Shoe Shopping with Cerebral Palsy

Shoe Store Aldo

Cerebral palsy adds difficulty to shoe shopping. Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

When going shoe shopping, what factors do you keep in mind? To the average person I’m guessing common answers might include price and style/design. Now I can only guess since my cerebral palsy (CP) adds factors most people probably don’t need to consider.

Early on in my memoir Off Balanced (available on the Kindle, Nook, and i-Pad via the free Kindle app) I mention wearing high top shoes as a kid. The high tops worked to hide the DAFOs (dynamic ankle foot orthoses) I wore, which aided my childhood agenda to hide my CP.

Years later I still limit my shoe shopping to high tops. These days the reasoning stems from practicality rather than embarrassment over my disability. High tops provide my ankles extra support, support lessening my wobbliness. This support proves essential given I no longer wear DAFOs.

However I still rely on foot orthotics, custom made shoe inserts specifically. Amongst their purposes, my shoe inserts neutralize a significant height discrepancy with my legs. So you might say my inserts play important roles in my ability to move the best I can. Thus I must buy shoes the inserts will fit well into.

My custom made shoe inserts

The shoe inserts I need to keep in mind when shoe shopping.

Finding that right fit can prove difficult. For instance this week I passed on certain shoes I really wanted. My inserts did not fit the 8.5 size. Depending on the shoe I can also wear nines. While the insert fit well into the nines, my foot did not. Too much space up by the toes! Ugh!

From the weekly cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow (Wednesdays 8pm EST/Use #CPChatNow) I know shoe shopping stands a frustrating task for many in the CP community. My own case only demonstrates a couple issues. Some with CP may experience trouble tying shoes. Others may baffle the shoe department staff with two different size feet. Bottom line, the frustrations vary person by person.

If you possess an interesting shoe shopping story whether due to cerebral palsy, a different disability, or another factor please feel free to share by commenting below. Thanks in advance for adding your insights!

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2 comments on “Shoe Shopping with Cerebral Palsy

  1. nicolanoo says:

    I have CP and I hate shoe shopping! I have to get shoes that are wide enough to fit my splints in that I feel steady walking in. I always wear out the toes far too fast.

    If I’m buying shoes to wear without my splints I often have to go into the children’s section even though I’m 23. I have to try and find something that looks age-appropriate too. I have to try and find something that I can put on myself (I always need help with my splints anyway so that’s not an issue when finding shoes to accommodate them). I can’t tie my own laces yet, but I can working on it, so I have to try find shoes with velcro or zips if I can.

  2. […] “Shoe Shopping with Cerebral Palsy” “Concert Going with Cerebral Palsy” “Going to the Ballpark with Cerebral Palsy” […]

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