Sunday, 15 December 2013

Shoes for Bunions and Orthotics

I questioned writing this post because I've used my own foot as an example.  I'm not having a pity party but hopefully offering a solution to the many who have an inherited bunion and find it difficult to find comfortable shoes.  Ive struggled for years trying to squish one not so normal foot into shoes that are just the wrong shape & width.  I'm sorry if this whole conversation grosses you out.  This is as far removed from my usual subject matter as you can get but when you find something that you've looked long and hard for and by a miracle it comes in your width and accommodates your orthotics then by goodness its news worth sharing with others, especially women like me.  I say "especially women" because men shoes seem to come in an infinite array of widths and they are usually high sided enough to accommodate even the highest orthotic.

If you make it all the way to the end then there's a question i need help with.

There are other brands of shoes for orthotics and widths and in the past ive had them.  There is a great brand called Ziera (previously known as Kumfs).  Check them out here.

They are really pretty aren't they.

Over the years my foot has warped in two directions from two separate anomalies.  The back half is rotating to the right due to an extreme pronation of the foot but also an inherited bone abnormality in my ankle.  The  top half, due to the bunion, has swung around to the left and my toes (and therefore the bones) are at 45 degrees.  Both feet are completely flat.  The xrays are crazy.   Now try to imagine those pretty shoes with these inside them.

You could say that my foot is pretty stuffed.  I know that there are others out there with bunions and for most summer usually means that they can wear thongs, or a pretty sandals if the straps manages somehow not to land on the bump and rub on it.  These orthotics do not fit in sandals, or dress shoes, or flats.

Gosh they look awful in a photo, but you try your own.  
I tried to get this picture as small as possible for you.   What I'm trying to demonstrate is the angle of the toes which when wedged into a shoe start to overlap and form corns and are just plain sore but also the width.  My left foot at the point of the bunion is 120mm wide.  Now i don't know about you but there aren't too many women's shoes this wide.  Oh, by the way, I can thank my mother for this lovely inherited gift but i cant be too hard on her because Ive handed two of them to my son.

OK, enough gross photos, lets see the solution.

The manufacturer is Saucony and I buy them from my local Athlete's Foot.  Now that's an oxymoron. Really, do these look like athlete's feet.

Women's Grid Integrity ST2 (EE) Width

So what's the magic?  Its that forefoot stretch zone.  On my right foot that is straight, this looks like above but on the left foot it expands to accommodate the bunion.  This is good news people. Its upper is full grain leather for support and flexibility (and easy cleaning) and it comes in EE.   Its probably not quite wide enough for the left as you can see redness from rubbing where the toes start to cross over but its perfect for the right and at least i have shoes.

The only problem is that the orthotics take up so much space inside the shoe that there is not enough room for my foot.  It was slipping out and so, my friends, we introduce those two little holes up the top which no one seems to know what to do with.   I know that Ive never been shown before and i have always bought from stores that specialised in "Fitting" shoes.  It really makes a difference and i was shown by my podiatrist.

How to lace your shoes to get better support using the top holes.

So what's the price?  I paid somewhere around $180 for the shoes.  Add the orthotics which are obviously custom made from moulds and I'm walking around in $800 footwear. Gulp!  Because i wear them everyday, they are only good for about six months as the support in the heal and base wears out.

So what happens when i take my shoes off?  Well lets say, its not the most elegant walk.  I try to wear them for most of my waking hours but when you first get up in the morning or are going to bed i look like I'm a 90 years old.  Solution?   Surgery.  Two separate major reconstructive surgeries and given that i no longer have private health cover will probably be years away.   I have appointment with a surgeon next week.  Its all rather scary and i have a lot of weight to lose but at the moment only one foot works properly.  I can stand on it and walk on it but it actually doesn't do anything.  I cant make those toes bend and i cant rotate my ankle no matter how hard i try.  I have exercises to do daily, mentally staring at them and telling them to bend.  Guess what, it works, because in a few weeks Ive managed to get them to slightly move.

Here is the problem.  I have two weddings coming up and i have two pairs of shoes.  This in white, and in black.  What on earth am i supposed to wear that goes with runners?

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz


  1. Wow, my Mum had bunions hers were really bad and on both feet, I used to buy her shoes . As a child I called them bunyips. I know finding shoes for her was a pain in the rear end as they had to be wide. Good shoes are very expensive.

    1. My Mum's feet are a mess. Both have bunions and the toes are all bent and twisted but she walks fine and they certainly keep her on the move. Most of my issues come from the rear of the foot. I hope in the post ive given someone help in finding these shoes. They are good. It was not meant to be about my feet.

  2. LONG trousers or a floor length skirt! Not the best option in summer I know but trousers or a skirt that reach the ground and wide legged trousers will hide things. Do a google search on bridal runners some time. If the bride can, the guests sure as hell can in my opinion. ;)

    1. Thanks Jess, you know it was always going to be trousers. Have you ever seen me in a dress. One will be a country wedding on a farm near Kyneton but dont let that fool you. It will be up there for style. I expect chandeliers hanging from gum trees.


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