks for a well-made shoe, my hard-to-please feet were finally happy, and the shoes lasted me years.

If you are able to swing it, buy the more expensive option that's comfortable.

Last edited by corkboard; 05-12-2009 at 09:47 AM.. Reason: Typed a 't' instead of a 'y'.
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  #5  
Old 05-12-2009, 10:27 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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I've found some great solutions for mine here: www.footsmart.com at reasonable prices. But our problems are very different, so I won't try to give specifics.
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  #6  
Old 05-12-2009, 11:09 AM
Mojo Pin Mojo Pin is offline
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I always had pretty bad shin splints, and my feet are differently shaped (the left is flatter) which makes finding running shoes a pain. I did go the "new, improved, cutting edge technology shoes!" route for a while, until I started running barefoot with a friend. The benefits (to me) were quite noticable, and once I got used to it I started wearing flats everywhere. Turns out having less stuff between your feet and the earth may help improve your walking/running form, and in turn relieve all kinds of symptoms and pain. It really did work for me, I run faster than ever and with much less pain. This "less is more" philosophy might be worth a look for you.
Interesting article:http://nymag.com/health/features/46213/
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  #7  
Old 05-12-2009, 11:58 AM
gang green gang green is offline
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I am fortunate enough to live in Austin, which is where one finds Karavel Shoes. They specialize in comfortable shoes and hard-to-fit feet. It's the only shoe store I've ever been to that has a sign-in sheet and a substantial wait for service. Every one of the salespeople is a real shoe salesman - they know their products, they know feet, they make recommendations. They dedicate all their attention to the one person they're serving.

I ended up with a sandal from Ecco, that looks something like this. Not the most lovely thing, but it's sinfully comfortable.
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  #8  
Old 05-12-2009, 12:02 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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I like San Antonio Shoes. The sandals, especially; some of the styles are non-dorky. They are not sold online--only in their outlet stores.

The typical size range for their women's shoes is S 6-12, N 6-12, M 4-12, W 5-12, WW 5-12. Should be OK for you; I wear N, which is often not available in "sensible" shoes.
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  #9  
Old 05-12-2009, 12:27 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Wow - lots of great ideas!! I will be checking all of these out. You all have mentioned any number of types I hadn't thought of, or even heard of.

Earth shoes: I was at the podiatrist's office just this morning to pick up my new orthotics, and asked the pod what he thought of them. While he didn't get excited, he did comment that the heel/toe difference is less than it used to be so there's less stress on the Achilles tendon. And that it wouldn't hurt to try a pair on, even if they didn't jump to his mind first thing. Good point on the width, and I would definitely try something out in a store before I bought.

Interesting on Karavel shoes, I gather they're a brick-and-mortar place that happens to now have an online presence? The only shoe store where I've had fantastic luck is Globe Shoes in Paramus NJ... as in I walked in and asked for snow boots in 12-W and expected them to bring out a pair. But no... they actually asked questions as to what color and type I'd prefer. "You mean there are OPTIONS????" I thought. Yep. I've seriously considered driving up to NJ *just* to shoe-shop. Even Nordstroms fails me more often than not so it's mail-order or nothing (sigh).

I hear ya on "you get what you pay for". I think the only shoes I have that cost less than a hundred bucks are my New Balance sneakers. Sneakers being sort of a a commodity item, and these being the correct size, they work fine with orthotics. For anything else, I have to go for the pricey stuff; there's simply nothing in the cheaper shoes that comes close to fitting. Let alone coddling my factory-second dogs the way they demand. And let's forget about looking nice!
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  #10  
Old 05-12-2009, 02:23 PM
tiltypig tiltypig is offline
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I used to have some SAS sandals that were amazingly comfortable, and right now have some Merrells that I love. I currently have a pair of Naot closed-toe shoes that are pretty comfy too.

I would stay away from the MBT--the orthopedic shoe store in my old town refused to carry them because they thought the reasoning was bogus and that they would actually injure people's feet. It seemed to me from their marketing like they're not so much for comfort as for toning leg muscles and helping you lose weight.
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  #11  
Old 05-12-2009, 02:56 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
Interesting on Karavel shoes, I gather they're a brick-and-mortar place that happens to now have an online presence? The only shoe store where I've had fantastic luck is Globe Shoes in Paramus NJ... as in I walked in and asked for snow boots in 12-W and expected them to bring out a pair. But no... they actually asked questions as to what color and type I'd prefer. "You mean there are OPTIONS????" I thought. Yep. I've seriously considered driving up to NJ *just* to shoe-shop. Even Nordstroms fails me more often than not so it's mail-order or nothing (sigh).
I clicked on this thread because I have large (14EE) flat feet, so I'm always interested in new shoes, sandals, etc. that might fit me better. Your reference to Globe Shoes caught my eye.

When I was a kid, we lived in Waldwick, NJ for a couple of years. Globe Shoes in Paramus was where we went to find shoes for me, because they had such a huge selection that my Mom knew that there would be something there that fit me and that I liked wearing.

Nowadays I like New Balance & Asics sneakers, and Kino Sandals. Also, I really like my Keen Venice sandals/shoe things.
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  #12  
Old 05-12-2009, 04:06 PM
bellybean bellybean is offline
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I have a Morton's neuroma and my favourite sandals are Mephisto and Merrel. I have had the Mephistos for at least 6 years, and they are still great. I just got the Merrels last year. Super comfy but not particularly dressy.
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  #13  
Old 05-12-2009, 05:11 PM
TimtheToyGeek TimtheToyGeek is offline
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You may want to look at Shape Ups by Skechers. They're very nearly the same thing as MBTs - my wife thinks hers are actually more comfortable than the MBTs she's tried, and they're about a third of the MBT price.

My wife has had tailor's bunions for a while now (result of wearing too many pointy toe shoes), and has a bone spur in her heel. She's had good results wearing Merrell casuals and some New Balance sneakers (though not all). She tried the Shape Ups in the store and found them to be very comfortable, and after her lunchtime walk at work, she said she felt great like she just had a 1 hour workout.

I personally like some Skechers for comfort, sandals especially, and also Keen.

Hope that helps!

Tim
"toy geek"
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  #14  
Old 05-12-2009, 05:38 PM
norinew norinew is offline
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Mama Zappa, no suggestions for shoes (if Birks don't work for you anymore), but I do want to say that, having met you in person, my first thought was not "OMG that woman has big feet!"

Seriously, I have big(ish) feet (not as big now as they used to be), and I usually tend to notice such things!

Good luck on finding some good shoes. If you find a brand that fits/works for you, visit them regularly, sign up to be notified of special sales, etc.
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  #15  
Old 05-12-2009, 08:24 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Originally Posted by norinew View Post
Mama Zappa, no suggestions for shoes (if Birks don't work for you anymore), but I do want to say that, having met you in person, my first thought was not "OMG that woman has big feet!" ....
Well, as I'm 5'11"... and rather Juno-esque in build, the feet *aren't* the most noticeable feature! My daughter has a friend who's now 5'4", and has size 11.5 feet - when I found that out, I nearly cried on her behalf because I know what a PAIN it is to find cute shoes in larger sizes.

While thinking and researching some *good* footwear, I popped over to Zappos online (their search feature is *great*) and noticed that they actually have Bass sandals in 12-Wide. The last Bass sandals I had were 11's (before my feet grew in both directions) many years ago, and when they're new, they have terrific padding. They were sorta high end then, now they're *cheap* (40 bucks a pair). I ordered a pair just to try them out; they may do in the short term. Surprising to see a yuppie/preppie shoe showing up at the lower end of the price scale now, I wonder what's wrong with 'em - but at 40 bucks, if they don't work out I'm not out a lot of money.

Mephistos: I'd heard wonderful things about them. A friend whose feet are more normal-sized says they're the only shoes that feel good on her. And they are made in 12/13 sizes - but they don't have "wide" widths. If I can find some in-store, I may give 'em a try as perhaps they're built wide enough for me.

Bridget Burke: re San Antonio Shoes - so THAT's what "SAS" stands for!!! I actually have a pair (and have had and worn out others in the past) of the "whisper" style and really like them; they're not as roomy as a pair of sneakers but they look much better in the workplace. I'd thought they might have gone under, as Nordstrom doesn't appear to carry them any more... but per the website they *are* still around and there's a shop not all that far from my office.

Tiltypig, I'm wondering the same thing about MBT shoes. They *may* be wonderful - I've got a friend who tried a pair and practically drooled over them - but even if they feel great in the store it's hard to lay out that kind of money for a pair that might not feel so lovely a week later... and is likely to trip me up (I have a history of stumbling over my own feet and doing varying degrees of permanent damage to myself). I'd still like to try a pair of the shop has 'em, and will keep an open mind. Toning isn't an unwelcome side effect if they're otherwise good. I will check out the Merrels / Naot also, dunno if they come in my size though.

To toss out a brand myself: Munro. I get these at Nordstrom, and they're pricey, and they're not especially lovely, but they *are* comfy. They don't have the greatest selection and they don't have a "tramping around the town" sort of summer shoe from what I recall, but for work (office) shoes, they're what I head for first.

I don't think I've replied to everyone but I wanted to thank you guys again - a LOT of ideas I hadn't thought of.
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  #16  
Old 05-13-2009, 11:08 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo Pin View Post
I always had pretty bad shin splints, and my feet are differently shaped (the left is flatter) which makes finding running shoes a pain. I did go the "new, improved, cutting edge technology shoes!" route for a while, until I started running barefoot with a friend. The benefits (to me) were quite noticable, and once I got used to it I started wearing flats everywhere. Turns out having less stuff between your feet and the earth may help improve your walking/running form, and in turn relieve all kinds of symptoms and pain. It really did work for me, I run faster than ever and with much less pain. This "less is more" philosophy might be worth a look for you.
Interesting article:http://nymag.com/health/features/46213/
Interesting indeed. There was something posted here recently about how running shoes are a bit of a scam, and a linked article that mentioned Vibram Five-Fingers. Either those, or the Vivos mentioned in your link, would seem to be a good compromise between true bare feet, and the genuine protection offered by real shoes (protection from genuine hazards such as broken glass, rocks and dog poop).
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:06 PM
The Defenestrator The Defenestrator is offline
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Originally Posted by Mama Zappa View Post
Interesting indeed. There was something posted here recently about how running shoes are a bit of a scam, and a linked article that mentioned Vibram Five-Fingers. Either those, or the Vivos mentioned in your link, would seem to be a good compromise between true bare feet, and the genuine protection offered by real shoes (protection from genuine hazards such as broken glass, rocks and dog poop).
I just bought some Vibram Five-Fingers shoes, the classic fit. They do indeed feel like going barefoot. They are great, and I love them, but for me they have a lot of extra room in the heel. I'm not sure if that's because my feet are oddly-shaped or because their fit is odd. But they do have a pull string to adjust the fit a bit, so it works out okay.

I really like them because I like going barefoot (I hate shoes), but I was worried about stepping on things like glass and hot pavement, and now I don't have to worry about that.
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  #18  
Old 05-14-2009, 12:42 AM
Hunter Hawk Hunter Hawk is offline
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Originally Posted by The Defenestrator View Post
for me they have a lot of extra room in the heel. I'm not sure if that's because my feet are oddly-shaped or because their fit is odd.
Their fit is odd. It also helps if you have Neanderthal feet (with a square profile, not much of a change in length between the tip of your big toe and the tip of your little toe).

I like the concept of the VFF, but I really wish they'd come out with a tabi style and fix the weird heel issue.
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  #19  
Old 05-14-2009, 06:19 PM
tiltypig tiltypig is offline
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I forgot, you might want to take a look at this blog, too. They focus on comfortable women's shoes.
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  #20  
Old 05-26-2009, 07:56 AM
lfainbuch lfainbuch is offline
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love my mephistos

I also had many years when I tried to save money on shoes.
I have found that when you spend a bit more on good shoes, you save on comfort -- leg pain, back pain -- all that. In the long run, budget wise, I have come out about even. The sandals last far longer for me than the other I have worn. And depending on what you buy, they can be resoled. For me, I went with Mephistos sandals. I went to a local shoe store, where they have knowledgable staff that actually fit you to your shoe.
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  #21  
Old 05-26-2009, 08:57 AM
norinew norinew is offline
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Originally Posted by lfainbuch View Post
I also had many years when I tried to save money on shoes.
I have found that when you spend a bit more on good shoes, you save on comfort -- leg pain, back pain -- all that. In the long run, budget wise, I have come out about even. The sandals last far longer for me than the other I have worn. And depending on what you buy, they can be resoled. For me, I went with Mephistos sandals. I went to a local shoe store, where they have knowledgable staff that actually fit you to your shoe.
In our experience, too, the better shoes last longer, are more comfortable, and are more expensive. So if you are on a budget, you have to do what you can to find the shoes that work with your feet at the best possible price. Rockport shoes work well for my hubby and me. We have a Rockport outlet store about an hour from here. Maybe twice a year, they send us coupons for 40% off our entire order. Shopping at the outlet, combining their sales with their coupon, we can often both walk out with a pair of dressier shoes and a pair of "comfortable", every-day shoes, for under $200.00.
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  #22  
Old 05-26-2009, 05:17 PM
Gala Matrix Fire Gala Matrix Fire is offline
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Danskos are awesome, and they have sandals. Different sole styles have different arch support, though. I get the ones that say 'stapled clog' for optimal arch support.
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