My search for beautiful and functional, off the shelf, footwear for a wheelchair user with swollen foot problems continues … and, from the feedback I’ve gotten on it, I know I’m not alone in my hunt.
Swollen feet are just an every day normal problem for many non-standing wheelchair users, others with mobility issues and for huge numbers on any kind of fluid retaining medication.
From the years I’ve spent looking, and listening to others doing the same, it is extraordinarily difficult to find off the shelf shoes and slippers to accommodate this ridiculously common practical problem and as for finding some footwear with any semblance of style or fashion awareness – needle in a haystack, baby.
My shoes need to cope with width that starts off normal and expands through the day. Too tight or too hard an edge or sole equals a lot of pain. Unable to walk, my shoes don’t wear out or even need to be practical but mustn’t rub or constrain as blisters or sores would be a disaster. They do need to stay on my wheelchair footplates so a litttle abrasion on the sole is a good thing. I just want them to sit on my feet and look good. Simples, no?
Not so much, as my issues will likely differ from each of the next person’s so we all have to find the best individual things that work for us.
My solution? Well, I have tried bespoke solutions, specialist suppliers, a number of off the shelf options and varying sizes without much joy.
I’ve finally settled on Haflinger plain black felt slippers for day-day and some lovely bespoke suede and leather mules – yes, at a very reasonable £150-200, I’ve gone wild with two pairs, one suede, one leather – for going out.
However, I am sorely lacking anything that sets my aesthetic senses alight with joy as really beautiful footwear should, just like these lovely mules and velvet slippers from Sanayi 313 that I am featuring on this page.
Trying to tamper down my excitement, I think I might be able to wear the flat velvet slipper versions of these styles – sadly not the vertiginous heels – which are much the same in form as my current mules/slippers. The Sanayi 313 versions are so much prettier though also a lot more £££ – as if that would put me off given an average ten year lifespan for my shoes (no wearing out, remember)..
Irritatingly, I’ve found Sanayi 313 at the end of the winter season and many styles are sold out in my size. Nevertheless, I shall be trawling through the sales options and keeping my eyes open for new season stock as I am determined to try them.
I would so love a pair of the Pom Poms or furry velvet Signorina, below. So much, in fact, I may even go the bespoke route again to get something similar if the Sanayi 313 don’t do the job. Perhaps I should just start up a business myself, or fund someone else to do so, to fill this glaring gap in the adaptive wear market. Try to licence designs that would work and bespoke them in wider sizes. What do you think?