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Answer to Shaira's question about what shoes are good for PF

Posted by Carole C in NOLA on 8/05/02 at 08:51 (091611)

Shaira, here are the shoes that were helpful for me.

1. Birkenstocks. These were the only shoes I wore when my PF was acute, except for SAS shoes with custom orthotics. My C.Ped said to wear them in the evenings for a few hours to give my feet a rest. Birkenstocks do have a lower heel than many shoes, so they are a bit tough on the Achilles tendon. However, for those of us with Achilles tendonitis they do provide some variety. Now that my feet are healed or nearly so, I do not wear my Birkenstocks as much, though. They feel too hard to walk in very far. I wear them around the house. Last night I wore them out to dinner, but normally I don't wear them out of the house. I have 5 pairs of Birkenstocks (Arizona, Grenada, Florida, Amsterdam, and Fulda), and my favorite is the high arched Tatami Fulda. I like to switch between them and the Arizonas, for variety.

2. New Balance. I got the NB 879's, which were OK but had a slippy heel and didn't fit my feet well, and then the NB 991's which are a much better fit for my feet and my favorite shoe. I don't think I could have worn these when my PF was acute, because of the lack of arch support, but now they are my main shoe. I can wear them from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. I love all the cushioning now that I'm walking a lot.

3. SAS shoes. These hard-to-find shoes are what my C.Ped fit my orthotics into. They are a good shoe. She used 'Time Out' which is the men's SAS shoe. The first shoe that I wore without orthotics (other than Birkenstock) was the women's tie-up SAS shoe, 'Free Time'. It was great, and it looked fairly normal. I just used the insole that came with them, and it was OK for me after my feet had healed a little, and before I could have worn NB. However, I don't wear my SAS shoes any more now that I'm walking a lot, because they just don't provide the cushioning that my NB shoes provide. I only wear them when work demands something more conservative looking than running shoes or Birkenstocks.

Shoes that were awful for me were Nike Air Vintage and Easy Spirits. I have new pairs of each that are sitting unused in my closet.

Hope this helps!

Carole C

Re: Answer to Shaira's question about what shoes are good for PF

Pauline on 8/05/02 at 09:50 (091617)

You and Elliott bring up an interesting point. If people are using Birks or custom orthotics there seems to be a point there they 'turn' on the wearer. Elliott said he cannot seem to wear his Birks anymore. Their not as comfortable. You mention something similar about your Birks although you slip back into them from time to time.

I wonder how many other posters have found the same thing happening with their Birks or the custom orthotics they purchased. A time comes when they can no longer tolerate them. Maybe this means no only healing but
if the custom orthotics are to be continued perhaps new ones need to be made.

It appears that Elliott's feet are calling for something else. Maybe others have also had this same experience as well.

Re: changing needs in shoes, and more about Birkenstocks

Carole C in NOLA on 8/05/02 at 10:50 (091621)

I think you are right!

I think there are two aspects to this. First, as our feet heal we need different qualities in a shoe. Second, even if our feet stay the same, it seems to help to switch to different shoes a lot during the day and to rely on different shoes as our 'main shoe' every few weeks.

When my PF was acute, and I could hardly walk, I needed the arch support. I was in so much pain at that time, that when I tried to walk barefoot for my doctor and then for my C.Ped to observe my gait, I was walking only on the lateral sides of my feet. I was unable to walk on the bottoms of my feet at all when barefoot due to the severe pain. With arch support from my Birkenstocks and especially with my terrific custom soft orthotics, I was able to gingerly take a few steps on the bottoms of my feet.

After my PF had healed considerably, I was experiencing a much lower level of pain and I was walking more. At that point I needed more cushioning than Birkenstocks can provide. Apparently I have a moderate to high arch, which causes me to need more cushioning.

Elliott doesn't need or want a lot of cushioning due to his flatter feet (if my recollection is correct). So the above observation isn't relevant to his situation.

The 'bumps' on a Birkenstock classic footbed size 40 are too far forward for me, even when I slipped forward in the Birkenstocks, but they were close enough to allow me to hobble about when things were so tough. The bumps on a 39 in the classic footbed are placed better for my foot, but when I wear a 39 my wide forefoot slops over the lateral edge of the Birkenstocks.

A knowledgeable Birkenstock salesperson solved that problem for me. She fit me in a 39 Grenada, a style which has the leather upper attached all along that edge of the shoe and the leather is enough to nudge my forefoot inside the rim. So, the 39 Grenada is the best fitting classic footbed Birkenstock for me. That's something I never would have figured out on my own.

That sort of fix for the problem might or might not work for Elliott, since (1) the Grenada doesn't look too much like a manly man's shoe and also (2) since his feet may slop over the edge more than mine, which only barely slopped over a little bit (though it was enough that I couldn't wear a 39 otherwise).

My favorite fitting Birkenstock is the Fulda, which does not have the classic footbed. It is a Birkenstock Tatami in the high arched footbed line that otherwise sort of resembles an Arizona. I wear a 40 Fulda, which gives me the width of a 40 that I need to prevent slopping over the edge, and yet the bumps are placed further back. Still not perfect, but better.

When I'm out walking around the city I need more cushioning, but my Fuldas are nice in the evenings while I'm relaxing and not walking that much.

Carole C

Re: Tolerance

wendyn on 8/05/02 at 11:17 (091627)

Pauline, now that you mention it - I always seem to find my Birks less comfortable after about 6 months. I guess I break down the shoes enough that they seem to lose some of their support.

If I get a new identical pair, the problem is solved.

Re: Tolerance

Carole C in NOLA on 8/05/02 at 14:34 (091648)

That's interesting! That could be consistent with my experiences, too.

I do find that my Floridas, which I wore pretty continuously for several months since they were my first Birkenstocks, are no longer my choice. I have five pairs that are less than a year old, so I can pick and choose, but the Floridas seem to just sit there and collect dust. I thought the reason behind not wearing my Floridas was just a craving for variety, but maybe they have become less comfortable.

I definitely noticed that I prefer the feel of Birkenstocks before they are broken in, at least for around-the-house use. I know... that's a little strange. Most people prefer the feel after they are broken in.

Carole C

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

yasmin from london on 8/05/02 at 18:02 (091669)

Hi

i want to get a pair of birks, i have a low arch, and very smal feet, what should i look for when purchasing these shoes. when i went to a store last time and explained to assistant about my probs, she looked at me with a blank face and said she had no idea what i was talking about! also do the birks need the eva sole, will i need an insert and finally what other types of shoes could i purchase besides birks to wear around the house?

One more thing, i keep reading that flat shoes or low heels aren't good for pf, but the birks appear to be very flat, so how can they be helpful? just curious, thats all!

thanks

yasmin

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Carole C in NOLA on 8/05/02 at 21:30 (091702)

Birkenstocks have an orthotic footbed made out of cork, which is what they are famous for. They have an eva sole already on them. I'd suggest that you try them in the store, without an insert. The most popular Birkenstock for PF sufferers is the Arizona. Try on an Arizona sandal, with the classic footbed and a natural leather or suede upper instead of a plastic upper. See if you like it. :)

If you buy Birkenstocks, be sure to break them in. Do not wear them more than an hour the first day, an hour and a half the second day, and increasing by half hours for the first week or two.

I don't personally know of any other shoes to wear around the house, since they happen to be the only sandals that I've worn around the house since I got PF. However, others say that Mephistos, Finn Comfort, Dansko clogs, and several other brands are very comfortable.

Birkenstocks with the classic footbed don't have a flat surface but they do have a lowered heel. Some people do better with a raised heel most of the time. However, if you alternate between a raised heel and a lowered heel, then your tendons and tissues won't just shorten with the raised heel. So, they seem to help even those of us who prefer raised heels by providing a variety of heel heights. I wouldn't want to wear them all the time. I just wear them around the house anyway.

Hope this helps.

Carole C

Re: if you're looking for a flat, firm Birk, forget it! :-) (nm)

elliott on 8/05/02 at 22:26 (091709)

.

Re: For Yasmin: Birks

Julie on 8/06/02 at 02:44 (091715)

Yasmin, as you live in London, you may already know about the specialist Birkenstock store in Neal Street, Covent Garden. They stock Birks, Birks, and nothing but Birks, and are supposed to know how to fit them properly. They have a wide range of styles, too (though nowhere near the full range - there seem to be thousands of styles now.) It's the best place to start.

I'd suggest you visit them if you haven't done that already. Of course there are salespeople and salespeople, and you can't expect them all to be conversant with foot problems. But I'm sure that if you asked to speak to the store manager, you'd get more informed help.

I've been wearing Birk Arizona sandals around the house ever since my PF started, and still do although my PF has long since resolved, and I feel that Birks were a significant part of my recovery. They suit me and other people well, but they don't suit everybody. If the 'bumps' in the classic Birk footbed correspond to the hills and valleys in your feet, they will probably suit you, otherwise they may not. The negative heel cup does not suit everybody.

As Carole told you, they need to be broken in gradually, so there's no way of knowing if they will suit you without trying. That does mean buying a pair and wearing them at home: you can't tell from a store try-on.

I believe the Neal Street store will take them back if they show no sign of wear.

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

yasmin from london on 8/06/02 at 16:49 (091766)

Hi

thanks for your advice, you mention the classic footbed, is that the insole that come with the sandals or is the separate traditional insole?

Yasmin

Re: Footbeds

yasmin from london on 8/06/02 at 16:53 (091767)

Hi

thanks for your advice, you mention the classic footbed, is that the insole that come with the sandals or is the separate traditional insole?

Also, i know this may be a silly question to ask, whats the differnce between an insole and an upper? The upper you mention, is it the full leather insole by birks?
Yasmin

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Carole C in NOLA on 8/06/02 at 18:48 (091781)

The classic footbed is not removable and comes in SOME of the Birkenstocks. It is not a separate insole. Usually the Birkenstock Arizona has the classic footbed, as do some other styles like the Florida, Grenada, and Boston.

You can read lots about Birkenstocks at the Birkenstock express website, which is http://www.birkenstockexpress.com (don't click on the URL that I typed or you will go to the German site... it must be copied and pasted into your browser).

Carole C

Re: Footbeds

Carole C in NOLA on 8/06/02 at 18:50 (091782)

Yasmin, uppers are 'upper'..... they are the part of the shoe that goes on top of your feet. Insoles go beneath your feet. Hope this helps.

Carole C

Re: Thanks!

yasmin from london on 8/08/02 at 15:01 (091990)

Thanks for the advice and to julie too!

i brought the birks, i may want to ask u a few questions later, if thats okay.

yasmin

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Pauline on 8/09/02 at 14:01 (092065)

Do Flat footed or people with low arches like Birks?

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Carole C in NOLA on 8/09/02 at 18:10 (092086)

some of them do, like John H

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

nancy s. on 8/09/02 at 19:58 (092093)

a definite yes from me, pauline. have flat feet, low arches, and the only thing i can wear is birks. they've helped enormously. have rejected two pairs of orthotics, one of them very good, but . . .

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Julie on 8/10/02 at 16:32 (092136)

I would have said probably not, but coincidentally I met a woman today at a workshop I gave who has extremely flat feet and asked me about her knee problems (which she feels her flat feet have caused). I showed her my Birks and asked her if she knew about them; she said yes, she has a pair and loves them.

Re: Answer to Shaira's question about what shoes are good for PF

Pauline on 8/05/02 at 09:50 (091617)

You and Elliott bring up an interesting point. If people are using Birks or custom orthotics there seems to be a point there they 'turn' on the wearer. Elliott said he cannot seem to wear his Birks anymore. Their not as comfortable. You mention something similar about your Birks although you slip back into them from time to time.

I wonder how many other posters have found the same thing happening with their Birks or the custom orthotics they purchased. A time comes when they can no longer tolerate them. Maybe this means no only healing but
if the custom orthotics are to be continued perhaps new ones need to be made.

It appears that Elliott's feet are calling for something else. Maybe others have also had this same experience as well.

Re: changing needs in shoes, and more about Birkenstocks

Carole C in NOLA on 8/05/02 at 10:50 (091621)

I think you are right!

I think there are two aspects to this. First, as our feet heal we need different qualities in a shoe. Second, even if our feet stay the same, it seems to help to switch to different shoes a lot during the day and to rely on different shoes as our 'main shoe' every few weeks.

When my PF was acute, and I could hardly walk, I needed the arch support. I was in so much pain at that time, that when I tried to walk barefoot for my doctor and then for my C.Ped to observe my gait, I was walking only on the lateral sides of my feet. I was unable to walk on the bottoms of my feet at all when barefoot due to the severe pain. With arch support from my Birkenstocks and especially with my terrific custom soft orthotics, I was able to gingerly take a few steps on the bottoms of my feet.

After my PF had healed considerably, I was experiencing a much lower level of pain and I was walking more. At that point I needed more cushioning than Birkenstocks can provide. Apparently I have a moderate to high arch, which causes me to need more cushioning.

Elliott doesn't need or want a lot of cushioning due to his flatter feet (if my recollection is correct). So the above observation isn't relevant to his situation.

The 'bumps' on a Birkenstock classic footbed size 40 are too far forward for me, even when I slipped forward in the Birkenstocks, but they were close enough to allow me to hobble about when things were so tough. The bumps on a 39 in the classic footbed are placed better for my foot, but when I wear a 39 my wide forefoot slops over the lateral edge of the Birkenstocks.

A knowledgeable Birkenstock salesperson solved that problem for me. She fit me in a 39 Grenada, a style which has the leather upper attached all along that edge of the shoe and the leather is enough to nudge my forefoot inside the rim. So, the 39 Grenada is the best fitting classic footbed Birkenstock for me. That's something I never would have figured out on my own.

That sort of fix for the problem might or might not work for Elliott, since (1) the Grenada doesn't look too much like a manly man's shoe and also (2) since his feet may slop over the edge more than mine, which only barely slopped over a little bit (though it was enough that I couldn't wear a 39 otherwise).

My favorite fitting Birkenstock is the Fulda, which does not have the classic footbed. It is a Birkenstock Tatami in the high arched footbed line that otherwise sort of resembles an Arizona. I wear a 40 Fulda, which gives me the width of a 40 that I need to prevent slopping over the edge, and yet the bumps are placed further back. Still not perfect, but better.

When I'm out walking around the city I need more cushioning, but my Fuldas are nice in the evenings while I'm relaxing and not walking that much.

Carole C

Re: Tolerance

wendyn on 8/05/02 at 11:17 (091627)

Pauline, now that you mention it - I always seem to find my Birks less comfortable after about 6 months. I guess I break down the shoes enough that they seem to lose some of their support.

If I get a new identical pair, the problem is solved.

Re: Tolerance

Carole C in NOLA on 8/05/02 at 14:34 (091648)

That's interesting! That could be consistent with my experiences, too.

I do find that my Floridas, which I wore pretty continuously for several months since they were my first Birkenstocks, are no longer my choice. I have five pairs that are less than a year old, so I can pick and choose, but the Floridas seem to just sit there and collect dust. I thought the reason behind not wearing my Floridas was just a craving for variety, but maybe they have become less comfortable.

I definitely noticed that I prefer the feel of Birkenstocks before they are broken in, at least for around-the-house use. I know... that's a little strange. Most people prefer the feel after they are broken in.

Carole C

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

yasmin from london on 8/05/02 at 18:02 (091669)

Hi

i want to get a pair of birks, i have a low arch, and very smal feet, what should i look for when purchasing these shoes. when i went to a store last time and explained to assistant about my probs, she looked at me with a blank face and said she had no idea what i was talking about! also do the birks need the eva sole, will i need an insert and finally what other types of shoes could i purchase besides birks to wear around the house?

One more thing, i keep reading that flat shoes or low heels aren't good for pf, but the birks appear to be very flat, so how can they be helpful? just curious, thats all!

thanks

yasmin

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Carole C in NOLA on 8/05/02 at 21:30 (091702)

Birkenstocks have an orthotic footbed made out of cork, which is what they are famous for. They have an eva sole already on them. I'd suggest that you try them in the store, without an insert. The most popular Birkenstock for PF sufferers is the Arizona. Try on an Arizona sandal, with the classic footbed and a natural leather or suede upper instead of a plastic upper. See if you like it. :)

If you buy Birkenstocks, be sure to break them in. Do not wear them more than an hour the first day, an hour and a half the second day, and increasing by half hours for the first week or two.

I don't personally know of any other shoes to wear around the house, since they happen to be the only sandals that I've worn around the house since I got PF. However, others say that Mephistos, Finn Comfort, Dansko clogs, and several other brands are very comfortable.

Birkenstocks with the classic footbed don't have a flat surface but they do have a lowered heel. Some people do better with a raised heel most of the time. However, if you alternate between a raised heel and a lowered heel, then your tendons and tissues won't just shorten with the raised heel. So, they seem to help even those of us who prefer raised heels by providing a variety of heel heights. I wouldn't want to wear them all the time. I just wear them around the house anyway.

Hope this helps.

Carole C

Re: if you're looking for a flat, firm Birk, forget it! :-) (nm)

elliott on 8/05/02 at 22:26 (091709)

.

Re: For Yasmin: Birks

Julie on 8/06/02 at 02:44 (091715)

Yasmin, as you live in London, you may already know about the specialist Birkenstock store in Neal Street, Covent Garden. They stock Birks, Birks, and nothing but Birks, and are supposed to know how to fit them properly. They have a wide range of styles, too (though nowhere near the full range - there seem to be thousands of styles now.) It's the best place to start.

I'd suggest you visit them if you haven't done that already. Of course there are salespeople and salespeople, and you can't expect them all to be conversant with foot problems. But I'm sure that if you asked to speak to the store manager, you'd get more informed help.

I've been wearing Birk Arizona sandals around the house ever since my PF started, and still do although my PF has long since resolved, and I feel that Birks were a significant part of my recovery. They suit me and other people well, but they don't suit everybody. If the 'bumps' in the classic Birk footbed correspond to the hills and valleys in your feet, they will probably suit you, otherwise they may not. The negative heel cup does not suit everybody.

As Carole told you, they need to be broken in gradually, so there's no way of knowing if they will suit you without trying. That does mean buying a pair and wearing them at home: you can't tell from a store try-on.

I believe the Neal Street store will take them back if they show no sign of wear.

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

yasmin from london on 8/06/02 at 16:49 (091766)

Hi

thanks for your advice, you mention the classic footbed, is that the insole that come with the sandals or is the separate traditional insole?

Yasmin

Re: Footbeds

yasmin from london on 8/06/02 at 16:53 (091767)

Hi

thanks for your advice, you mention the classic footbed, is that the insole that come with the sandals or is the separate traditional insole?

Also, i know this may be a silly question to ask, whats the differnce between an insole and an upper? The upper you mention, is it the full leather insole by birks?
Yasmin

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Carole C in NOLA on 8/06/02 at 18:48 (091781)

The classic footbed is not removable and comes in SOME of the Birkenstocks. It is not a separate insole. Usually the Birkenstock Arizona has the classic footbed, as do some other styles like the Florida, Grenada, and Boston.

You can read lots about Birkenstocks at the Birkenstock express website, which is http://www.birkenstockexpress.com (don't click on the URL that I typed or you will go to the German site... it must be copied and pasted into your browser).

Carole C

Re: Footbeds

Carole C in NOLA on 8/06/02 at 18:50 (091782)

Yasmin, uppers are 'upper'..... they are the part of the shoe that goes on top of your feet. Insoles go beneath your feet. Hope this helps.

Carole C

Re: Thanks!

yasmin from london on 8/08/02 at 15:01 (091990)

Thanks for the advice and to julie too!

i brought the birks, i may want to ask u a few questions later, if thats okay.

yasmin

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Pauline on 8/09/02 at 14:01 (092065)

Do Flat footed or people with low arches like Birks?

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Carole C in NOLA on 8/09/02 at 18:10 (092086)

some of them do, like John H

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

nancy s. on 8/09/02 at 19:58 (092093)

a definite yes from me, pauline. have flat feet, low arches, and the only thing i can wear is birks. they've helped enormously. have rejected two pairs of orthotics, one of them very good, but . . .

Re: For Carole C and anyone else who wears birks..

Julie on 8/10/02 at 16:32 (092136)

I would have said probably not, but coincidentally I met a woman today at a workshop I gave who has extremely flat feet and asked me about her knee problems (which she feels her flat feet have caused). I showed her my Birks and asked her if she knew about them; she said yes, she has a pair and loves them.