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4 ESSENTIAL SPRING SHOE TRENDS
& MY PICKS FOR ORTHOTIC & AFO DEPENDENT FASHIONISTAS

This spring is all about patterns and feminine details. Some of the hottest shoe trends we’re seeing include knots and bows, stripes, pearl and bead embellishments.

In my last post, Seasonal Self-Pity Syndrome, I give tips for coping with the ”poor me” blues that some of us who have foot neuropathy, and use orthotics, experience each spring.

I’ve learned through the emails I have received via Trend-ABLE.com, that numerous AFO wearers were completely unaware (before reading the blog) that, depending on the brand and type of orthotic/AFO, and the physical condition of the person needing them, open toe sandals and kitten wedge heels were even a possibility.

As a person severely affected by Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder, which gets progressively worse, I have worn several different types and styles of AFOs. At 47 years old (I started wearing braces in my late 20’s), an entire world of fashion that I thought was gone forever has now been opened up to me once again.

With that said, the following shoe recommendations, are just that: recommendations. I have tried each pair and know that they fit my two AFOs and my abilities. I look for shoes that have sturdy, not flimsy, leather backs, and enough depth at the opening to allow my fused (no movement) ankles to get in. I also look for shoes that stay secure on the feet. For example, ankle-high sandals with ties and flats with elastic straps across. Of course, if you have hand neuropathy, velcro closures are a bonus feature.

The following shoes may or may not work for you. If not, use the shoes as inspiration and motivation to find ones that you like and that work for you. Deal?!

Bows & knots

Spring fashion trends that afo wearers who have CMT or MS can wear

I love this stylish and sophisticated shootie (sandal/boot/shoe) called the Annika. It is faux leather and suede and comes in 4 colors. I’m loving the blue. It also has a flexible, skid-resistant sole, and a grooved bottom for extra grip. It comes in 2x wide. There is a back zipper.

Shop the Annika shootie!

Spring fashion trends that afo wearers who have CMT or MS can wear

This adorable faux suede sandal is by Sole Diva and comes in several colors. The low heel is flattering when flats are your only option as the toes are slightly pointed. I would wear this shoe to a summer wedding or dress-up event. It also comes in 2x wide, so the strap extends far enough to buckle over an AFO.

Shop the Sole Diva sandal!

Embellishments

Spring fashion trends that afo wearers who have CMT or MS can wear

This sandal is called the Ashlyn. I am in love with the beaded ethnic print which also comes in shades of blue. It has a secure tie closure to ensure fit and memory foam insoles. The bottoms are slip resistant and the platform is 1 1/2 inches high, but even across.

Shop the Ashlyn sandal!

Spring fashion trends that afo wearers who have CMT or MS can wear

This super cute kitten wedge sandal is called the Alondra. It also comes in black and white. The gold looks cute dressed up or with jeans. The sole is nonskid, and it features elastic gore for a secure fit. This sandal comes in 2x wide.

Shop the Alondra wedge sandal!

Spring fashion trends that afo wearers who have CMT or MS can wear

This simple sandal is one of my favorites. It also comes in black and features a hand-friendly adjustable velcro ankle strap. The t-strap is a classic style, and the faux pearl studs are on-trend. The grooved bottom provides extra grip and fall prevention. This comes in 2x wide.

Find the Annalise sandal here!

Stripes & Floral Prints

Spring fashion trends that afo wearers who have CMT or MS can wear

A striped canvas Mary-Jane flat that’s super comfortable. The footbed is padded, and the buckle is adjustable. This shoes comes in wide width but runs large.

Shop the Mary-Jane!

Spring fashion trends that afo wearers who have CMT or MS can wear

A cute and comfy sneaker that comes in 3x width. I was able to slip it on without much effort but would definitely cut the tongue down the center for more flexibility. This is a non-slip shoe that’s easy to wear.

Shop the Maisy sneaker!

Spring fashion trends that afo wearers who have CMT or MS can wear

Extra-wide width, trendy shoes are not easy to find, especially for under $50. These canvas espadrilles have modern floral embroidery, and a provide security as they tie at the ankle. I always double-tie lace wrap shoes.

Shop the Vanessa flat!

What do you think? Do any of these styles speak to you?


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15 Comments

  1. I like a few of these…my questions is, how do you wear the AFO plate right under your bare foot? Isn’t that extremely uncomfortable?? I put the AFO under the shoes insole or take it out and use mine…Please let me know as I am soooooo over wearing sneakers and would love to get some cute sandals! Thanks!

    • Hi Donna,

      All of these questions are great but depend upon your afo brand/style and your physical condition. I wear the Allard Blue Rocker brace. My orthotist glues a very thin foam insole to the bottom and cuts it to fit. The sandals do not have insoles and the shoes above I ordered in double wide. I did not have to remove the insoles as they were wide & deep enough . In other shoee, I do.

  2. Thanks for this advice on the insoles Lainie!! I never thought to ask about having one put on the afo itself…DUH!! I get new AFO’s in a couple of weeks and that’s the first thing I am asking for!! I’m with Donna, I am so done with sneakers all the time!! Thanks again hon😊

  3. I take all or most of my new shoes to a shoe repair shop. They extend the straps, cut away and insert leather/nylon where needed, stretch them, they are very creative. They can also put a zipper in cowboy boots.

  4. Hi on those Lowe’s sneakers, does you brace stay flat in there. I always assumed I needed a lace up shoe to keep the brace in place?????

  5. Love your blog! Do you have any recommendations for shoes that will fit the lovely thick, hard plastic AFO’s that are molded for your foot? I wore ToeOffs for many years and had a pretty easy time finding shoes that fit them, but I have ‘graduated’ to the thick plastic ones and have not been able to wear anything but sneakers since. The thick molded foot area is a real problem.

  6. Hi,

    I do understand Deirdra as I used to have the same plastic kind. There was a company (I can help find) who sold afo covers and They allowed me yo wear sandals. Many of the shoes I listed come in EEE width. You never know until you try right? Please reach out if you have any questions 😀

  7. Thanks so much for your information. I have one braces for 14 years and it’s been a nightmare. I recently moved to California and one would think that there would be good orthotist here but I have not been successful in finding any.. Your blog helps to know that there are other people out here struggling.

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