Limited edition Nike Air Max

I’ve never been much of a fan of the Nike Air Max as I’ve always favoured a slimmer, retro trainer than something very typically 90s (though I guess 90s is retro now). Also, since getting arthritis, I don’t think that very chunky shoes are flattering to swollen, chunky ankles, as rather than hiding the swollen ankle, it just adds to the overall mass.

However, as I mentioned, chunky trainers can be super comfortable, and many people with arthritis will find the cushioning beneficial. And as they seem to be in fashion at the moment, it’s nice when your footwear, mediated by necessity, suddenly becomes the cool choice.

Anyway, Nike brought out a super-looking version designed by Sean Wotherspoon, the Air Max 1/97, albeit in limited quantities (of course) and only in men’s sizes (of course).

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Pretty!

 

They were released in the UK on the 24th of March, so I doubt you’ll be able to bag a pair now, but in the US they were only released yesterday so you may be in with a chance.

If you don’t manage to get your hands on a pair, admiring at these shoes has made me appreciate the design more: I like the fluid curves of the shoe, it’s very iconic, and I think if you like a chunkier trainer or a 90s aesthetic, these do look really good.

My favourite colour is the black, mainly because I’m in a black-trainer mood at the moment:

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Nike Air Max 97 ultra 17: £145

but I think that if you really want to embrace the 90s aesthetic, you should really go for a metallic pair. When the originals were designed, futurism was an important part of 90s aesthetic: the internet was kicking off in a big way, sci-fi was in, the new millennium was coming, people thought that all computers would stop working at the turn of the millennium and we’d have some sort of dark age… they were simpler, interesting times. These metallic cashmere ones are very nice: metallic, but not in your face, a hint of millennial rose-gold. Perfect for 2018:

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Nike Air Max 97: £140

 

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Hot Toast

Toast (the shop, not the bread product) is a bit of a British institution. It’s been around for about 20 years has promoted simple, functional clothing long before hipsters started getting obsessed about the quality of denim. It has its own style, rather than fashion, and sells its inspirational lifestyle as much as pieces.

Now, I don’t find the clothes at Toast suit me. I like and admire them but having large boobs and hips, I find that the ‘simple’ style looks a bit bag-like on me as things tend to hang off the boobs:

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Cotton poplin smock dress: £135 (was £195)

I love this look, the simple lines of the dress, the socks, the masculine shoes, but it would not suit me at all. The clothes are also really expensive. However, I do like the shoes they sell at Toast: simple, functional and beautiful is what I need. They sell a lot of high quality flat shoes; however, again they are expensive, so think investment pieces rather than high-fashion.

So, it’s always worth waiting for the sale and as we seem to be having a particularly long winter here in the UK (the snow can do one now, thanks), you might still get a bit of wear out of them this season before getting the summer sandals out of the wardrobe. These would work with trousers and skirts, and the chelsea boots are, especially, a real bargain:

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Cheaney Noah: £135 (was £275)
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Cheaney Noah chelsea boots: £135 (was £310)
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Ida boots: £175 (was £350)

If you can’t bear the thought of buying more boots, they do have sandals in the sale, from the brand ‘Mudlark’, of which I was previously unaware:

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Mudlark sandal: £55 (was £165)

Of course, the real stars are the sandals for next season, although they’re full price of course. Although these all caught my eye, the Chie Mihara are a particular favourite. I’ve heard lots of good things about the Spanish brand, which has a pretty, retro styling. It’s worth checking out their website here too:

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Chie Mihara sandals: £259
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Fracap Luca sandals: £165
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Teva sandal: £65
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N.D.C Sara sandals: £180

Chunky trainers

Dad trainers, ugly trainers… whatever you want to call them are ‘in’. Who’d’ve thunk it?

Fashion is a fickle and ridiculous thing  — not that that is a criticism. People do pay a lot of money for the whims of looking ‘fresh’ and on-trend, and some times I understand it, and sometimes I don’t. I understand it more than paying the same amount as some shoes as for a season ticket to watch some men chase a ball around a field. At least I have some control over the shoes, but I digress.

Fashion, as I’ve mentioned before, is not always kind to those with health issues, which is fine for me as I’m not a massive slave to the trendy in any case, but I find that fashion can be fun, and it can be a good way to make peace with a body that doesn’t always do what you want it to do. For this reason, when you find a fashion trend that is positively useful for your disability or condition it’s a real boon. Not only will your preferred clothes/footwear be filling the shops, giving you far greater choice, but you can find new inspiration and different ways of styling something that you may be bored with. Pinterest is a good place to look:

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Image from Pinterest

So, now it’s the turn of chunky trainers. Apart from the Adidas NMDs, I’m much more of a retro trainer kind of girl, so I’ve been sort of ignoring this trend. However, I was recently reminded of a time, several years ago when I was waiting for an operation, when walking in a pair of Adidas gazelles would have been unbearable, and would have had to resort to running-trainers or similar. So, I decided to write this post, as my younger self would’ve found it useful.

So, my favourite chunky trainer, aside from the NMD, would probably be the Nike Huarache. They’re supportive, I like the heel strap because it adds interest, and they have a nice rolling sole (something I talked about here; basically, it helps you walk with less effort and is good if you have arthritis). They sell at about £90, but you can customise your own pair on the website, which is quite a cool thing to do because I like stuff with my name on them:

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Nike customised huarache: £109.95

Another option, if you want to keep a retro profile, with some chunky trainer comfort is the New Balance 574. They come in some nice retro colours, like this orange suede:

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New Balance 574: £70

However, it’s worth mentioning that these are very much in the fashion-trainer category, and if you’re struggling with arthritis, you may want to use this chunky trainer trend to wear proper running shoes that are designed to keep your joints stable and support your feet when you hit the floor.

Whilst we’re on New Balance then, the 1260v7 are very supportive and cushioning and excellent for over-pronators:

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New Balance 1260v7: £135

They’re especially good for people with toe issues as they have a wide toe-box, and are available in different widths, so you can really tailor the shoes to your body. They are pretty colourful, but that’s in at the moment too. Next to these Stella McCartney designer trainers, they look positively wall-flower:

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Stella McCartney Eclypse: £450

It is, however, harder to find good running trainers in classic colours (i.e. black or white), but the Asics gel-kayano is not only very supportive and cushioning, it comes in black and a very inoffensive peach, though it does run narrow:

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Asics gel-kayano: £158
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Asics gel-kayano: £150

 

 

There is then the question of what to wear them with. The answer is of course, whatever you want, but for myself I would steer away from anything else ‘athe-leisure’ for fear of looking a bit Vicky Pollard. Contrast seems to work better on me, so smart tailoring or floaty skirts and dresses are what I’d choose:

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Images from Pinterest

 

 

There’s no business like snow business

I realise that a post about snow, in March, is a very UK-centric post. Perhaps I should have written this post last year when winter started, but the UK gets a fair whack of snow so rarely I don’t think I would have written anything sensible. However, the UK had a bit of a polar vortex thing going on, and what do you know? I remembered that snow is a special thing for arthritic people and it takes a lot of work, so here are my top tips if staying inside all day isn’t an option:

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WALK ME, HUMAN

Forget style, this is about survival

This doesn’t mean you have to look a mess, but function has to come first. You can get good-looking waterproofs and boots, but the main thing is that you stay dry so you can stay warm. So, no high-street boots, you need snow boots (which I covered at length here, here and here), and I wear the thickest socks I can in mine. Snow isn’t slippery, but it’s hard to walk through because you sink into it, a good pair of boots (not too high to give your joints freedom to move) is key to not getting cold toes and exhausted legs.

All your base are belong to us

A good warm base layer makes all the difference. Vests and leggings are an important insulating layer and should be close-fitting. I prefer merino vests for warmth, and I find a raglan sleeve he most comfortable (where the sleeve continues up to the neck rather than been stitched in at the shoulder):

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Icebreaker merino vest: £75

They are expensive, however, and you may feel too hot if you’re spending time inside as well as out. Uniqlo have a lighter, cheaper, alternative:

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Uniqlo heattech vest: £12.90

Waterproof

Head to toe waterproofing is what you’re aiming for, so a good coat with a hood that closes around your face. I have this one from protected species, and it not only looks great, it is really high functioning too:

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Protected species parka: £225

It’s not cheap, but I get a lot of wear out of it, and it’s good enough to wear when I out and about in the city so I don’t need a ‘walking coat’ for the hills and a ‘stylish mac’ like I had previously. One coat to rule them all. I sized up because I like to wear two fleeces underneath.

Waterproof trousers are a bit ick. No one likes them, but if you spend a bit of money and don’t go for the plastic over-pants style, they look OK. A bit like you’re going snowboarding:

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Gnarly snow, bruh

I have these Paramo mountaineering trousers.

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Paramo ventura : £230

Yes they’re also expensive, but I wear them every day from October to April to walk my dog, and they have lasted me for years. If you have a lower budget, then ski/snowboarding clothes are where it’s at. There is such a range of price options that there is something to suit all budgets. Check out Decathlon for cheap sports wear, and don’t forget the gloves! Cold, wet hands are the worst! I wear ski gloves in the winter, but if you need to maintain your dexterity, Sealskins do the best waterproof gloves.

 

Ice, Ice, Baby

After the snow comes the inevitable thaw, and the re-freeze, and this is where your problems lie because snow is one thing, but ice is where it gets hard. Mainly because you can’t see it so easily, and when you slip, arthritic joints lack the stability to keep you upright. I’ve found that even my snowboots don’t give me fail-safe ice grip, so when it’s really icy, I use shoe chains with my snowboots, which just pull over the sole:

 

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They’re easy to pop on and off, which is important because wearing these on regular floor is unpleasant. I bought mine from Amazon, and the brand I have (Rud Bergsteiger) aren’t available, but there are plenty of others available for around £10–£20.

I hope this is useful, stay safe.

Ancient Greek Big Buckle

Sorry it’s been a bit quiet on the blog as of late, to be honest I haven’t seen that much to inspire me in the shops for next season. Also, it’s not really spring yet, and nobody wants to read a post about me moaning about British weather and being bored of wearing boots all the time (note to self: I would love to read a blog where people moaned about the British weather).

I do like the latest offering from Ancient Greek Sandals, however. Their ‘big buckle’ style has been out for a while, but only in the slides (and you know how I feel about shoes with no backs). Now, there are more feet-friendly shoes available, and I’m rather taken with the Anesi:

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Ancient Greek Sandals Anesi: €145

They come in classic red, navy or white, and there’s something about that big buckle that looks pleasingly retro… a bit like the Scholl shoes my Nanna used to wear:

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I’m not a big fan of platform shoes either, because you ankles have to work harder to move your feet, but the Clio version are also very cute, and if you don’t have ankle trouble, these shoes would be a good way of getting a height boost, without losing any comfort, as the heel to sole height ratio looks perfect:

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Ancient Greek Sandals Clio: €180

They come in silver and white too, but this pink is just gorgeous: the colour block stripes on the sole are just right.

Dr Woo x Converse

Even if you’re not into tattoos (and I have written about my tattoo thoughts here), you can’t deny that the delicate work of California-based Dr Woo is something special, and he’s well worth following on instagram for the artistry alone.

Now, even if you can’t get to California, you can have a little bit of Dr Woo’s magic via a Converse collaboration. The very special limited edition, personally tattooed and signed-leather high-tops were released today, at the eye-watering price of $1,095, but for us mere mortals, the cheaper, non-signed fabric version will be available online from the 20th of January 2018, not that these haven’t been touched by the artistry of Dr Woo, just check out the detail on the fly on the toe:

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I’ll have to come clean and say that I recently had a big shoe clear-out and gave away my marble patterned Chuck-II high-tops to someone who would wear them more than me, as they just weren’t comfortable enough… not terrible, but the flatness of the sole always had me reaching for a different pair of trainers. However, I know that many people find the flexibility of Converse good for their feet, so if you love Converse and want to treat yourself to some art, check this collaboration out, as these are exquisite.

 

New year, new trainers

And just like that [snaps fingers] it was 2018.

We’re well into 2018 now, but I got very busy before Christmas, then got flu, then had to catch up on all the work I didn’t do because of the busy/flu’y situation so it’s only now that I am blogging. I am sure everyone found suitable Christmas party solutions/had a lovely Christmas/picked up a bargain in the sales so I’m going to just gloss over all that excitement and get back to blogging about awesome shoes for arthritic girls (and guys) who still want to look cool.

So, my beloved Adidas gazelles finally died just before Christmas after being worn to death, and my first thought was, naturally, to buy more gazelles. However, the question of the correct colour combination reared its head, and as I was trying to determine what I really wanted, it came to me: I wanted leopard-print trainers.

Leopard goes with everything (except maybe more leopard, but you know what, if you want to go full Big Cat then do it, if 2017 has shown anything it’s that rules are just an abstraction) and it looks especially smart with black, which makes up 90% of my winter wardrobe (and also my heart).

So, there is a lot of choice around at the moment, at a range of prices. In the end, I went with the Air and Grace trainers, because I was so impressed with their espadrilles in the summer:

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Air and Grace Copeland: £159

Air and Grace have memory-foam in the soles and provide a lovely cushioning when you walk but without being unsupportive. They also look really good, and really pep up an outfit based around black jeans, which is basically my go-to on dark mornings when I have 5 minutes to get dressed before the school run. They are a little heavier than I was expecting (it’s not a massive issue, but it’s worth noting if you get tired legs).

Other notable mentions that competed for my attention included these Hush trainers, I really liked the black facing edges, but they are quite expensive (though they do look very classy, check out the gold lace tips):

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Hush leo: £170

At the other end of the price spectrum, New Look has these reduced from an already bizarrely low £19.99 (I mean, how is it possible to pay someone a reasonable wage on top of materials, if the shoes cost only this much?) They don’t look cheap though, I really like the colour and the velvet, although the soles look maybe a little thick to give a comfortable flex:

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New Look velvet leopard trainer: £12.50

If you need a wide shoe, Superga are a really good bet, and this mini-leopard is currently in the sale, reduced from £55:

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Superga 2750 spotted: £27.50

And finally, if you prefer a traditional sporty trainer shape, rather than he flatter soles of the sneaker styles, Scandinavian brand Woden, which have ultra-lightweight, cushioning cork insoles, have a leopard offering, which is currently in the sale:

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Woden leopard: £60

And although this is not leopard, an honourable mention goes to the new Rogue Matilda sneakers. I love everything about these: the colours, the heart on the heel… [spoiler alert] these will probably be my next trainer purchase:

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Rogue Matilda cow sweetheart: £179

Just need to save up a bit first…