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Help! I need shoe advise!!

Posted by Shirley W on 4/10/02 at 22:51 (079177)

My PF started maybe 3-4 months ago and is getting worse. I have an appt with a Pod later this month to see what he says. My PF is getting worse, so that some evenings I can barely walk. I have no problems with my feet on my off days, only after working all day. I stand mostly in one place for 8-9 hours a day on a concrete floor, with a thin 'mat' to stand on. I have to wear black work shoes, which makes it hard to find a good pair of shoes--no sandals or open toes, etc. Can anyone give me some advice on looking for a good pair of shoes that might fit my criteria?? I tried a pair of Dansko clogs (with backs on them) and they were fairly comfortable (I don't know what to expect, and took them back), but not a very soft footbed. I was also not used to the slipping of the heel, which they said is the proper fit. I am used to a tight, proper lace-up, but I may have to change. Since I am unsure of what I should be wearing, or looking for in a shoe,maybe someone can help. Is a firm, high arch the 'key'? Shoe with a higher heel or low, flat heel?? Thanks for your help :>)

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Dr. Zuckerman on 4/11/02 at 02:28 (079186)

you can also get a pair of powerstep inserts found on this web site. They are very supportive in the arch and will help to relieve the plantar fascia
SAS shoes are very good. You can get them in black

Re: Yes, SAS shoes...

Suzanne D on 4/11/02 at 14:26 (079295)

I wear SAS walking shoes (Free Time is the name) with Birkenstock inserts at school. I'm a first grade teacher and on my feet a lot. They do come in black and have a removable insole. I am able to fit in the inserts along with the removable insole which has arch support and padding. The combination is the best I have found since my PF began last June. I learned about Birks here on this site last August and wore them constantly until about 6 weeks or so ago when my knees really started bothering me and at the same time the Birks didn't feel as good any more. The arch area feels good but the added support in the SAS lace-up shoes really is making a difference.

Good luck to you!

Re: and they come in soft black nubuck leather as well as in black shiny leather

Carole C in NOLA on 4/11/02 at 15:46 (079308)

I have the black nubuck SAS shoes which I got after Suzanne posted about how great hers were. They have worked wonderfully for me also.

It's essentially impossible to find SAS shoes online, but you might find a SAS shoe store in your local area if you look at the 'yellow pages' at http://www.yahoo.com

Carole C

Re: SAS not helping me

Shirley W on 4/11/02 at 20:26 (079346)

I am currently wearing SAS with inserts molded for me at a sports injury store, and am not having any luck with them, although they did help some at the very first. Any other suggestions?

Re: Sorry to hear that

Carole C in NOLA on 4/11/02 at 20:45 (079352)

Shirley, I'm sorry to hear that your SAS shoes are not helping you. That must be so frustrating. I feel the same way about New Balance, which have helped so many people here but which are not 'the shoe' for me.

What are you looking for in a shoe, aside from style? Tell us about your 'ideal shoe' or 'dream shoe' and what you want in a shoe, and what could be different about the SAS shoes that might help. Maybe that will give us some ideas.

Also, since the SAS Free Time shoes are tie-up shoes that seem to provide plenty of support, I wonder if the inserts molded for you at the sports injury store are not working for you? Could that be the problem? Or do you think the inserts are good?

Birkenstock also makes shoes (other than sandals and clogs) but in general their shoes do not have the molded orthotic 'classic' footbed for which Birkenstocks are known. However, if you have a good orthotic already, perhaps you could wear it inside a black Birkenstock shoe.

Another good shoe that I was thinking of trying on when I bought my SAS shoes, was the Rockport 'World Tour', another leather tie-up shoe that comes in black too.

Carole C

Re: Sorry to hear that

Shirley W on 4/11/02 at 21:09 (079356)

Carol, thanks, I will check into that Rockport. I have worn them before, but it has been years. My SAS shoes just really feel as though there is nothing there, as though I am walking on hardwood floors without any shoes on. And they would be totally impossible without the insert. I like the way the insert hugs my arch. Maybe I should have given the Dansko pair a longer trial. I guess I have never thought about an 'ideal shoe' since before now all shoes seemed ideal, when I never had a problem. Now I try on shoe after shoe and feel like I have plywood for the sole, and many have no good arch support, which for me seems to help. There is a store here that sells Birks and I may also check them out, but do I need to wait til I go to the POD first?? or should I just try to get a comfortable pair of shoes. With all I have read here in just my first two days of finding this site, --about gait, foot imprints, etc, ---I am a bit overwhelmed. I never dreamed that so many people had this problem, and am in awe of the support and help everyone gives.

Re: Sorry to hear that

Carole C in NOLA on 4/11/02 at 21:40 (079360)

It sounds like you need a shoe with a lot of cushioning, maybe. Are your SAS shoes old? My old pair got like that after a few years of wear. My new pair has enough cushioning for my feet, but then we all have such individual feet.

You don't need to go to a POD in order to try on Birkenstocks. It would be a good idea to check and see if there's a Birkenstock store within an hour's drive or so. They would have more styles to try on, and the staff to expertly fit you.

I bought ten pairs of shoes in 4-5 months when my PF was bad, looking for 'the perfect shoe' for me. That was pretty expensive. I guess what I am trying to say, is that I am no expert at this either. I've done a lot better by following advice from people here, than by any other method.

Some tests that a shoe should pass if it is to be good for PF are as follows. (the first two are copied from a post below by Richard, C.Ped)

1. The back part of the shoe is called the counter. Look for a nice firm counter when chosing a shoe. Try to squeeze it with your hand. If it is hard to do, that is a solid counter. This is good for ankle stability and control.

2. Make sure the shoe does not bend in the middle. A good shoe should only bend where your foot naturally bends while walking...at the ball. Test this by holding the shoe by the counter with one hand, and with the other, push on the toe area (toe box) as if you were trying to bend the shoe in half.

(Personally I think that also a shoe should not be unbending at the ball; I don't like 'plywood for soles' either!! and I don't think it's good for my feet to have an unbending sole)

3. Holding the shoe with the counter in one hand, and the toe area in the other hand, if you twist it then it should resist that kind of twisting.

Most of the shoes that are widely recommended here already pass these tests, I've found. If the shoe does not pass these tests, then I'd suggest avoiding it even if it's comfortable. That was a lesson I learned the expensive way, anyhow.

Birkenstocks with the 'classic footbed' provide some good arch support, although their shoes do not have this footbed. However, you have several possibilities. You could get some to wear when you aren't at work, to give your feet a rest. Or, you could get the blue Birkenstock insert to wear inside their shoes. Or, you could wear your present insert inside them.

When my PF was at its worst, I felt I was in a pretty awful dilemma. I needed black tie-up shoes for formal meetings at work, but I also needed a lot of arch support. My custom orthotics were put into huge shoes that I felt were not professionally acceptable due to their size (two sizes too large, and a wide instead of a medium) and the fact that they were men's shoes.

Basically what I ended up doing was to wear Birkenstock classic footbed sandals (like the Arizona or Florida) with socks in the dead of winter in the ice during December and January. I felt like an idiot, but what could I do; I needed more support than most shoes would provide. When my feet got better by the end of February and I felt like they did not need quite as much support as they did before, I started wearing SAS shoes.

Definitely you are not alone! We are all in this together. I hope this rambling post helps, and I wish for you and everyone here, 'happy feet'.

Carole C

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Ed Davis, DPM on 4/11/02 at 21:44 (079363)

Consider the Brooks Addiction WT. It is a very stable running shoe covered with all black leather. It is cut deep and accomodates orthotics very well. I like the Superfeet orthotics for pre-fabs... http://www.superfeet.com
Ed

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Carole C in NOLA on 4/11/02 at 22:29 (079373)

Yes! Do consider this combination. This could be the shoe for you, Shirley. It has worked for several people on this message board. Also I have heard the Superfeet are really really good, and fairly inexpensive.

Carole C

Re: Sorry to hear that

Shirley W on 4/12/02 at 07:58 (079395)

Thanks, Carol, and I appreciate your helpful input. My SAS shoes were not even 3 mos old when I first really noticed the problem, so it could have started earlier and I didn't know what it was. I pretty much don't have a problem with my others shoes, once I am away from work for a while-- a day or so. I am lucky, cause we have several stores here that sell Birks, and one of them I found out is a store for people with problem feet. So on my day off Monday, I am going to check them out. I also found today in the paper a New Balance store here that advertises a NB ProCare Fit Specialist to help select and fit, so I may check that out too. I am noticing foot advertisements more now than ever, probably were there all along, but I didn't need them. Thanks for the info, I will let you know how I fare on my 'shoe expedition'. Thanks

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Carmen on 4/16/02 at 11:28 (079827)

Danskos have MANY styles of shoes available as well...if they were fairly comfortable they may have just been the wrong 'style'.

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Stephanie R on 4/19/02 at 20:49 (080395)

What, exactly, are SAS shoes? Thanks!

Re: SAS shoes

Carole C in NOLA on 4/19/02 at 21:40 (080403)

They are shoes made by the San Antonio Shoe Company:

SAS Shoemakers
101 New Laredo Highway
San Antonio, Texas 78211

The owner of SAS will not allow them to be sold or even described on the internet. He wants SAS shoestores to be like an old fashioned general store, and they are decorated that way. SAS shoes are all hand made and hand stitched, so I guess that's why.

Despite his archaic approach to shoe distribution, SAS shoes are excellent shoes. I have three pairs: one old and worn out pair of SAS Siestas, one way too large pair of SAS Time Outs with my orthotics in them, and one pair of SAS Free Times that is just the perfect size. All three pairs are leather, hand-stitched, with a rubbery sole (maybe EVA) that is great for my arthritic knees, and are in a lace-up style. They also carry sandals and so on but the SAS Free Times for women and Time Outs for men are the ones that people are talking about here for the most part, I think.

In order to find a SAS shoe store you can write them, or look in the yellow pages in the area, or in the Yahoo yellow pages which is the only place where I've seen any information on them online. If you look for shoestores that specialize in diabetic shoes they will probably have SAS.

Carole C

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Martha M. on 8/16/02 at 18:45 (092691)

I also have a job that keeps me on my feet ALL day, and the best shoe I've found is the Wolky Roll Cap. It's like a clog with a back on it. They come in black (and other colors), and I can wear them all day and into the night! Wolky also makes a Roll Clog (no back to them), and I'm waiting on my first pair of them.
The Wolky sandals and clogs pass all of the 'tests' and they have good arch support. The clogs are a 'funky' sort of style, but quite supportive and comfortable. (I wear mine to work with no problem.) Anyway, the company that makes them is Dutch, and they have a website in English. Check it out...it'll explain how the shoes are built, special features, etc. I believe the site is http://www.wolky.com . (You can get Wolky shoes at Shoebuy.com and Zappos.com.) They aren't cheap, but they're worth the money.

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Dr. Zuckerman on 4/11/02 at 02:28 (079186)

you can also get a pair of powerstep inserts found on this web site. They are very supportive in the arch and will help to relieve the plantar fascia
SAS shoes are very good. You can get them in black

Re: Yes, SAS shoes...

Suzanne D on 4/11/02 at 14:26 (079295)

I wear SAS walking shoes (Free Time is the name) with Birkenstock inserts at school. I'm a first grade teacher and on my feet a lot. They do come in black and have a removable insole. I am able to fit in the inserts along with the removable insole which has arch support and padding. The combination is the best I have found since my PF began last June. I learned about Birks here on this site last August and wore them constantly until about 6 weeks or so ago when my knees really started bothering me and at the same time the Birks didn't feel as good any more. The arch area feels good but the added support in the SAS lace-up shoes really is making a difference.

Good luck to you!

Re: and they come in soft black nubuck leather as well as in black shiny leather

Carole C in NOLA on 4/11/02 at 15:46 (079308)

I have the black nubuck SAS shoes which I got after Suzanne posted about how great hers were. They have worked wonderfully for me also.

It's essentially impossible to find SAS shoes online, but you might find a SAS shoe store in your local area if you look at the 'yellow pages' at http://www.yahoo.com

Carole C

Re: SAS not helping me

Shirley W on 4/11/02 at 20:26 (079346)

I am currently wearing SAS with inserts molded for me at a sports injury store, and am not having any luck with them, although they did help some at the very first. Any other suggestions?

Re: Sorry to hear that

Carole C in NOLA on 4/11/02 at 20:45 (079352)

Shirley, I'm sorry to hear that your SAS shoes are not helping you. That must be so frustrating. I feel the same way about New Balance, which have helped so many people here but which are not 'the shoe' for me.

What are you looking for in a shoe, aside from style? Tell us about your 'ideal shoe' or 'dream shoe' and what you want in a shoe, and what could be different about the SAS shoes that might help. Maybe that will give us some ideas.

Also, since the SAS Free Time shoes are tie-up shoes that seem to provide plenty of support, I wonder if the inserts molded for you at the sports injury store are not working for you? Could that be the problem? Or do you think the inserts are good?

Birkenstock also makes shoes (other than sandals and clogs) but in general their shoes do not have the molded orthotic 'classic' footbed for which Birkenstocks are known. However, if you have a good orthotic already, perhaps you could wear it inside a black Birkenstock shoe.

Another good shoe that I was thinking of trying on when I bought my SAS shoes, was the Rockport 'World Tour', another leather tie-up shoe that comes in black too.

Carole C

Re: Sorry to hear that

Shirley W on 4/11/02 at 21:09 (079356)

Carol, thanks, I will check into that Rockport. I have worn them before, but it has been years. My SAS shoes just really feel as though there is nothing there, as though I am walking on hardwood floors without any shoes on. And they would be totally impossible without the insert. I like the way the insert hugs my arch. Maybe I should have given the Dansko pair a longer trial. I guess I have never thought about an 'ideal shoe' since before now all shoes seemed ideal, when I never had a problem. Now I try on shoe after shoe and feel like I have plywood for the sole, and many have no good arch support, which for me seems to help. There is a store here that sells Birks and I may also check them out, but do I need to wait til I go to the POD first?? or should I just try to get a comfortable pair of shoes. With all I have read here in just my first two days of finding this site, --about gait, foot imprints, etc, ---I am a bit overwhelmed. I never dreamed that so many people had this problem, and am in awe of the support and help everyone gives.

Re: Sorry to hear that

Carole C in NOLA on 4/11/02 at 21:40 (079360)

It sounds like you need a shoe with a lot of cushioning, maybe. Are your SAS shoes old? My old pair got like that after a few years of wear. My new pair has enough cushioning for my feet, but then we all have such individual feet.

You don't need to go to a POD in order to try on Birkenstocks. It would be a good idea to check and see if there's a Birkenstock store within an hour's drive or so. They would have more styles to try on, and the staff to expertly fit you.

I bought ten pairs of shoes in 4-5 months when my PF was bad, looking for 'the perfect shoe' for me. That was pretty expensive. I guess what I am trying to say, is that I am no expert at this either. I've done a lot better by following advice from people here, than by any other method.

Some tests that a shoe should pass if it is to be good for PF are as follows. (the first two are copied from a post below by Richard, C.Ped)

1. The back part of the shoe is called the counter. Look for a nice firm counter when chosing a shoe. Try to squeeze it with your hand. If it is hard to do, that is a solid counter. This is good for ankle stability and control.

2. Make sure the shoe does not bend in the middle. A good shoe should only bend where your foot naturally bends while walking...at the ball. Test this by holding the shoe by the counter with one hand, and with the other, push on the toe area (toe box) as if you were trying to bend the shoe in half.

(Personally I think that also a shoe should not be unbending at the ball; I don't like 'plywood for soles' either!! and I don't think it's good for my feet to have an unbending sole)

3. Holding the shoe with the counter in one hand, and the toe area in the other hand, if you twist it then it should resist that kind of twisting.

Most of the shoes that are widely recommended here already pass these tests, I've found. If the shoe does not pass these tests, then I'd suggest avoiding it even if it's comfortable. That was a lesson I learned the expensive way, anyhow.

Birkenstocks with the 'classic footbed' provide some good arch support, although their shoes do not have this footbed. However, you have several possibilities. You could get some to wear when you aren't at work, to give your feet a rest. Or, you could get the blue Birkenstock insert to wear inside their shoes. Or, you could wear your present insert inside them.

When my PF was at its worst, I felt I was in a pretty awful dilemma. I needed black tie-up shoes for formal meetings at work, but I also needed a lot of arch support. My custom orthotics were put into huge shoes that I felt were not professionally acceptable due to their size (two sizes too large, and a wide instead of a medium) and the fact that they were men's shoes.

Basically what I ended up doing was to wear Birkenstock classic footbed sandals (like the Arizona or Florida) with socks in the dead of winter in the ice during December and January. I felt like an idiot, but what could I do; I needed more support than most shoes would provide. When my feet got better by the end of February and I felt like they did not need quite as much support as they did before, I started wearing SAS shoes.

Definitely you are not alone! We are all in this together. I hope this rambling post helps, and I wish for you and everyone here, 'happy feet'.

Carole C

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Ed Davis, DPM on 4/11/02 at 21:44 (079363)

Consider the Brooks Addiction WT. It is a very stable running shoe covered with all black leather. It is cut deep and accomodates orthotics very well. I like the Superfeet orthotics for pre-fabs... http://www.superfeet.com
Ed

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Carole C in NOLA on 4/11/02 at 22:29 (079373)

Yes! Do consider this combination. This could be the shoe for you, Shirley. It has worked for several people on this message board. Also I have heard the Superfeet are really really good, and fairly inexpensive.

Carole C

Re: Sorry to hear that

Shirley W on 4/12/02 at 07:58 (079395)

Thanks, Carol, and I appreciate your helpful input. My SAS shoes were not even 3 mos old when I first really noticed the problem, so it could have started earlier and I didn't know what it was. I pretty much don't have a problem with my others shoes, once I am away from work for a while-- a day or so. I am lucky, cause we have several stores here that sell Birks, and one of them I found out is a store for people with problem feet. So on my day off Monday, I am going to check them out. I also found today in the paper a New Balance store here that advertises a NB ProCare Fit Specialist to help select and fit, so I may check that out too. I am noticing foot advertisements more now than ever, probably were there all along, but I didn't need them. Thanks for the info, I will let you know how I fare on my 'shoe expedition'. Thanks

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Carmen on 4/16/02 at 11:28 (079827)

Danskos have MANY styles of shoes available as well...if they were fairly comfortable they may have just been the wrong 'style'.

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Stephanie R on 4/19/02 at 20:49 (080395)

What, exactly, are SAS shoes? Thanks!

Re: SAS shoes

Carole C in NOLA on 4/19/02 at 21:40 (080403)

They are shoes made by the San Antonio Shoe Company:

SAS Shoemakers
101 New Laredo Highway
San Antonio, Texas 78211

The owner of SAS will not allow them to be sold or even described on the internet. He wants SAS shoestores to be like an old fashioned general store, and they are decorated that way. SAS shoes are all hand made and hand stitched, so I guess that's why.

Despite his archaic approach to shoe distribution, SAS shoes are excellent shoes. I have three pairs: one old and worn out pair of SAS Siestas, one way too large pair of SAS Time Outs with my orthotics in them, and one pair of SAS Free Times that is just the perfect size. All three pairs are leather, hand-stitched, with a rubbery sole (maybe EVA) that is great for my arthritic knees, and are in a lace-up style. They also carry sandals and so on but the SAS Free Times for women and Time Outs for men are the ones that people are talking about here for the most part, I think.

In order to find a SAS shoe store you can write them, or look in the yellow pages in the area, or in the Yahoo yellow pages which is the only place where I've seen any information on them online. If you look for shoestores that specialize in diabetic shoes they will probably have SAS.

Carole C

Re: Help! I need shoe advise!!

Martha M. on 8/16/02 at 18:45 (092691)

I also have a job that keeps me on my feet ALL day, and the best shoe I've found is the Wolky Roll Cap. It's like a clog with a back on it. They come in black (and other colors), and I can wear them all day and into the night! Wolky also makes a Roll Clog (no back to them), and I'm waiting on my first pair of them.
The Wolky sandals and clogs pass all of the 'tests' and they have good arch support. The clogs are a 'funky' sort of style, but quite supportive and comfortable. (I wear mine to work with no problem.) Anyway, the company that makes them is Dutch, and they have a website in English. Check it out...it'll explain how the shoes are built, special features, etc. I believe the site is http://www.wolky.com . (You can get Wolky shoes at Shoebuy.com and Zappos.com.) They aren't cheap, but they're worth the money.