What not to wear, but sod it, wear them anyway

It’s a rare moment in Shoeslifeblog towers that I sit back and think to myself, ‘well, I seem to have enough shoes at the moment, I do not wish to buy anything right now’. However, recently, that’s how I have been feeling, and I think the reason for this is that, although there are many beautiful shoes around at the moment, they’re not particularly good for dodgy feet. They mainly fall into these categories:

  • backless loafers
  • backless slides and mules
  • ballet pumps
  • strappy sandals that wrap round your ankle

The first two are everywhere, and in so many tempting designs, like these lobster shoes from Kurt Geiger. These would look great with a casual t-shirt and pair of jeans. Oh, how I have been tempted:

KG otter loafers: £130

The problem with backless shoes is that in order to not kick them off when you walk, you have to arch your feet, and this movement will exacerbate any bone issues you may have in the foot. I do wear backless birkenstocks in the summer, but I’ve come to realise that there are better shoes out there for walking, but the moulded, rigid foot-bed on birkenstocks does a lot to keep your feet supported and prevent arching, so if they work for you, stick with them. Free People have this lovely metallic pair I’ve been eyeing up but there are much cheaper ones available on the birkenstock website and other outlets:

Arizona Birkenstocks: £118

An alternative to the backless loafer is, of course, the non-backless, and I do like the lightening bolt and lobster design on these from Mango, but let’s be honest, they’re not as nice as the Kurt Geiger ones (though half the price, they look it):

Mango loafers: £59.99

Also from Mango, I really like, but have no intention of buying because I know I will be kicking them off all over the pavement, these pompom slides:

Mango pompom slides: £49.99

They won’t break the bank and really go with the boho–pompom trend that shows no sign of going away. Even if you don’t feel comfortable in a floaty dress made of fabric wisps and embroidery (my boobs can’t do this sort of dress, having a bra ruins the effect), your feet can get in on the boho act:

Freepeople boho dress: £88. My boobs are laughing…

Ballet pumps are the next big no-no. People assume that, because they’re flat they must be good for people who can’t wear heels. However, if you can’t wear heels because your foot bones are not quite right, ballet shoes are not your friend because they’re so unsupportive. Any kind of pavement-pounding distance means your joints have to be really stable to avoid any over- or under-pronation. The soles are also very thin because of the lack of shock-absorption in the sole and so the cartilage in your joints has to take all the shock (and if you don’t have the cartilage, the bone is taking that shock). They do, however, look very simple and pretty, and they go with anything, so if you know you’re not doing a lot of moving about, or you’re on grass they’re not a terrible idea. Zara has some nice ballet pumps at the moment, I love the interchangeable ribbons (if you can find out how to try them on; this is a real bugbear I have with Zara. Am I supposed to sit on the floor? I can’t just stand on one leg, I will fall over):

Zara leather ballet pumps: £29.99

And Asos always has a good selection. I like these Charlotte Olympia copies inspired ballet pumps:

Asos Lexa ballet pumpsLexa ballet pumps: £25

The opposite problem to having backless shoes is having too much back. It’s not that I can’t have shoes that go around the ankle, but when it’s the only thing keeping the shoe on your feet it puts a lot of strain on the ankle joint. So, these beautiful Boden sandals, that are just so pretty it hurts, are off-limits to me (Boden shoes not being that comfortable to start with, they are narrow):

Boden tassel sandal: £85

And likewise these Kurt Geiger shoes, that look like they have celebratory bunting:

KG Raphy: £65

The most supportive shape is to have straps across the shoe too,  like on these beautifully simple Cara sandals:

Apedi cara: £80

But the caveat is that the straps around the ankle can’t be too tight, in order to give some movement. This is harder with shoes like espadriles or laced ballet shoes, where the ribbon is supposed to criss-cross up the leg rather than pool around the ankle:

Zara espadrilles: £45.99
Mango velvet sandals: £19.99

It’s not that any of these shoes are off-limits or will damage your feet, you just have to be aware that you might not find them as comfortable as people without foot problems. I certainly have been disappointed by people raving about the comfort factor of a pair of shoes, only to find them lacking support and hurting my feet. I think you have to factor that in the price, because you’re not going to enjoy wearing them as much (though for the Mango velvet sandals, at £20 these are a bargain!).




Author: shoeslifeblog

Being diagnosed with osteoarthritis didn't stop me loving shoes, so I've spent many years seeking shoes that weren't awful for my joints yet weren't awful on the eye. I have learnt that not all shoes are equal, and it is possible to wear amazing shoes while having arthritis (and other leg issues). I try out shoes so you don't have to.

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