How to wear and find adult size boots for afos and orthotics .

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.


  • 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!


Click this image to get a pair of Bromley boots by Michael Kors. Perfect boots for afo braces

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.

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.

Click on the photos below to shop my favorite Afo friendly boots of the season :

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.


      • Lainie, Glad I found your blog. Great looking boots. I’m amazed they fit over your AFOs. Gives me hope. I have one brace I desparately need Winter boots. Not dress boots, but waterproof, snow boots. I have googled and googled different combos of “women’s winter boots that accomadate AFO brace” and the same few show up, but not showing how the heck they could possibly fit a brace and a foot into them. Any suggestions. I’m not looking for style just warmth, dry, nonslip and easy to put on.

  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:

    • Thank you for shared. Every time wear tennis o sneakers. I hope to find the size and that they do not bother me. It has been very frustrating for me to change.

  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!

      • Hi Lainie,
        I’m new to the AFO world. The only shoes I have now are Brooks sneakers 8.5 double wide. I usually wear a 7.5 regular. Will I need to size up in boots like I did for sneakers? My AFO’s are made by Thuasne and I’m wearing the Spry Step model. It has a molded foot bed that wraps around my foot to hold it in a neutral position. Thanks so much for publishing this blog – it’s so incredibly helpful.

        • Hi Carolyn,

          Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to write. Yes, definitely size up with boots. You will do best with the ones that have a completely removable foot bed in at least an extra wide. Please feel free to reach out to me via Facebook or email if you have any questions about a specific shoe and I can give you my opinion for what it’s worth 😄

  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 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.

    • Hi Frances, just found this blog now…. did you find any shoes/boots? I am in Ireland, and misshapen feet also! Having serious trouble finding boots that fit (small/lumpy feet!)

  9. Hi Lanie,
    I have been stalking your blog for a few months now and today is the first time I am leaving a reply. First I want to say thank you for your research and diligence for awesome foot wear for foot challenged people. While I don’t have CMT I do wear an AFO for foot drop one similar to yours. I was diagnoses with Multiple Sclerosis late last year and received my AFO early this year and so far my foot wear has been sneakers. So coming across your blog was a godsend especially today since I found a Motto boot on the Lane Bryant site. So thank you for giving me hope in my shoe game again.
    Be Bless
    Jessical J

    • Hi Jessica,

      Thank you for stalking ?. I am sorry about your diagnosis and having to need an afo but so happy you found a pair of boots that you like and that will hopefully get you out of sneakers all the time . Those are super cute and I hope they work for you . Please keep me posted ok? ?

  10. Hi Lainie,

    I just randomly came across your site searching about info. on CMT and I absolutely love it!

    I developed a rare peripheral neuropathy as a young child over 30 years ago. I have spent literally hundreds of hours and more money than I would care to count trying to find perfect footwear that is both fashionable and comfortable for me. Over the years I have found a few tricks that have worked well for me.

    I don’t like braces or AFOs so I delved into the world of “homemade orthopedics” and found that MMA neoprene ankle braces combined with a good boot do the trick rather nicely for foot stability and prevent my foot drop while still having some ankle flexibility. That’s an understatement – this trick has changed my life! I can wear so many different boots now.

    For a more causal sporty look on the weekends I like to just wear lace-up high-tops that are either racing or boxing inspired. I find that depending on the pair and construction I may not even need the MMA ankle braces underneath – which can be hot to wear in warmer weather. If they only come in men’s sizing I just Google for a chart to figure out the appropriate women’s sizing. I have a good assortment of these and use them when I know that I will be walking for a long time.

    MMA Neoprene ankle braces (eBay is always a good source):

    If I can’t find anything on North American websites I check out the they UK version of eBay because they always seem to have more selection.

    I promise to post any of my great finds!

    From one Lainie & fashionista to another thank you so much for your blog 🙂

  11. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing all of your experiences. I found you through Pinterest when I accidentally put AFO in the Pinterest search bar when I meant to find some info on the web. What a fortuitous mistake! I’ve had MS for 20 years but am new to AFOs. Whilst they definitely help my foot drop and stability, they hurt my sense of fashion! I figured I could only wear them with runners and if I wanted to dress up, I’d have to go without. But you inspired me to hit the mall and see what I could find. I went to two malls and many stores but eventually found 4 pairs that worked (at Aldo and Call it Spring, in Canada). If I’d been willing to go a size up I could have found more, but I trip over my toes already so didn’t want to add to that difficulty. I feel so much more like myself now that I can wear shoes and clothes that I like and am comfortable in. Thank you!

  12. Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for writing ! I’m not so much the “it was fate” type but I think it’s not just a coincidental mistake?. I’m so so glad you found the website and hope you subscribed and also follow on the Facebook or Insta page so we can virtually meet. How cool that you found some great shoes – even in Canada ?. I get how hard it is to find shoes and I am happy you were successful. ? Lainie

  13. Hi Laine
    Any tips for small (size 1-2 UK) feet, I wear custom made insoles (not AFO’s), but my feet are very wide and need boot support at ankle? Till now I wore Orthotics, not very fashionable and very expensive….
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for reading! Is that equivalent to a size 5? If yes, have you checked out my latest post on Revere? They ship to the UK. Also, there are many cute shoes that are wide in that size…My daughter (age 18)wears a size 5 too so I’m familiar. Please email for links

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment