Like many women, I love clothes, make up, and accessories. But, alas, my biggest struggle with my love for clothing is my love-hate relationship with shoes. I absolutely love shoes, but I can’t wear many of the cutest pairs because they don’t fit me!
Shoes have never fit me properly; since I was a baby, shoes have always pinched, blistered, and strained my poor feet. Though I have a wide foot to begin with, my psoriatic arthritis makes shoe shopping a nightmare. In my experience, the best shoes have arch and ankle support, a soft sole, slight heel, and stretch when my feet swell. That’s not much to ask, is it?
Wrong. I’ve yet to come across a pair of shoes that can do it all… yet. In the meantime, I’ve found little tricks and tips that make shoes more bearable. My advice won’t work for everyone and should never take the place of medical advice (always consult your doctor about orthopedic devices and inserts before you use them); however, I hope it helps fashionable shoes become more bearable!
Heal your heel
Heel pain due to enthesitis can be aggravated due to certain shoes, whether they’re four inch heels or athletic sneakers with a hard sole. Heel cups are an amazing option for those with heel pain; they’re little wedge-shaped gel or foam inserts for your shoes that act as a cushion for your heel. They help to take the pressure off your feet and gives your ligaments a rest.
If the boot fits
One of the wonderful trends of women’s fashion has been boots, and I’ve taken advantage of their adorable looks and fabulous support! Flat or low heel short boots and booties are fantastic options for women with psoriatic arthritis because they can be worn at work and formal events. I always pair dresses and pant suits with booties, so I look like a million dollars and experience the comfort of slippers!
Summer time shoes
Sandals and flip flops can be challenging for those who need ankle, arch, and heel support since many have thin bases and few supporting straps. My recommendation is investing in one supportive pair of sandals or flip-flops that can be dressed up or down; my go-to is a strappy pair of Earth Shoes sandals that have a chunky base. Boat shoes are also a great summer style that offers cushion and support while looking adorable!
Many cute shoes like moccasins or ballet flats are not supportive, but with the right tools you can (sometimes) add it in! Arch support inserts with some double sided tape can usually stay in place the whole day. I’m guilty of adding lots of layers into my shoes – I’ll start with adding arch support, stick a heel cup in, and sometimes place a thin cotton cushion on top! Of course, this works best with canvas shoes or moccasins as opposed to ballet flats.
I usually need a wide shoe because my feet swell, and through the years I’ve stumbled upon great shoe brands that offer wide sizes and even wider style choices. Primark has a beautiful selection of affordable casual and dress shoes and boots in wide sizes- I practically live in their shoes! Tommy Hilfiger shoes also sometimes have a wider fit and have fabulous summer options. Vans are also a great investment, especially for those of us who love sneakers; as a young teenager, I had comfortable a pair of Vans skate shoes with lots of width.
Having psoriatic arthritis has taken a lot away from me at a young age, but I refuse to let my sense of style be taken away. Taking pride in my appearance is one thing that gets me through the hard times; even when I don’t feel my best, I can certainly still look my best. And having comfortable shoes lets me feel amazing while I show the world that I won’t let psoriatic arthritis bring me down.