By Susan "Honey" Good
My friends wonder how I can continue, after breaking my ankle, to glide through life in high heeled shoes and boots. (It's been reported that the average woman owns at least 20 pairs!) Today, I'm sharing shoe tips for women with bad feet over 50.
If you entered my closet and glanced at my collection of fabulous and fashionable shoes, you would never think they belonged to a grandmother, way over 50, with twenty-five grands and damaged feet. (Stay tuned! Next week, I'm updated my Grands story as we've grown from 20 to 25!)
I can only say this: “Never underestimate a woman’s ingenuity when she wants something."
I am proud to say I have figured out how to continue to strut my stuff and I am happy to say, I love to share my fashion tips, ideas and solutions. Remember my saying, “We can make sweet lemonade out of lemons.”
I had perfect feet until I broke my ankle three years ago when I accidentally fell off of a ladder in high heels while reaching for a handbag -- talk about being so busy I acted dizzy!
I had surgery and wore a pink cast for six months with a smiley face painted on my big polished pink toe. (I never stop thinking about femininity and fashion, darlings!) I kept my spirits high because of my many girlfriends and my husband…whose kindness surpassed Florence Nightingale's.
I assumed, incorrectly, that I would ‘walk’ right out of my surgeon’s office the day my cast came off, rush home and slip into a pair of my divine shoes.
I was in for a shock, darlings. I could not walk, bend my toes or flex my left foot. I was in excruciating pain. I was beside myself and in tears.
I looked at my doctor and asked, as I tried unsuccessfully to take my first steps, “Will I ever be able to walk again?”
My doctor responded, “I hope so.”
My heart sank.
That evening, I dressed for my ‘supposed’ celebration dinner in pants that were too long. I wore a flat on my good foot and a pink-striped sock given to me by my girlfriend, Linda. I hobbled into the restaurant on my trusty walker.
Did I allow my injured foot to prevent me from wearing my platforms in the future? Did I give away my high-heeled boots or gorgeous pumps? Of course not, darlings!
I plunged into physical therapy from May until November with a vengeance. I graduated from a walker to a cane. After months of hard work, I was able to slowly flex my foot and toes so I could walk up and down steps carefully and with great caution. I had to regain my balance and my gait. It took all of my persistence, patience and, the help of my Ultimate Concierge, Shelly. (Read my post about Shelly's kind help here.)
FASHIONABLE SHOE TIPS FOR BAD FEET
Well my darlings, especially you with problemed feet, I began the long road back to normalcy by figuring out temporary fashionable solutions. I went out and bought fabulous flat shoes from fun sneakers to fancy flats. Let me share a few ideas.
- I bought yellow leather ‘high top’ sneakers that I dared myself to wear with a beautiful, dressy Gucci Dress. And black high tops, also!
- For a formal wedding I bought patent leather Chanel flats with pearls.
- For everyday wear I bought flowered sneakers and two pairs of Lanvin flats in silver and deep blue because the colors were not seasonal and went with everything in my wardrobe. The style of the shoe stretches and the leather was very soft.
- For my emotional wellbeing I avoided shortening my slacks. I wanted to keep a positive attitude, dreaming of the day I would once again strut my stuff feeling glamorous and amorous (for my husband!) in my high-heeled shoes.
It has been three years of adjustments. My once perfect foot will never be the same. I have nerve damage in four of my toes, my foot is still slightly swollen from living in a cast for six months and I developed a bunion. However, I am happy to say my broken bone healed perfectly and I am strutting my stuff once again in my fashionable heels.
HOW TO WEAR HIGH HEELS WITH BAD FEET
- I wear platforms with a wide toe box. Ask your salesperson for the best brands.
- I wear platform sandals. My tootsies are free as a breeze.
- I buy shoes that are one or one and a half sizes larger than my normal shoe size. My bunion no longer pains me and the shoes fit perfectly.
- I took my high heels to the shoemaker and had the heels cut down as far as possible. You have to be mindful to tell your shoemaker he must maintain the correct pitch. You will lose a quarter to at most a half inch, but it makes a notable difference.
- I was determined to try and save my shoes, so I had all of my left shoes stretched because that foot is a tiny bit swollen and I now have to deal with a bunion. Make sure to tell him to leave each shoe on the stretcher for a few days. It took me an entire summer and into the fall to complete the task.
- I buy designer shoes that have a wide toe box to house my damaged toes and bunion. Prada is the best in style and width for my foot.
- The shoes I could no longer wear I gave to an A+ consignment store and am saving that money to purchase a handbag I am dying to own.
USE YOUR ‘EMOTIONAL’ WHEREWITHAL
I have learned how to manage my foot problem because of determination and I am happy to say I no longer wear flats. I think a chic shoe shows the personality of a woman. So my darlings, my philosophy is as follows:
- Do try and continue to buy glamorous and stylish shoes. It will give you a ‘lift’ in more ways than one.
- Do be determined to solve your foot problem(s). Use your will and you can find solutions.
- Do not be shy in asking experts for help.
- Do be a good listener and then follow advice.
- Motivate yourself into action. A woman’s shoes are an important part of her style!
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Do you have tips about how to deal with bad feet over 50? If you have something to say about this story… let’s talk! I want so much to hear your opinions + feelings. I also want you to speak up so that women our age remain visible. I think we have a responsibility to share our wisdom, don’t you? Share yours either in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.