Plantar Fasciitis and Neuropathy – What Do You Wear if You Have Both?

I received an interesting phone call from a customer a few days ago. Her situation was particularly interesting because she has both Plantar Fasciitis as well as Neuropathy. She has worn MBT shoes for several years, and it greatly helped her Plantar Fasciitis. She was actually looking for a new boot that she could wear in sloppy weather but was concerned about how her MBTs would hold up in snow.

This set off all sorts of red flags in my head, for a variety of reasons:

1)      MBTs are not designed for people with neuropathy. When you have sensory loss in your feet, your balance is adversely affected. Wearing a shoe that provides natural instability creates a huge risk of you falling. As a result, MBT does not recommend its shoes for people with neuropathy.

2)      MBT shoes, even the GTX models, are really not designed for tromping around in the snow. Yes, they are waterproof, but they do not provide the level of traction that a bona-fide snow boot does. So yes, you can wear your MBT shoes out in sloppy weather, but I’d stick to regular snow boots if you’ve got any level of accumulation on the ground.

3)      Neuropathy sufferers really need stable shoes. Regardless of what caused the Neuropathy, those folks should look for the same types of shoes as those folks with Diabetes. Generally, you should look for: a MILD rocker sole (to help propel you forward) but with a stable heel, and a high, wide toe box so that your toes won’t rub against the shoe. Any shoe with a lot of support is also excellent. Look for shoes that are soft and with cushioning if possible. It’s also helpful to find a shoe that can accommodate custom orthotics, just in case.

Generally, any shoe that is rated HPCPS (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System) A5500 compliant is acceptable for Diabetics under Medicare and Medicaid.  These are fine choices for people with Neuropathy and Plantar Fasciitis as well due to their excellent supportive properties.

Finding shoes that help both of these medical conditions can be a challenge, but Footwear etc. carries a bunch of shoes that are worth considering.

Drew Shoes are specifically designed for Diabetics, but also have many of the supportive properties needed for those with Plantar Fasciitis. Available for men and women, they come in a wide variety of styles.

Finding slippers for Plantar Fasciitis as well as Neuropathy is a little tricky. While they are not specifically rated for Diabetics, the Orthaheel slippers are definite possibilities. I would suggest you try them on and see if you have enough toe space for these to work for Neuropathy patients. They definitely have good supportive properties and can help Plantar Fasciitis. Qwaruba makes some front and side wrap slippers that are definitely gentle for your feet, although they are not particularly supportive. If you’re not going to do a lot of walking, these could be beneficial.

New Balance makes some great athletic shoes that address both of these issues.  I would particularly look at the models that have the HPCPS A5500 rating. I particularly like the New Balance MW927BK walking shoe (and the corresponding WW927BK for women). It’s very stable, has a roll bar for motion control, is lightweight, and has great cushioning and support. This is a great all-around shoe.

Don’t assume that the products needed to alleviate Plantar Fasciitis and Neuropathy symptoms are mutually exclusive. There are a variety of shoes out there that can be beneficial. Try different types of shoes to see what works best for you!

As Seen in Redbook Magazine: The Earthies Seriph!

Cool weather can mean really “hot” shoes! The newest boot from Earthies, the Seriph, has made its appearance in Redbook magazine, and it’s a great little boot for the winter months.  It’s warm, it’s dressy, it’s amazingly cute – what’s not to love?

Earthies shoes are known for their stylish comfort.  Their motto is “Wellness. Elevated,” meaning that you can have a healthy shoe with style AND with a heel. The toe area of each shoe gently curls, to evenly distribute weight away from your toes. The cupped heel puts your foot into the most supported position, and the anatomical arch helps distribute your weight over the length of the shoe instead of having your weight forced onto your toes. Now you can have all those features in this beautiful boot!

I love how the faux shearling of the Seriph keeps your feet warm and cozy, and the brushed suede provides some elegance. The 3-inch wedge heel makes it easy to stand tall yet be stable.  I can see wearing this with all sorts of outfits, although my first impression was that it would have been great in the Bond movie, “From Russia with Love.” Don’t you agree? How about wearing it to your holiday party? Or maybe when you go “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house…”? Or how about for a hot date on a cool night?

Redbook readers and boot fans everywhere: check out the Seriph by Earthies. You can have a “hot-looking” boot for those cool days.


Just in Time for the Holidays: Men’s Dress Shoes from Bostonian!

My dad wore dress shoes to work every day. My husband breaks out dress shoes just a few times a year. With the holidays coming up, more and more men are going to need comfortable dress shoes, and Footwear etc. now carries a brand steeped in tradition: Bostonian.

Bostonian has been around for a long time – over 110 years. This is the first brand that introduced flexible dress shoes, and over the years has come up with new technological and styling innovations to keep men happy.  Currently, Bostonian features models that combine athletic-shoe technology with dress and casual shoe styles, so this brand is a great choice for men seeking comfort as well as beautiful craftsmanship.

Men have a huge variety of styles to choose from.  Like slip-ons? Consider the Ballard Bit, or the Martin. I particularly like the Evanston since I love tassels. How about a lace-up shoe?  Check out the Pollino, or the Howes. For all you wing tip fans, there’s the Luglite Wing or the Andover. How about Penny Loafers? There’s the Pershing. These models are just the tip of the iceberg; Bostonian makes many more styles in a variety of colors. All of them are made with leather uppers, soft linings, and flexible outsoles that have great traction and stability. There’s a tremendous amount of versatility in this line; you can wear them with anything from khakis to a tuxedo!

Don’t assume that men’s dress shoes are uncomfortable. Bostonian has been making comfortable dress shoes for many years, and has perfected the art of creating comfort footwear.  Give them a try this holiday season, and beyond!

Dansko Professional Clogs: The Premier Choice of People On their Feet All Day!

One of the side effects of working for a shoe company is that I now notice what people wear on their feet. Every time I visit the Dr.’s office, I am struck by the sheer quantity of Dansko Professionals I see. It seems to be THE choice of medical professionals everywhere. I’ve also noticed a lot of teachers who wear them as well. Why do they choose Danskos? Let me count the reasons:

They are outstandingly supportive and comfortable. The toe box is wide, so your toes can move comfortably. The heel counter lets your heel move up and down as you walk. The heel cup cradles your heel and provides lateral stability. I feel arch support as well, which is particularly helpful on those days when my plantar fasciitis flares up. The rocker sole propels your foot forward as you walk, and the outsole provides excellent shock absorption.

They are durable. Dansko products are made from the highest quality leather available, and that always holds up better than the cheaper knock-offs. The polypropylene inner frame can take a lot of abuse, and the outsole is practically bomb proof. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of these shoes.

They are stylish.  The Professional model is available in a ton of colors and patterns to augment your wardrobe or your mood. You can wear a whimsical style one day, and a conservative-looking model the next. Your feet won’t feel a difference in the outstanding quality, but you have many options in appearance to choose from.

I started wearing the Professonals years ago when I was teaching, and they were the only shoes I owned that I could use to get through the whole day on my feet. I was gratified to see my podiatrist wearing the same model. This is a hugely popular model at my local surgery center; I’ve seen a variety of colors and patterns worn there.

Need to be on your feet all day? Try out the Dansko Professional. You can be stylish and comfortable while constantly on your feet!


More from the “Happy Shoes” Company: Alegria

Colors, and patterns, and models…oh my! Alegria, maker of shoes specifically intended to boost your mood, has come out with a bunch of new styles that are perfect for your every whim!  Who could possibly be unhappy wearing such amazingly vibrant, feel-good shoes? Check out these new models and patterns:

The flagship Mary Jane, the Paloma, is now available in Pewter Charmer Leather, Western Romance Leather, and Black Etched Leather. The Pewter Charmer Leather is a dark silver-colored leather with a snakeskin texture. It’s a little shiny, and is versatile enough to wear with many colors in your wardrobe.  The Western Romance Leather is a gorgeous and subdued print of leaves and flowers in autumnal colors.  I really like the Black Etched Leather – the pattern is subtle, but definitely adds visual interest to an otherwise regular patent leather shoe. I could use this one as a dressy shoe!

Another cute Mary Jane is the Dayna. Available in Bronze Patent Leather, Chrome Patent Leather, Black Napa Leather, or my favorite – Friends White Leather. The latter is a happy pattern in blues, white and pink, depicting two women along with some flowers. How fun! This shoe is part of Alegria’s Nursing Shoe line.

The Classic, one of Alegria‘s original models, also has some new colors and patterns. If you like animal prints, check out the African Leopard Patent Leather. It’s a beautiful print, and while it’s interesting and easily recognizable as a leopard print, it’s not too “in your face.” The Classic also comes in Black Embossed Rose leather, which is subtle enough to go with everything in your wardrobe.

Like slip-ons? Try the Debra. I love how this shoe is easy to get on and off with its elastic gores, and still gives you all the fun and comfort of all Alegria shoes. This shoe is also part of Alegria’s Professional line for nurses, and is available in Copper Beauty Leather or traditional White.

The most unusual shoe in the 2011 models is the Abbi. Yes, it’s possible to have an Alegria shoe that is a lace-up oxford! This could be your next go-to shoe for everyday wear! Available in Black Nappa Leather,  Chrome Patent Leather, and Black Rose Leather (my favorite; I love anything with roses on it). You can really get a custom fit with these laces, and it’s a very versatile shoe! Can an oxford be girly? Yes!

Remember that all Alegria shoes have outstanding support properties, like: an anatomically-correct footbed that provides outstanding arch support, removable insoles made out of latex, memory foam and cork, and a mild rocker sole to alleviate joint pain and help you attain better posture. So check out the new, happy, colorful shoes from Alegria. Let your shoes boost your mood!