With MS, a New Pair of Shoes Makes a Big Difference
I wish I could walk a mile in my shoes, but even with a new pair, that’s not going to happen.
My MS limits me to about 100 steps while using two canes and a functional electrical stimulation device strapped under my left knee. Because walking is so difficult, what I wear on my feet is important.
What I want in my MS shoe
I like a shoe with a smooth rubber sole that gives me a little cushion but doesn’t grab. Others prefer a leather sole that allows the shoe to slide over the floor rather than stick to it. Little weight, inner comfort, good support, and low price also are important to me.
I have a great pair of Mephisto dress loafers from my working days. They’re light and offer the right amount of bounce and comfort. They slip onto my feet fairly easily, and their rubber soles are flat enough so that I can slide my left foot, which refuses to lift, over most floor surfaces.
But because they have no laces, they don’t offer the best support. And they’re expensive, to the tune of about $300. (Mephisto offers to rehab worn shoes for about $100 a pair.) Just the same, they’ve been my go-to shoe since I unexpectedly discovered about two years ago how well I can walk in them.
Recently, I tried a pair of Sperry boating sneakers. (I don’t have a boat, but my brother-in-law has a beauty.) The model I chose is more like a tennis sneaker than the typical leather boat shoe, so it’s much lighter, and I found it on sale for about $40.
The fit was snug, so the support was pretty good, but it made my feet feel warm. Worse, the shoes had nonskid soles, which are necessary for boating, but tough if you’re trying to drag a foot. I’ll save them for the occasional boat trip.
Leave it to my my wife to find the best shoe
My wife has a lot of shoes, while I only have a few pairs. So, I usually ignore it when she tells me, “These shoes are great.” But I’m glad I listened when she raved about a pair of Kizik shoes and insisted I try them.
Kiziks are unique because able-bodied people can slip into these sneakers without holding them. You can just slide your foot in while pressing down on the heel. The shoe’s heel will then bounce right back up behind the heel of your foot, and you’re in.
I was able to accomplish this with my right foot while standing and balancing with my two canes. However, the left foot was another story. I couldn’t lift it high enough to slide in. But if I sat and held the shoe, I could slide my foot in using a finger to pull the heel back a little. It was a lot easier to accomplish this with Kizik shoes than with my other shoes.
Kiziks have adjustable laces for your preferred level of support without affecting their slip-on ability. They’re lightweight, and the sole slides pretty well along the floor. My pair cost about $100, and the shoes passed my wife’s important “They look good, are you going to keep them?” test.
To each his or her own
Everyone’s MS is different, so what works for me might not work for you. Some people like rocker shoes. Some like Nike runners, while others like shoes with Velcro straps. The U.K.’s MS Society even has an online discussion group about shoes. While no one has posted recently, the old stuff is still relevant.
If you’re on a shoe search, good luck. If you have a favorite shoe that helps you get to where you’re going, please let us all know in the comments below.
You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.
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