#592 – Footwear Shopping Tips for RA Feet

A pile of different coloured running shoes.
Thanks to Jakob Owens on Unsplash.

In this post, I share some of my footwear shopping tips for RA feet.

We rheumies will never be able to rival Imelda Marcus' shoe collection, mainly because finding that many pairs of comfortable shoes would be a near impossible feat.

Shoes, oh shoes. When RA first hunted me down, I often said that the shoe box was more attractive than the actual shoes inside the box! Attractive and RA-friendly, they were not. It's better now, but there's still a lot of room for improvement. In my next lifetime I think I want to be a shoe designer. Calling all footwear designers: I'd love to work for you as a consultant!

Footwear Criteria

  • They need to feel comfortable when I first try them on. Over the years I've spent a great deal of money buying shoes that ended up adorning the closet.
  • I look for shoes without heels, but sometimes it's hard to tell, especially with running shoes. My solution is to do the "marble test." If it rolls toward the toe, I know that that shoe will put too much pressure on my metatarsal heads (balls of the feet).
  • If you are no longer able to wear your favourite shoes, your shoemaker may be able to help modify them for you, as I described in Budget Tip: Feet Walking Away from Your Favourite Shoes?
  • They need to be easy to put on/take off.
  • The sole must be cushioned and pliable.
  • Heel support is a must.
  • The uppers need to be soft enough that they don't rub and create blisters on my wayward toes.
  • I always check to see if the retailer has a return policy. After they pass the in-store test, I wear them at home on the carpet for a while. If they don't work, I return them.
  • If I find a good pair of shoes, I usually buy two pairs.

My feet will always hurt to some degree, but adhering to the above criteria makes a big difference in how long I last on my feet.

A Word of Caution

Everyone is different. Through trial and error you learn what works for you. Hopefully, not too much trial and error, though.

I once had a surgeon tell me to get shoes that have a hard toe box. As a result ended up with blisters caused by the rubbing, A softer leather or fabric is much more forgiving.

A long time ago, I saw an occupational therapist who recommended these "great shoes from Germany."  I was in agony after wearing these very expensive shoes the first time I put them on. After a few more trials, they moved to the back of the closet.

I have learned to trust myself when it comes to making footwear purchases. My walking projects are important to me. The best way to do them is by having shoes that work for me.

Over to You

What type of shoes work best for you? What have you experienced while shoe shopping?

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