Shoes for arthritis

vickystod Member Posts: 6
edited 4. Aug 2015, 06:43 in Living with Arthritis archive
I have a rare form of inflammatory arthritis which affects my knees the worst. I'm only 21 and find it a nightmare with shoes. I have to wear orthotic insoles in all my shoes as if I don't, I'm guaranteed to not to be able to walk the next day! I can't wear heels anymore which is so annoying as I love shoes! Does anyone know of comfortable and practical shoes which won't cause me too much pain but are nice fashionable shoes for a 21 year old!?
Thanks :)


  • Starburst
    Starburst Member Posts: 2,546
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Vicky,

    I was diagnosed with RA at 21 and nearly 6 years later, shoes remain a struggle. I am not after fashion shoes, as such, but I do like to look nice. The honest answer is that everyone is different. My feet and ankles are quite badly affected and my gait has changed, so what was good last year may not be so good this year. :? This makes things a tad expensive. On that note, my personal opinion is that you do need to spend some money. Cheap shoes aren't always poorly made but I do think you need to avoid the lower end shops and brands. I'm not saying that you need to splash out on hundreds, just be aware that you often really do get what you pay for.

    Some of the brands that I have worn or have been recommended are; Ecco, Merrell, Kickers and Clarks. I saw a very well respected specialist foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon who suggested running trainers for every day wear. I scoffed at the idea of going to a running shop. However, it was the best money I've ever spent. For work, I am currently wearing Kickers shoes as they accommodate my orthotics and support my ankle. I like them too, which is a massive bonus!

    I am a member of NRAS and in their magazine, they talked about a study of women with RA in their feet. They recommended the Solace brand of shoes;

    Hope this helps!
  • mig
    mig Member Posts: 7,150
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,I use a company called wider fit ,they do all sorts of footwear and you can fit orthotics in them ,they are expensive so I usually wait for their sales and with certain conditions you get vat relief might be worth just having a look at them. Mig
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Shoes are a very individual thing but for someone as young as yourself must be a challenge. I am thankful that I no longer have the pressure of needing to follow trends and looking good :wink: . I used to swear by Crocs because they absorbed the impact of walking so very well but now they are not suitable for a variety of reasons. I am currently alternating between Hotter (fuddy-duddy for you) and Sketchers (OK-ish for me). I tried a Fit-flop trainer-style (briefly) in a shoe shop and crippled myself for hours after.

    I find that things that lace or Velcro up on top of the foot ease the strain on my toes (with flip flops or even ordinary sandals your toes clench to hold the shoe on and this leads to extra aches and pains). I advise you to try in real life before you buy - shoes are one thing that I will not order over the net. Good luck with your search! DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Sharon2960
    Sharon2960 Member Posts: 329
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Vicky

    I know how you feel too! My feet are very painful much of the time too - my consultant advised not to wear completely flat shoes, but to have a very slight heel. I find shoes which support the instep more comfortable than those that don't! I also find that shoes which are comfortable one day, are not the next! So I've got several pairs, and swap them round. I agree with DD about shoes with Velcro over the top of the foot, as this can be adjusted according to how swollen your feet are - I've got a pair of sandals with three such straps and they are brilliant in the summer. I spent a small fortune in the first 12 months after diagnosis, but it's been money well spent! Some of mine came from Padders. It does take time to find comfortable shoes - my eyes are always drawn to glamorous and colourful high heels, then I sigh! If you come across pretty AND comfortable, then please share!
  • LignumVitae
    LignumVitae Member Posts: 1,972
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Whatever you do find be careful that there is cushioning - ballet flats may exist which can accomodate an orthotic but if they have that thin sole they will be painful. Clarks or Camper may be worth looking at but generally, as a rule of thumb, German shoes will be wider fits than shoes from Italy or Spain.

    I do sympathise, I have a redundant collection of very beautiful and occasionally expensive heels. I can now be found in trainers (pretty ones), flip flops, wellies and winter boots. Not quite as much fun but much comfier for me. If you do find a fab shoe then please enlighten us all. I was 21 when I was first diagnosed and things like shoes felt like a loss of identity to arthritis but once you find something that works for you then you will be forging a new identity and will be much comfier too. Good luck with your hunt.
    Hey little fighter, things will get brighter
  • theresak
    theresak Member Posts: 1,998
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    The shoe problem is annoying, isn`t it? Thanks to the RA my feet changed shape altogether, so none of my collection of size 5s would fit anymore, and I had to buy size 6s.

    While trainers are most comfy for me, I also love Rieker shoes, which are lovely and comfy. I try to buy them in sales. Josef Siebel are comfy too - I have a pair of ankle boots which are bliss to wear, as they support my dodgy ankles.
  • TrishaW
    TrishaW Member Posts: 121
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    There are some Fly shoes/boots/sandals which are comfy...the ones with the 'low wedge'. they have a very slight wedge, which is quite 'rubbery' so quit bouncy to walk on (not hard, quite comfy) I have wide feet too and most of the styles are wide fitting. I wear the sandals with leggings in the summer and the ankle boots in winter with opaque tights or jeans. you can't put orthotics in the sandals though. Amazon have a big selection and you can send them back if they're not comfy.
    I also have some Ecco ankle boots that my orthotics fit in and they look quite nice with dresses and opaque or lace tights...sort of trendy in an ironic way!
    If i was rich I would set up a shoe store for painful and wide feet! So many people need them!
    I went into a cool independant shoe shop in Brighton Laines and talked about my issues finding nice comfy shoes. the woman said they could make a pair specifically for me if i would cost a lot (£200+) but maybe as you're only 21 it would be worth getting one nice pair per year? I think I would if i was your age! Maybe a xmas present from everyone or something! Good luck:)
  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,408
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    After years of wearing only orthotic footwear and occasionally sandals for a dressier occasion I found I could wear Crocs. For me, they are brilliant because I can put them on myself and take them off and I find them so comfortable. I still have shoes/sandals from Cosyfeet for when I want to be smarter but my main footwear is Crocs.

    Love, Legs x
    'Make a life out of what you have, not what you're missing'
  • vickystod
    vickystod Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks to everyone for their replies!
    Going to have a look at all the websites that you have mentioned and I can order them and see what I think, so hopefully I will find something!
    It is so annoying that shoes that are suitable are more expensive but it is definitely worth it if it means im not crippled with pain the next day!
    If I find any other makes or find something good for me I will be sure to let everyone know :)
  • Starburst
    Starburst Member Posts: 2,546
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It is frustrating that you have to spend a bit more but I agree that it's worth it because you can do more. No point having nice shoes if you can't go anywhere in them, eh?
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I live in a mix of Ecco and my Asics gel running shoes, these are fairly light, they also do the Kayano range which were bliss to walk on but pricey, almost twice the price of the ones I bought. I have big slightly "funny" feet so choice has always been a bit limited. The Asics are actually mens', but seem a bit less boatlike than much male footwear. I'm so glad I've got to the age where I'm no longer worried about fashion, if my feet are happy, so am I! Not very comforting for a youngster tho.
  • TrishaW
    TrishaW Member Posts: 121
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Vicky, i've just discovered some more shoes which may help you. They are sketchers 'Shape ups' which have a fit-flop type rocker sole. They were recommended by my podiatrist as taking pressure off your feet/joints but also exercising your leg muscles. In the past they were quite clumpy but I just got a new lightweight pair on the QVC website (which also means you can wear them out for 28 days and send them back for a refund if not comfy) They are black or white trainers and have memory foam sole for comfort and can be worn without socks (special non-smelly material) Not cheap at £65 but for the first time since my toe fusion I can walk in comfort. I wore them with a vintage dress today and no one stared so they must look ok! :D
  • bubbadog
    bubbadog Member Posts: 5,544
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Vicky I find Rocket Dog shoes very comfortable and they stretch well with swollen feet and look pretty trendy!
  • Sarahd1609
    Sarahd1609 Member Posts: 64
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I agree with Trishaws that sketchers are the best. I'm 31 and the shape ups are great for everyday or for work they do a leather one which fits orthotics well. I've given up on looking fashionable as fashionable means pain for me xx
  • lindaelice54
    lindaelice54 Member Posts: 1
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    As I have Chronic O/A in my feet I am unable to wear proper shoes so I live in walking shoes/boots for the structure. Anything that is too soft in the sole and the upper part of the shoe will just make my feet roll in. I do wear orthotic insoles from the hospital which do help. The problem I have got is that my son is getting married next year and I would really like to know where I can buy nice pretty feminine shoes from to go with my wedding outfit! I can't exactly wear walking shoes/boots with my wedding outfit! :cry:
  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,086
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Welcome to Arthritis Care Forums lindaelice54 from the moderation team

    As mods we are here to help with any problems you may have on the message boards.

    There are lots of lovely people here with a wide range of experiences with arthritis and the problems of living with the condition. Just join in wherever you like you will be made very welcome. I hope someone can suggest some nice and comfy shoes for you.

    I look forward to seeing you posting on the boards.

    Best wishes

    Moderator AC
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,278
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello and welcome from me, too, lindaelice54 :) I will be of no use to you as I have to wear surgical shoes all the time and, yes, that did include my son's wedding. (I just wore a velvet trouser suit over them.) I think you'll get more relevant replies if you start a new thread, maybe entitled 'shoes for wedding' or some such. Good luck.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Medwaylady
    Medwaylady Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I like Hotter but my pain in the left foot was relieved by surgery to remove a Mortons' Neuroma. Had the usual injections but they just put off the inevitable operation. Its only a small one and worth it. The pain is relieved straight away. My foot does tend to twist but not so bad yet and I do the exercises with a frozen bottle of water to relieve stress.
    But honestly Hotter shoes are lovely and so comfy, when I can I ramble and their walking boots are superb as are their sandals. Do have a look for them and so many width fitting you'll get a good fit.
  • Bovey1
    Bovey1 Member Posts: 14
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It's a pity shoe manufacturers aren't listening to people with arthritic feet. I have ankylosing spondylitis and my feet are agony. Why don't the shoe makers create a shoe that's fashionable and wearable for women and men who want no reminders of their disease. I am a granny now but I had the same problem when I was 21! Not good enough. We are a huge potential market.