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I’ve been seeing a lot of doctors lately. I think you hit a certain age and all these different things in your body just start getting rude. They don’t listen to you. They rebel. They even cause you to worry a little bit.
I’m usually really good friends with WebMD but after a while, I have to admit that maybe there’s someone a little more qualified out there than ME to diagnose all my ailments.
Luckily, I have fantastic health insurance (I’m always so thankful for that every time I see a medical professional or pick up a prescription) and there doesn’t seem to be anything terribly serious going on (that I know of). But I did see a podiatrist.
Never in all my decades did I ever think there was a reason I’d need to see a podiatrist. Foot doctors are for old ladies who need to wear ugly shoes, right?
But I have been having some pain in my left foot even when I’ve been wearing my finest athleisure shoes. So I knew something was up and I suspected that something was my big toe joint. A podiatrist visit and an x-ray confirmed it. I have hallux rigidus, or osteoarthritis of the big toe joint.
Thinking the doctor must have me confused with someone twice my age, I asked him to explain it in more detail. He claims that the soft tissue between the joint is wearing down. That’s the simplest explanation. Hoping he would make me feel better, I asked, “Is it the result of age? or use? or what?” He said it was a combination of factors but probably I just genetically have non-awesome feet.
He did have a few recommendations for me but before he even opened his mouth, I looked him squarely in the eyes and said, “I’m NOT wearing ugly shoes.”
Trust me, there are plenty of ugly shoes out there to help me but I went on a quest for some of the best. The idea is to get a shoe that doesn’t cause your toes to bend. In other words, stilettos are out. No problem for me. I can’t walk in them anyway. The alternative is a stiff foot bed, ideally on a bit of a platform. Dansko was one of the brands he specifically mentioned as many of you know, I’ve had a long history with Dansko shoes and I was sure if I was ready to go back down the clog path.
So I started my quest for shoes for my ailing feet and I found that there are good shoes that aren’t ugly that make my feet happy. And they all cost a fortune. But I have scoured for some of the best shoes at the best prices.
Dansko Martina Mule
These are number one on my list for good reason. I recently bought these exact shoes. I was at a store that sold orthotics and a lot of other ugly shoes but they also sold Dansko. Because I had only worn their clogs, I was intrigued by these mules. One foot in and I was in love. I went right home and ordered these online (because it was cheaper) in Red Oiled Leather. Because everyone needs some red shoes every now and then.
New Balance 490v5 Running Shoes
For years I scoffed at women who chose to wear athletic shoes for non-athletic activities. It just looks dorky to wear tennis shoes with jeans. And it looks even dorkier when you’re at Disney World and you’re wearing a fanny pack. But then I saw a fellow blogger post a picture in her off day. She was wearing black leggings and black sneakers and it looked stylish.
That’s when I decided to get my very own. Although New Balance makes some pretty serious shoes for people with pretty serious foot problems, I chose a comfortable old model of running shoes. I didn’t need to latest and greatest since I’m not actually going to run in them. But I’m a big fan of New Balance because their shoes tend to run wide and the footbed feels so roomy. I love these shoes.
I first saw this shoe when I was out in Beverly Hills for a press trip. A friend and I took a stroll down Rodeo Drive, popped into a shoe store, and we both splurged! I bought a pair of super comfortable sandals (in red!) that I’ve never been able to find anywhere else – even online. And she bought a pair of these proclaiming them to be ridiculously comfortable.
It wasn’t necessarily my style but I recently spotted them on a clearance rack (for $89!) and now realize why she bought them. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the brand name is CLOUD because that’s what these feel like. They are currently on my must purchase for summer list but I’m going to have to save up because they aren’t cheap!
Vionic Gracie Slippers
I’ve made the mistake of thinking I should have footwear on my feet at all times. And it’s actually a good idea. But I tend to wear slippers around the house. They comfortable memory foam slippers but they aren’t holding my feet in the rigid position I need. Enter Vionic. You might remember that I reviewed a pair of their boots a few years ago. I still have those boots and I still love those boots. But Vionic also makes these solid slippers. They’re not cheap but you can still be casual around the house without hurting your feet.
Carbon Fiber Insoles
If you’re not looking to spend hundreds of dollars on new footwear, you can keep your sexy intact with a little secret in your shoe. This is a carbon fiber insole that is designed to go into your existing shoes under the insole. It keeps your foot rigid and keeps that joint from hurting. I know. Sexy, right? But I splurged the $50 for one of these and can use it in my existing shoes if I want to mobilize that joint.
Isn’t getting older so much fun?
But remember, it’s not just about age. It’s also about the feet you were born with. After looking at my x-rays, my podiatrist asked if I was a runner. Apparently I have a tight Achilles tendon that’s led to a bit of a bone spur in my heel. Even if I’m not a runner, I can still look like I am. And now I have a legit excuse to stay away from the treadmill.
Now that you’re well-versed in my hallax rigidus and my new choice of footwear, maybe you’ll relax a bit in your shoes as well. In fact, many of these shoes are great for plantar fasciitis as well. If you have another shoe recommendation you love, I’d love to hear it.