How to wear spring shoes with AFOs

This post has been republished and updated to reflect current styles. Please note that the post includes affiliate links that offer a very small commission when used. Using my links does not cost you any additional money.

INTRO:

If you wear afos (or orthotics) like I do, then you know how hard it can be to find shoes in general, let alone ones that are actually stylish. Believe me, I get it.

After becoming a full time afo wearer, I would get depressed at the beginning of each new season & feel sorry for myself because I thought my days of wearing cute shoes & clothing were over. I actually wrote an entire post on the subject filled with tips for coping with self-pity when you wear afos/leg braces which you can read here.

But, It’s because of my own struggles with self-esteem that I’ve made it one of my missions to empower other people with chronic conditions to look and feel their best. After years of wearing different types of afos including the white hard plastic kind), I found that with a little creativity & resourcefulness, I can wear cute shoes, sandals, and even some kitten style wedges. You can read more about this here.

In my last post on cute afo friendly transition booties, I gave winter the bootie. Now, I’m all about Spring. What follows are 4 Spring Shoe Trends and links to several afo and orthotic friendly styles I’m loving this season.

Please keep in mind that not all afos & abilities are the same. I am neither a doctor nor an orthotist (eg. don’t sue me) and the shoes below are just my own personal recommendations. If they do not work for you, keep trying until you find ones that do. As my mom used to tell me, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

I can’t wait to hear what you think of these trends. Let me know which pair is your favorite in the comments section below:

Xoxo

Lainie

1. ANIMAL PRINT

snake skin sandals to be worn with AFOs
Black and white polka dot boots to be worn with braces

Whether it’s zebra, snake, or leopard, animal prints of any kind, are back in force  again this season. The snakeskin sandals pictured are available in a double wide width. This feature along with the fact that they have adjustable velcro closures, makes them an ideal sandal that will fit many types of afos. The cute leopard bootie is perfect for orthotic wearers, as it’s insoles are removable and can be replaced with your own. This shoe will also fit some non bulky styles of afos but since it comes only in a regular width, it’s best to size up.

2. FLORAL PATTERNS

Wedge sandals to wear with AFOs
stylish boots to wear with AFOs

This season is all about embellishments & patterns, especially floral ones. I love the floral print on the soles of this cute pair of adjustable velcro sandals. They will work for most afo and orthotic wearers as the entire footbed is removable. The floral ankle high bootie offers built in ankle support. This boot will work for orthotic wearers as the insole is removable.

3. PERFORATED LEATHER

fashion sandals to wear with leg braces
cute spring shoes to wear with ankle braces

Laser cut and perforated fabric details are all the rage third season. I’m loving the look of this flat metallic sandal as it can be dressed up or done. It is available in a wide width & has a back zipper for better access. The cute perforated sneaker shown comes in a variety of colors including a metallic silver. The sneaker can be worn by many afo wearers as it is available in an extra wide width.

4. TEVAS

Teval Sandals to be worn with ankle or leg braces
Recommended sandals to wear with AFOs

Would you believe that socks with sandals is actually in style? Yeah me either, but it’s true. The “grandpa shoe style” as its called, is great for anyone with feet issues. I have a pair of these awesome flatform style Tevas. They are waterproof and fit my afos easily. For a more sophisticated take on the old school Teva, I’m loving the velcro suede sandals in dusty pink above.

Shop All The Spring Shoe Trends:

24 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.

    • Great question that I ask every time I attempt to buy another pair of shoes – will my AFO fit inside the shoe? After over a year of searching, and going through 3 braces, I’ve found that the Step Smart brace works great. It has a shorter foot plate, is very low profile to go over my pants, and fits nicely inside boots and shoes from Anodyne (double wide width). I too, slide the brace under a pair of insoles and custom inserts without issue. I am also in search of a pair of sandals and canvas flats for the upcoming summer months. Wish me luck on my search!

  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.

  8. Hi,
    I’m so excited I just found this page. After five years of sneakers I’m desperate for more options. It’s great reading the comments and responses and knowing others are struggling with the same issue.

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’m so excited you found this page as well! I hear you when it comes to wanting more options than sneakers & I’m happy to share my finds. I would love to get to know you. If you haven’t already liked our Facebook page, please do as we are all a group of positive people sharing tips and hacks for looking & feeling good despite our various physical challenges. Happy New Year!

  9. I started wearing AFOs a couple of months ago and because of one of your other posts, went out and found some boots that accommodated the braces. Like you, I’m *almost* sad to see the warmer weather come meaning I can’t hide behind my boots anymore! But, I hit the second hand shops and found 3 maxi dresses and had planned to wear sneakers with them, but thanks to this post, was inspired to see if I could find sandals that worked. Thanks to a very helpful salesperson at Ronsons I found a couple of pairs that would do, and one pair that was perfect. They’re not my normal style, but they’re cute, accommodate my AFOs (Allard ToeOff 2.0), and provide support. (https://www.ronsons.ca/products/womens-earth-lehi-150?color=BLACK). They weren’t cheap, but I think they’ll be worth it. They’re strappy enough that I don’t think anyone will even notice the braces when I wear them with my ‘new’ maxi dresses. Your blog has been a life-saver for my self-esteem and confidence. THANK YOU!

    • Jennifer,

      I’m not sure why I didn’t get notice of this comment so sorry for delayed response. Your amazing and wonderful comment really made my day! It’s been a rough one as we had to put one of our dogs done unexpectedly. But, I love that you’ve embraced the maxi dress & found a couple of pairs of shoes that work. I hope to see photos via Messenger when you wear them this summer. I’m a thrift store girl too btw. If you get a chance please copy & paste this comment to Facebook . I’m starting to ask so that my Page gets more views & people can find us. ????

      • I am so, so sorry to hear about your dog. It’s crazy how much joy and heartbreak these animals can bring to our lives.
        (I’m the only person in the world not on FB, but I’m being worn down so I may surprise myself and sign up yet.)

    • Lisa,

      Thanks for your comment??. You are definitely not the only one. I wear mostly flats and only kitten type wedges with just the right slant & a rubber bottom. Have you ever tried a flatform shoe? It’s my favorite style. You can see some examples in all my shoe posts by searching “shoes” on homepage. Lmk . ?Lainie

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