How to find and wear stylish boots when you wear afos leg braces or orthotics and need wide width and comfort due to charcot marie tooth disease.
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A Foot-Challenged Girl’s Attempt To Find Mr. Right Pair

Shoe shopping sucks in general. It’s a ton of work and rarely satisfying.

My girlfriends (the ones with perfect arches and no cankles) appear to love shoe shopping as much (or maybe even more) than sex. Some women get a visible flushed face high from finding the perfect pair. They sound like giddy teenagers revealing the brand name “They are Stuart Weitzman” of their newest love.

I am always happy for them but can’t relate. My love for shoes is unrequited; they have never loved me back. Like choosing the guy who is nice, and supportive, but not so attractive; women with foot issues often settle for shoes because they fit.

Boot shopping is for sure the most difficult.

My list of must-haves is long.

LAINIE’S BOOT REQUIREMENTS

  • Full top to bottom zipper on the outside of the boots
  • Wide width but not wide calve
  • Flexible suede or leather material
  • Rubber no-slip sole
  • Traction on the no-slip rubber soles
  • No heel or a flatform style
  • 14.5-inch height in order to cover brace
  • Comfortable but not ugly bulky “comfort” shoes
  • Warm & waterproof for a Midwest winter

Are my standards too high?

Should women with foot challenges give up good looks for function?

Be grateful, I tell myself. There are many people who can’t even walk.

Why Should I Settle?

I don’t want to slip on ice and I don’t want to wear ugly boots if I do slip on ice.

Superficial or not, I need both fashion AND function.

So, I spent (no joke) 5 hours+ at two different malls. Seemingly endless hours, scouring every corner of the internet to find boots that would fit and that I would feel good wearing.

After several Amazon returns, I finally found him…

The boots of my disabled girl dreams!

 

I bought these boots two sizes larger than my regular foot size to allow more depth. They have a stretchy back making it easier to stretch over my AFO’s. Most importantly, the outside zipper goes all the way down to the footbed.

These are the Bromley boot by Michael Kors.

http://shopstyle.it/l/Sx5d

They were kind of expensive but given how hard I worked to find them, worth it to me.

Us foot-challenged girls need to stick together and share great finds.

Check out the Trend-Able Store’s boots section to see several ankle and tall options in wide and extra wide sizes

If you have suggestions for boots or shoes that work for your foot issue, please share the love.

Please note that this post has been updated and republished from an earlier date.


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26 Comments

  1. Whaaat!? My hero!!

    I’m a busy executive and recently received my AFOs. I’ve spent HOURS shopping for shoes. I now no longer have anyone go with me as, well, why frustrate them too?!?!

    I’d love to see other shoes you’ve discovered! Wearing AFOs during day would be most helpful… if I could find shoes!!

    Bless you!

  2. This is awesome! I’m a 55 (yikes) year old woman with CMT 1A who wears orthotics and braces and is constantly searching for stylish comfortable footwear. I also enjoy being fit and fashionable. This past fall, I found a pair of boots that hide my braces and opened up a whole new fashion world for me! (They probably thought I was crazy at the last CMTA support group meeting I attended because everyone one was talking about how close we are to a cure and I was like, “Yeah, yeah, but look at my new boots!”) Leggings, skinny jeans, tights with skirts – yes! I ordered them from a specialty shoe store in town and then they did their magic by adding exterior wedges to the soles and heels so I don’t walk on the outsides of my feet and taking in the material in the back so that there is not a huge gap between the boot and my skinny calves. Here is what I got: http://www.propetusa.com/pc_product_detail.asp?key=66DB789821B7428FA7A3AFA913921BE1

  3. Lainie,
    I LOVE your blog! I’m into another fashion & girly! I also wear leg braces. I have found many boots that work with my braces 🙌🏼
    I love summer but I also prefer boot wearing weather! I look forward to more articles. Thank you!

  4. Just bought the Ugg Harington boot. I only have to go up a half size and I have custom AFOs that are pretty big – noodles floor reactor. Works amazing when I take out the insole! And I have orthotics in mine, too, and they fit!

  5. Hey, much appreciated information. My daughter has been trying to find boots for some time. She has had multiple surgerys on both feet, and they are definitely “funky”. These look like they might work. Will look forward to finding out. Thanks for info!

  6. Thank you so much for writing this blog and sharing your finds and experience!

    I have spina bifida and have worn AFOs since I could stand, so as much as I love clothing, I can never wear anything I love due to my AFOs and a physical deformity that requires I wear pants much larger than my actual size to accommodate the deformity (it looks like I’m wearing the pant equivalent of grannie panties). So I too always long for great boots but have never found anything that would work.

    I thought my prayers had been answered when a local company Poppy Barley, started making custom made boots! But after calling and discussing it with them, they said they couldn’t accommodate my needs. (Apparently custom made means: only if you have normal legs because it’s not actually that custom made, it’s made to order).

    So I will definitely be keeping an eye on this blog for tips on clothes and shoes that work!

    • Hi Eva,

      I am so glad you found me & this website. Are you on our Facebook or Instagram page? I would love to hear more about your afos & needs. Please reach out so I can make sure to write posts that will help. 💜 Lainie

  7. Hi Lainie:
    I just spent some quality time at DSW on Friday and found a Cole Haan standard fit boot that somehow fit over my Kinetic Research Noodle AFOs! Here’s the link.
    https://www.dsw.com/en/us/product/cole-haan-cole-haan-corinne-riding-boot/430919?activeColor=001&cm_mmc=emops-_-20181001_order
    They only barely cover the tops of the braces, so I’m seeing if I can find some other options that have a higher shaft. At least now I know what I need to look for. Your post came at just the right time! Thank you for all your research!

    • Hi Reeve,

      Oh those look cute! Yes, for me I want a tall boot that covers the brace so at least a 14.5 15 inch shaft. I bought a few pairs (the ones attached to this post) with all of the qualities I like for under $100. I like that they are extra wide so I actually got my regular size. I think they will work for you too Reeve. 💜💜💜

  8. The boots are lovely, Lainie, well done on finding them. I’m interested to hear you went to the mall for them – I’m always too embarrassed to try shoes on in shops, I always get them by mail order. It’s great that so much is available that way now, but my poor husband spends hours going backwards and forwards to the post office because so many get sent back. I hope this isn’t too personal a question but has CMT affected the shape of your feet much? Mine are so misshapen that I tend to avoid footwear in leather, as it lets the bumps show too much – suede and nubuck seem to hide them better, I think because they’re matt. If you find any suede boots that you think would work with orthotics and braces, I’d be keen to see them – I’m in the UK so they won’t necessarily be available here but they might be. Going to have a look at the Uggs someone mentioned too.

    • Hi Francis,

      Most of the shoes/boots I find are by mail order as stores do not tend to carry wide sizes. I completely understand what you are saying regarding the CMT foot deformities as my mom had this problem too. In general, I prefer suede anyhow because it’s more flexible and easier to maneuver. Did you see the boots I posted at the end ? A few are available on Amazon & are suede, flat & have a side zipper. I will email you the link.

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