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Help! I need shoe advice??

Posted by Becky R. on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012581)

Hello to all,
I know there are dozens of opinions on shoes out there. I've read many past responses. I want a regular shoe - not an athletic shoe, Birkenstock, Teva, etc. Just a regular looking shoe with a great arch support. I tried on some Ecco, Clarks, Easy Spirits but although many were very comfortable, they did not have much arch support and I know I need that. I tried on for the first time, Birks. The Milano. It was hard as a rock!!! and the arch was very prominent. The sales clerk said it takes a few days to break in. Are there any other styles that might be easier to break in? Or any other advice on your first purchase of Birks? I have pf in both feet, rather flat foot. Please help with your own experience. Thanks.
Becky in Cincinnati

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Robin B. on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012583)

Becky, I am a Birk advocate. I now am the proud owner of 8 pairs. That's all I wear, ever.

First of all -- I don't think you can go to a shoe store and buy pricey 'regular looking shoes' like Naturalizers or Selbys or Rockports or Soft Spots or another ladies dress shoe and expect ANY arch support. There isn't any. At best, some of them have foam glued to the inside. Foam is not support. Foam is foam -- it's cheap and worthless, so don't let them fool you. I am sorry to say this, but I think you will have to choose between style and function. Personally, I'd opt for function. I too miss the style -- but I don't miss the pain.

Re the Birks, Milano is a good style. The MOST basic is Arkansas and the Milano is essentially Arkansas with a backstrap. I was lucky -- it took me only a day or so to get used to Birks. But, it does take most people up to a week to get used to them. Wear them for an hour or two at a time. It's not the hardness that's hurting it --it's the low heel cup and strong arch support. Like you, I have PF in both feet. My feet are now sort of flat. I used to have high arches but they have fallen with age. The lady in the Birkenstock store said to me (when I remarked on how hard the sole was) -- healthy feet need support, not cushioning. I thought she was a tad nutso at the time. Now I don't. She was right, then and now.

Regarding the level of arch support: When I first started with Birks, I thought it was extremely pronounced too. That was last December or January. My feet are much better now than they were 11 months ago and here's a surprising incident: As of late, I have started to look at all my Birks, old ones and new ones, wondering whether there isn't so much arch support as there used to be. I just don't feel the arch support like I used to. At first, I thought the cork was sinking or they were making the new shoes differently with less support. But the new ones look just like my old and worn ones. Then the light bulb when off over my head and I realized what had happened: My feel are healing. The arch support isn't so pronounced because the plantar fascia isn't so inflamed. Duh.

When I first bought Birks, I met a lady about my age (50) who came into a store wearing them. I asked her about them. She said she had worn Birks for 20 years. Occasionally she would buy Naots, but mostly Birks. She said her friends made fun of her and her employer was very unhappy about it and that she looked stupid going out in semi-formal attire and Birks. But she said, her feet never hurt. In 20 years, she said she had never experienced any foot pain at all, had never consulted a doctor, had never had to soak her feet or rest her feet or ice her feet. She said she would give up anything before she would give up Birks. That's what got me to try them.

My advice is -- get a support shoe, not a pretty shoe. Could be Mephisto or Dansko clogs or Birks or whatever helps you the most. Spend the $$$, forget style. Believe me -- when they start to help your feet, life is wonderful again. I have spend BIG BUCKS buying Birkenstocks and I don't care -- I wear them with everything and always will for the rest of my life if I have to (and I think I will).It's worth it.


Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Libby on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012585)

Becky, a Birkenstock shoe store just opened near my house (Texas) and they have a large selection of shoes and I found some very comfortable and nice looking Tatami shoes (Sheridan is the name of the shoe). They do feel really good on your feet. They also said that they are coming out with lots of new dressier styles for the Spring. The catalog will be ready in February. But I think you need to try them on before buying them. I wore two sizes smaller than their catalog said I would wear. The Birkenstock shoes that department stores carry are just the boring basic Birk shoes. They have a nicer selection in the store/catalogs. One lady said that you could get your feet wet and then put on the Birks and that would help them mold to your feet more quickly. I don't think they are ugly. Just more of a sporty/casual shoe. Good luck!

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Martha B. on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012590)

East Texan here!Where do you live and where is the store?Thanks. I had the Ossatron 8 weeks ago and am doing very well.Weeks 3-4 and 7-8 have been the most uncomfy but nothing compared to pre-treatment.My heart goes out to long-time sufferers because 18 months was sheer agony for me.Ossatron is expensive but sit down and figure all the gadgets,orthotics,meds,creams,accupuncture,Ptherapists,chiropractors,etc.and how much $$$ we have thrown away.Good luck!

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Marti C on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012595)

I have not tried Birks yet, so I cant advocate them or knock them.They do appear to look uncomfortable,or hard and that scares me but with so many of you having good luck with them I think I will at least go try them on. Thanks for all the advice.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Viola B. on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012611)

I too have flat feet and have PF in both feet. I bought some Ecco Walkers (they had a removeable footbed). I replaced the footbed with a pair of Superfeet inserts (the green ones) that I had already broken in. They were much better - although, I do wish they were just a little bit softer. At first I replaced the footbed with Spenco inserts but found them to be too soft - did not feel that I was getting enough support. Because I go the church regularly, I needed 'church shoes' so I went to a store called Earth Walk and tried on several pairs of shoes. I bought a pair of Mephistos(Mobils style). I know they are expensive $150, but I found them to be very comfortable (my feet did not hurt in them). I also tried on some Dansko shoes - not the clogs. Although the feetbed/sole of the shoes are like a clog, the top part of the shoes look like sandals - they also have some that look like what I call pant boots. The sandal style looked cute on and made my feet look smaller. I could really feel the support for the arch. I plan on buying one of the Dansko 'dresser' styles in the spring. If you go to the Mephisto and/or Dansko website you can request a catalog. That way you will be able to see all the styles that are available.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Beth D. on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012612)

I totally agree with Robin. I found out about Birks from this board and feel they are well worth every penny. I wear my two pair of Birks all day except when I'm riding the exercise bike. I am able to walk without pain (a little slower than I'm used to) and can stand to make dinner and do stuff around the house. I can drive without pain as well. When I was first diagnosed in April, 99 my feet were on fire, were tingling, burning, and sore all the time. I've run the gamet of ideas from this board. What I'm doing right now that seems to be working is: wearing the Birks, taking Glusamine/Chronditon tablets, elevating my feet at night above my heart, and stretching throughout the day. I still have some bad days, but feel more optimistic in general about the condition.

bottom line: try the Birks

Beth


Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Jan R. on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012633)

Becky - I am from Cincinnati, too. I am interested in BIRKS too. Do you know of any place in Cincy that sells BIRKS? If so, please let me know. Thanks.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Libby on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012637)

There is a store in Kemah, Texas called Happy Feet and they sell mainly Birkenstocks. It's a nice littlet store.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Martha B. on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012647)

Thanks for replying-Where is Kemah?What larger city is it near?As I mentioned before,I live in East Texas. Thank you.



Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Libby on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012651)

Kemah is about 25 minutes southeast of Houston. Lots of stores carry Birkenstock shoes but they usually only have the basic ones. This store is a Birkenstock store so they have the full line. Thanks, Libby

Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Jan R.

Becky R. on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012653)

Jan,
Great to here of someone from Cinti. Track N' Trail in Tri-County Mall, Overland Trading Co. in Kenwood, Parisian in Kenwood (maybe) and someplaces in Clifton but I don't know the name. You can get the name from the 1-800 # just put in 45219 zip. Also, my physical therapist said a good place is Bob Ronckers Running Place off Dana Ave. I've been meaning to go there. Again, good to here from Cinti. What part of town do you live?

Becky


Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Robin

Becky R. on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012654)

Robin,
Thanks for the advice and sounds like good advice. I do plan to spend the money for birks. I am just starting the search for the right pair. so far, I haven't found many stores around here that carry anything more that the basic sandal. I do have a catalog and seems like there are many styles in the Tatami line. Others have recommended that line. Anyway, thanks again for the advice.
I agree, comfort is #1 at this point.
Becky

Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Jan R.

Jan R. on 11/15/99 at 00:00 (012665)

Becky - thanks for the info. I live in the northwest - off Colerain Ave. near Northgate.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Jay C. on 11/15/99 at 00:00 (012706)

Trying them on will not do. You will need to wear them for a while.
It takes some people a day, others 5 or 6 days. There is support in the Birks that other shoes do not offer.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

lindah on 11/15/99 at 00:00 (012715)

Try on some Life Stride shoes. I got them and now can wear them to work every day. They have a cushioned sole and look great. I got the black suede slip ons, with 1-1 1/2' heel and they go with everything. I got mine at a local Dillards but most stores should carry the brand. I love them and have tried them all. I have a very hard time wearing UGLY shoes as I have been a shoe-junkie all my life.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Jan R.

Becky R. on 11/15/99 at 00:00 (012738)

Jan,
You are very close to me. I live in Fairfield, about a mile from Forest Fair Mall. Are you seeing a podiatrist or doctor here? If so, who? The podiatrist I saw first is across from Northgate Mall, but I go to someone else now. Some of his practices don't jive with what I'm hearing on this website. I am going looking for Birks tomorrow. I will let you know what I find. If you find any, let me know. Thanks.
Becky



Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Becky R.

Jan R. on 11/17/99 at 00:00 (012821)

Becky, I live about a mile from Walmart off Colerain. I had a friend go to the podiatrist I think you went to. I don't know what resulted in her treatment. My podiatrist was Dr. Bartel on Winton Rd. across from Odd Lots. Then I saw his associate, Dr. Hindman. I DO NOT RECOMMEND GOING TO THESE DRS.! I quit after the 6th or 7th cort. shot and that was all they would recommend. I am in need of another podiatrist or orthopedic doctor and am looking. Let me know if you find one and I'll let you know if I find one. Let me know about your BIRKS. If you want to email me my email is (email removed)

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Robin B. on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012583)

Becky, I am a Birk advocate. I now am the proud owner of 8 pairs. That's all I wear, ever.

First of all -- I don't think you can go to a shoe store and buy pricey 'regular looking shoes' like Naturalizers or Selbys or Rockports or Soft Spots or another ladies dress shoe and expect ANY arch support. There isn't any. At best, some of them have foam glued to the inside. Foam is not support. Foam is foam -- it's cheap and worthless, so don't let them fool you. I am sorry to say this, but I think you will have to choose between style and function. Personally, I'd opt for function. I too miss the style -- but I don't miss the pain.

Re the Birks, Milano is a good style. The MOST basic is Arkansas and the Milano is essentially Arkansas with a backstrap. I was lucky -- it took me only a day or so to get used to Birks. But, it does take most people up to a week to get used to them. Wear them for an hour or two at a time. It's not the hardness that's hurting it --it's the low heel cup and strong arch support. Like you, I have PF in both feet. My feet are now sort of flat. I used to have high arches but they have fallen with age. The lady in the Birkenstock store said to me (when I remarked on how hard the sole was) -- healthy feet need support, not cushioning. I thought she was a tad nutso at the time. Now I don't. She was right, then and now.

Regarding the level of arch support: When I first started with Birks, I thought it was extremely pronounced too. That was last December or January. My feet are much better now than they were 11 months ago and here's a surprising incident: As of late, I have started to look at all my Birks, old ones and new ones, wondering whether there isn't so much arch support as there used to be. I just don't feel the arch support like I used to. At first, I thought the cork was sinking or they were making the new shoes differently with less support. But the new ones look just like my old and worn ones. Then the light bulb when off over my head and I realized what had happened: My feel are healing. The arch support isn't so pronounced because the plantar fascia isn't so inflamed. Duh.

When I first bought Birks, I met a lady about my age (50) who came into a store wearing them. I asked her about them. She said she had worn Birks for 20 years. Occasionally she would buy Naots, but mostly Birks. She said her friends made fun of her and her employer was very unhappy about it and that she looked stupid going out in semi-formal attire and Birks. But she said, her feet never hurt. In 20 years, she said she had never experienced any foot pain at all, had never consulted a doctor, had never had to soak her feet or rest her feet or ice her feet. She said she would give up anything before she would give up Birks. That's what got me to try them.

My advice is -- get a support shoe, not a pretty shoe. Could be Mephisto or Dansko clogs or Birks or whatever helps you the most. Spend the $$$, forget style. Believe me -- when they start to help your feet, life is wonderful again. I have spend BIG BUCKS buying Birkenstocks and I don't care -- I wear them with everything and always will for the rest of my life if I have to (and I think I will).It's worth it.


Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Libby on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012585)

Becky, a Birkenstock shoe store just opened near my house (Texas) and they have a large selection of shoes and I found some very comfortable and nice looking Tatami shoes (Sheridan is the name of the shoe). They do feel really good on your feet. They also said that they are coming out with lots of new dressier styles for the Spring. The catalog will be ready in February. But I think you need to try them on before buying them. I wore two sizes smaller than their catalog said I would wear. The Birkenstock shoes that department stores carry are just the boring basic Birk shoes. They have a nicer selection in the store/catalogs. One lady said that you could get your feet wet and then put on the Birks and that would help them mold to your feet more quickly. I don't think they are ugly. Just more of a sporty/casual shoe. Good luck!

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Martha B. on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012590)

East Texan here!Where do you live and where is the store?Thanks. I had the Ossatron 8 weeks ago and am doing very well.Weeks 3-4 and 7-8 have been the most uncomfy but nothing compared to pre-treatment.My heart goes out to long-time sufferers because 18 months was sheer agony for me.Ossatron is expensive but sit down and figure all the gadgets,orthotics,meds,creams,accupuncture,Ptherapists,chiropractors,etc.and how much $$$ we have thrown away.Good luck!

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Marti C on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012595)

I have not tried Birks yet, so I cant advocate them or knock them.They do appear to look uncomfortable,or hard and that scares me but with so many of you having good luck with them I think I will at least go try them on. Thanks for all the advice.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Viola B. on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012611)

I too have flat feet and have PF in both feet. I bought some Ecco Walkers (they had a removeable footbed). I replaced the footbed with a pair of Superfeet inserts (the green ones) that I had already broken in. They were much better - although, I do wish they were just a little bit softer. At first I replaced the footbed with Spenco inserts but found them to be too soft - did not feel that I was getting enough support. Because I go the church regularly, I needed 'church shoes' so I went to a store called Earth Walk and tried on several pairs of shoes. I bought a pair of Mephistos(Mobils style). I know they are expensive $150, but I found them to be very comfortable (my feet did not hurt in them). I also tried on some Dansko shoes - not the clogs. Although the feetbed/sole of the shoes are like a clog, the top part of the shoes look like sandals - they also have some that look like what I call pant boots. The sandal style looked cute on and made my feet look smaller. I could really feel the support for the arch. I plan on buying one of the Dansko 'dresser' styles in the spring. If you go to the Mephisto and/or Dansko website you can request a catalog. That way you will be able to see all the styles that are available.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Beth D. on 11/13/99 at 00:00 (012612)

I totally agree with Robin. I found out about Birks from this board and feel they are well worth every penny. I wear my two pair of Birks all day except when I'm riding the exercise bike. I am able to walk without pain (a little slower than I'm used to) and can stand to make dinner and do stuff around the house. I can drive without pain as well. When I was first diagnosed in April, 99 my feet were on fire, were tingling, burning, and sore all the time. I've run the gamet of ideas from this board. What I'm doing right now that seems to be working is: wearing the Birks, taking Glusamine/Chronditon tablets, elevating my feet at night above my heart, and stretching throughout the day. I still have some bad days, but feel more optimistic in general about the condition.

bottom line: try the Birks

Beth


Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Jan R. on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012633)

Becky - I am from Cincinnati, too. I am interested in BIRKS too. Do you know of any place in Cincy that sells BIRKS? If so, please let me know. Thanks.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Libby on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012637)

There is a store in Kemah, Texas called Happy Feet and they sell mainly Birkenstocks. It's a nice littlet store.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Martha B. on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012647)

Thanks for replying-Where is Kemah?What larger city is it near?As I mentioned before,I live in East Texas. Thank you.



Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Libby on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012651)

Kemah is about 25 minutes southeast of Houston. Lots of stores carry Birkenstock shoes but they usually only have the basic ones. This store is a Birkenstock store so they have the full line. Thanks, Libby

Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Jan R.

Becky R. on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012653)

Jan,
Great to here of someone from Cinti. Track N' Trail in Tri-County Mall, Overland Trading Co. in Kenwood, Parisian in Kenwood (maybe) and someplaces in Clifton but I don't know the name. You can get the name from the 1-800 # just put in 45219 zip. Also, my physical therapist said a good place is Bob Ronckers Running Place off Dana Ave. I've been meaning to go there. Again, good to here from Cinti. What part of town do you live?

Becky


Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Robin

Becky R. on 11/14/99 at 00:00 (012654)

Robin,
Thanks for the advice and sounds like good advice. I do plan to spend the money for birks. I am just starting the search for the right pair. so far, I haven't found many stores around here that carry anything more that the basic sandal. I do have a catalog and seems like there are many styles in the Tatami line. Others have recommended that line. Anyway, thanks again for the advice.
I agree, comfort is #1 at this point.
Becky

Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Jan R.

Jan R. on 11/15/99 at 00:00 (012665)

Becky - thanks for the info. I live in the northwest - off Colerain Ave. near Northgate.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

Jay C. on 11/15/99 at 00:00 (012706)

Trying them on will not do. You will need to wear them for a while.
It takes some people a day, others 5 or 6 days. There is support in the Birks that other shoes do not offer.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice??

lindah on 11/15/99 at 00:00 (012715)

Try on some Life Stride shoes. I got them and now can wear them to work every day. They have a cushioned sole and look great. I got the black suede slip ons, with 1-1 1/2' heel and they go with everything. I got mine at a local Dillards but most stores should carry the brand. I love them and have tried them all. I have a very hard time wearing UGLY shoes as I have been a shoe-junkie all my life.

Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Jan R.

Becky R. on 11/15/99 at 00:00 (012738)

Jan,
You are very close to me. I live in Fairfield, about a mile from Forest Fair Mall. Are you seeing a podiatrist or doctor here? If so, who? The podiatrist I saw first is across from Northgate Mall, but I go to someone else now. Some of his practices don't jive with what I'm hearing on this website. I am going looking for Birks tomorrow. I will let you know what I find. If you find any, let me know. Thanks.
Becky



Re: Help! I need shoe advice?? To Becky R.

Jan R. on 11/17/99 at 00:00 (012821)

Becky, I live about a mile from Walmart off Colerain. I had a friend go to the podiatrist I think you went to. I don't know what resulted in her treatment. My podiatrist was Dr. Bartel on Winton Rd. across from Odd Lots. Then I saw his associate, Dr. Hindman. I DO NOT RECOMMEND GOING TO THESE DRS.! I quit after the 6th or 7th cort. shot and that was all they would recommend. I am in need of another podiatrist or orthopedic doctor and am looking. Let me know if you find one and I'll let you know if I find one. Let me know about your BIRKS. If you want to email me my email is (email removed)