Getting it right the first time

As  I’ve said before, I don’t always find shopping for new shoes easy, and I don’t always find it enjoyable either. However, last week I went on a new shoe hunt that was a totally different experience to what I would normal have.

I noticed that I was getting a hole in the pair of boots that I wear when I’m not leaving the house in my splints for whatever reason. I always seem to wear the toes on the away because of the way that my feet scrape along the ground when I walk. It doesn’t always take long for this to happen either. But I have to have some different to wear when I’m not using my splints because I need to get a bigger size when my splints are involved so that there’s room for them to go inside.

We’ve had quite a lot of rain here recently and I don’t really like getting wet feet, (who does?), so I knew that, as much as I didn’t want to do it, it was time to hit the shops and look for something new. I decided to do it while I was out with my mum, so that she could help me with any that I decided to try on. I pictured us going round loads of shops and it taking me quite a while to find anything suitable for me, or that I would feel comfortable in.

Oh, how wrong I was.

This time, we were really lucky.

“What about something like this?” Mum asked, holding up a pair of brown boots. They were lined inside too so they would help keep my feet warm. I also quite liked them, but I’m always prepared to buy whatever I can get that seems like it will be okay, even if they aren’t always the things that I would choose based on appearance alone.

I tried them on, but I was also trying really hard not to get my hopes up, just in case.

But…

They actually seemed really comfy, and I felt pretty okay walking in them. It really wasn’t a hard choice. I decided to get them. They were only the first ones I’d looked at but I knew that I didn’t need to look any further. I had found my new boots.

Getting the right ones straight away is something that hardly ever happens on my shoe shopping trips. Sometimes, I come away empty-handed the first time and have to try again on another day. Not that time though, no sir-ee! Needless to say, I was pretty happy about that.

I know that they won’t get worn too often soon once I bed my new splints properly, but I like to have something around that I can turn to if I need to.

I’m hoping to post an update about how I’m getting on with my bedding my day splints in, and also about how I’m finding my new night splints, later this week when I’ve had a bit more time to get used to them.

Still, as fun as that shoe shopping trip turned out to be in the end, I would be quite happy to wait a while before I have to get more new footwear.

The agony of shoe shopping

My callipers
My callipers

As I’ve said before clothes shopping is hard but shoe shopping is harder. Clothes shopping I love, shoe shopping I hate. Well, actually I take that back. I love wondering around shoe shops if I’m just doing it to pass an afternoon, but I really hate trying to find some to buy.

Most of the time, I’m supposed to wear special shoes (like the ones in this photo). As you can see they have holes in the side that my callipers slot into and insoles inside them to help me walk. Sometimes I break the rules and put on something that bought myself from a normal high street store. I don’t do this very often but if the boots or my callipers have been rubbing my feet and legs it’s just nice to have a change in pressure points. I scrape my shoes along the floor when I walk too so I wear the toes out quite quickly so when I see something in a shop that’s suitable for me and fits, I often buy in bulk for “just in case” days.

Finding something to wear is a challenge though, because there’s way more types of footwear that I’m not allowed to wear than things I can. I’ve never worn a flip-flop, slip on shoes fall off me because of the way I walk, and high heels are a no-go for so many reasons. This pretty much limits me to boots and trainers. Even then I have to find ones that offer me enough support around the ankles, don’t come off at really inappropriate times and that I can actually balance in. Oh, and then there is the small matter of shoe laces. I think it’s fair to say that when it comes to hunting out that new bit of glam for my feet I have a very specific criteria.

A lot of my friends, both disabled and able-bodied, male and female, tell me that they all too have their own set of needs and I’m not alone. Some hate stilettos, others dread buying trainers and a few hate trying to find something they can wear to work.

In my head I know that I too would probably avoid anything with a heel over an inch anyway and I personally think that flip-flops look really painful on your toes, but it’s the fact that I know I can’t wear them that makes me drool over them all the more. It’s kind of how I imagine it feels to give up chocolate.

The first pair of shoes I think I remember getting that I didn’t wear with some kind of splint that I thought was special were a pair of white and silver dolly shoes that I was allowed to get for a family wedding. Because they had elastic straps going over the top we knew they’d stay on. I was really excited and spent the whole day telling anyone who’d listen about them.

My last shoe purchase this year was back in January and they were a pair of red and black trainers. I don’t wear them often because I can’t get them on by myself and I don’t want to wear them out too quickly like I do with all my others. I may not be able to buy many pairs, but I more than make up for this with my bag collection, which is huge.