Finding shoes to fit your needs AND your personality
by Beth Deloria, Allard (content sponsor)
Did you know that shoes can be used to guess someone’s traits or characteristics? A 2012 study showed that 90 percent of a person’s personality is reflected in their choice of footwear.
For those of us needing custom orthotics and braces – what do our shoes say about our personalities?
Though we may feel confined by our diagnoses, we should never be defined by them. As such, a common complaint of people who need ankle-foot-orthoses (AFOs) or other braces is “not being able to wear the shoes of our choice.” We want the same style options as everyone else!
The good news is that there are more stylish, orthotic-friendly shoes and boots available today than ever before. Finding your perfect shoe means understanding that footwear is an integral piece in a four-part puzzle:
These components are interdependent. Only when this four-part system is optimized will you achieve the maximum benefit.
Your foot and its unique characteristics (i.e., foot misalignment, foot pain, ankle instability, sensory and muscle deficits, arch problems, foot drop) must be the first consideration.
To address these issues and restore proper alignment and gait, the next two pieces of the puzzle – the orthotic insert and AFOs – are critical.
When properly paired, customized inserts and AFOs can offer these long-term benefits:
- Pain alleviation
- Fall protection
- Better proprioception, posture, and balance
- Improved ankle stability
- Decreased rates of muscle atrophy
- Greater energy and confidence
- Improved overall quality of life.
However, even the perfect orthotic-AFO combination is incomplete without the final piece: the shoe.
The characteristics of a shoe determine what benefits you’ll likely receive from your orthotic devices. Choose footwear that suits your style, but also understand which features are most important. The bottom line is this: Needing to wear orthotics should not limit how the world views us. Our choice of shoe should say more about our personalities than our disabilities.
- High-end stores that may offer limited adaptive footwear selections
- Online retailers like Zappos, ShoeStores.com offering free return shipping if you are unsure a shoe will work
- Adaptive-footwear sellers specializing in corrective footwear like Orthotic Shop, Flow Feet, The Healthy Feet Store
- Mainstream retailers like Nordstrom, Birkenstock®, L.L. Bean, and more offering free odd-sized pairing, easy returns
- Certified pedorthist facilities, or “footwear pharmacies,” offering custom crafting services & specialty shoe selections
- Seek brands that are known for stylish, adaptive footwear (Aetrex®, BeautiFeel®, Drew®, Ecco®, The North Face®, Propet®, Rockport®, Waldlaufer®, Wolky®, and more)
Shoes as a source of first impressions. Gillath O, Bahns AJ, Gea F, Crandalla CS. Journal of Research in Personality. 2012 August;46(4):423-430.
DISCLAIMER: This is sponsored content for educational purposes and does not imply that the FSHD Society endorses any associated services or products.