Bunions and hammertoes and neuromas, oh my! If one or more of these conditions plague your poor toes, you know just how difficult it is to find a shoe that doesn't have you wincing in pain after just an hour's wear. It's high time to find footwear with a more accommodating toe box (the front part of the shoe that protects the toes). The above conditions are worsened when toes are shoved into a shoe with a small or tight toe box. Believe me, I remember well!
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis right in the middle of my teaching career. My swollen, sore toes needed space, yet the toe boxes of all my shoes were simply too tight. The first shoe to provide relief was a pair of black Dansko mary janes with the model name "Kirsten." My namesake shoes.I should have had them bronzed as I wore them for five years straight unable to find another brand that understood my foot like Dansko.
That was 1997, this is now. Shoe companies are getting the message that women want shoes they can stand in all day that won't compromise style or comfort. Wondering where to start? I've picked five of my favorite, fashionable shoes with roomy toe boxes. I write from experience as I own four out of the five shoes listed (and have all three conditions mentioned above: bunions, hammertoes AND neuroma):
1. Dansko Professional: The Professional is Dansko's flagship clog and remains dear to my sole. Not only will you be able to spread your toes, this clog offers excellent arch support and a rocker sole which gently "rocks" your foot through the stride alleviating pressure on the forefoot and toes. Check out the lovely new spring "French Print" Professionals.
2. Keen Carmel: This versatile closed-toe sandal provides ample toe room and a customized midfoot fit with its adjustable buckle.
3. Aravon Mia: When you need a dressier shoe with an accommodating toe box, the Aravon Mia is a good choice. Owned by New Balance, Aravon footwear incorporates all the latest comfort technologies with a good dose of style. I get compliments every time I wear the Mia.
4. Born Codder: This darling mary jane has a high and rounded toe box along with a cushioned footbed--never rubs on my hammertoes or squeezes bunions. I own it in red--looks great with jeans or skirts.
5. Wolky Ballota: Wolky brand shoes are my new favorite and I'm thrilled that Onlineshoes.com carries such a wide selection. Wolky means "cloud" in Dutch and that's exactly how they feel--like walking on a cloud. The stylish Ballota ankle-strap sandal has a full toe box with a velcro strap across the forefoot to customize the fit. The anatomical footbed and rocker sole make this a wonderful choice for those with problem feet. I love my Wolky Jewel sandals, but plan on adding the red patent Ballota to my collection this spring!
Kirsten Borrink is the author of BarkingDogShoes.com, a blog about comfortable and stylish shoes for women. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 12 years ago, she understands chronic foot pain all too well and hopes to help other women find fashionable footwear for their "barking dogs."