The Style Struggle: RA and Comfortable Footwear

Foot pain that can come along with RA often makes finding comfy footwear a real problem. High heels can feel like a menace, sandals often provide too little support, and painful bunions can develop, causing even more stress. We have published articles detailing the frustrations many of our community members go through on a daily basis with their shoe selections, and have recently received an outpouring of comments and stories from everyone on this often tricky subject. Here are a few of your thoughts!

The RA Shoe Struggle

Good Shoes Are Hard to Find

  • “Still searching for the perfect shoe!”
  • “It’s hard to find good shoes.”
  • “I would just like to find comfortable work shoes.”
  • “Oh I SO relate to this!!! It’s a living hell wearing shoes, let alone finding different types for different occasions. I dread people asking me to go out as I have nothing good to put on my feet.”
  • “One of the toughest parts of RA. I can try on a pair of shoes in the store, but I won’t know if they will actually work until about day 3. That’s when my ankles let me know that the shoe is a dud.”

And Cute Good Shoes Are Nearly Impossible

  • “Cute and comfortable? What is that? I have to go with whatever my feet choose. I’ll try on hundreds of shoes to find the one pair that doesn’t make me swear when I shove my foot in. Those are keepers.”
  • “I gave up on cute shoes several years ago…”
  • “I so miss cute, sexy shoes.”
  • “I look in my wardrobe at high heels from more carefree days and they look like torture devices. Time to take them out to the bin I think!”
  • “I work at a corporate center and need to dress the part. I take advantage of good days and wear heels whenever I can. On bad days I wear flats, but they come off as soon as I get to my desk where a pair of comfy slippers awaits.”
  • “If I wear a pair of flat ballet slipper dress shoes, I end up with agonizing cramps in my instep and in my toes.”
  • “My feet are terrible! Style is not an option for me anymore.”
  • “Oh how I miss cute shoes, especially the ones with heels.”
  • “I miss cute flip flops on feet that weren’t puffy.”

The RA Shoes You Like

While having both comfort and aesthetics may be a distant dream, there are a few shoes that you in the community have identified as decent - Crocs, Sketchers, Clarks to name a few. And thought the plight is admirable, many of you have said to heck with style, comfort trumps all!

In Comparison, These Are Actually Pretty Cute

  • “I wish I could live in Nike sneakers, but for dress shoes, Clarks are hands down my favorite. They are actually comfortable for a dress shoe.”
  • “I love Vionic! I can’t always wear the closed toed styles when my feet swell up. They really are a life saver.”
  • “I settled with Abeo’s Bio System sandals for now. Check out their inserts, too. There’s quite a science to it. Wear it with a winsome attitude, anything will look just fine!”
  • “Sketchers Go Walk have been a life saver for me, and though they certainly aren’t what anyone would consider dressy, they are coming out in more colors and styles.”
  • “I have had more luck with Sketchers than anything else.”

They Don’t Look That Great, But They’re Sure Comfortable!

  • “I have been wearing Crocs exclusively…I have no more foot pain and my bunions have gone away. People make fun of them, but I refuse to sacrifice comfort for vanity.”
  • “After having tried all the brands on the market, I can only wear MBT. It’s been very hard for me to accept that I have to wear these not-so-pretty-chunky shoes for the rest of my life, but I do not have a choice. I am grateful that I can still walk on my own.”
  • “Winter is costly cause the only boots wide enough and that fit are UGGs.”
  • “I only wear SAS (San Antonio Shoes). They are SOOOOOO comfortable.”
  • “I started wearing Chacos a few months ago. They are fully adjustable and have amazing support. It took a few days to get used to the extreme arch support, but now I love them.”
  • “My cowboy boots are the most comfortable thing I have to wear… they look a little funny when I wear shorts, ah but who cares!”
  • “Being a fella, I’ve lived in boots for donkey’s years, but with the onset of RA I found that the only footwear I was comfortable in were slip-ons from Merrell.”

Everyone is different, as are their experiences and what works for them. If you have any other comments or suggestions that work for you that aren’t include here, or if we hit the nail on the head for you, feel free to let us know!

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