FitFlops provided for review. I’m no physiotherapist, so please talk to one before buying footwear to address any type of injury or health issue!
When I dislocated both my kneecaps, I went from clicking my way through meetings and airports in high heels to shuffling around in sneakers. I felt so uncomfortable and out of place wearing a business suit with sneakers, but I had no choice. Now that my knees are healed and pretty much normal again, I’ve started looking for shoes that are dressy but still feet-friendly. I’m not ready to don my stilettos quite yet, because I don’t want to put unnecessary strain on my kneecaps after being debilitated for so long, since I was advised that my tendency to overpronate was part of the problem.
Finding shoes that are businesslike AND comfortable is quite a challenge. There are plenty of dress flats out there, but they usually have minimal padding, which is a no-go for me. I finally tracked down a pair that worked for me a few months ago – they aren’t specialty shoes of any type, just flats with a generous sole and comfortable material. So when I was introduced to FitFlop, a line of classy shoes that ARE specifically designed to be ergonomic, my attention was immediately caught. They are unique in the fact that they are dressy shoes – not just sneakers – that have a shock-absorbing sole inspired by equipment used by physical therapists for injury rehabilitation and strengthening. This sounded custom-made for my needs so I knew immediately that I had to have these!
I’ve been wanting to buy special ergonomic shoes for a while, but in that past I’ve had reservations. The price on specialty shoes is usually pretty high, and I got burned the last time I bought a pair so it put me off. Those ugly sneakers I’d been wearing for years? I bought them because my doctor told me that new shoes were absolutely critical for my rehabilitation. I took her notes to a shoe store and talked to an employee who represented himself as very knowledgeable about overpronation and what I needed. The only problem? After I paid a pretty penny for the sneakers, my physiotherapist informed me that the shoes I was wearing were made for UNDERpronators, not OVERpronators – the exact opposite of what I needed. “Oh, that’s OK, we’ll just put inserts in them!” she told me. Which begs the questions, why did I need to buy new shoes in the first place if she was just going to put pads in them?! Anyway, I was hoping that my experience with FitFlops would be significantly better than my sneaker disaster.
FitFlop have a ton of adorable styles, so I spent a while clicking through all the shoes and deciding which ones would be the most versatile; I eventually settled on the Dué™ Mary Jane Leather in Black. I generally take between a US 8 and a 9 in shoes, but FitFlop’s size chart put me quite a bit smaller – I rounded up slightly to 7.5 because I thought anything smaller than that would be just too small. I’m glad I did – there’s quite a bit of room in the toe area, which results in “Toe cleavage”, but if it were any smaller it would be too tight on the toe area for me. As it is, the toe area still feels a tad bit tight, even though there’s a lot of empty space at the top. (I also suffer from perpetually ingrown toenails, so I’m especially sensitive to this. Yes, I’m a mess!) The toes peeking out looks a little silly, but it can be covered with thin socks.
These shoes arrived the same day that an abandoned kitten showed up in my yard, so they got their first test when I was running through the blackberry bushes trying to rescue the little guy. The shoebox that the FitFlop shoes arrived in was repurposed into a makeshift litter box for the kitten, so the whole package turned out to be quite useful that day. 😉 The shoes got another big test when I wore them all day walking around Kmart and LEGO KidsFest – if you click those links, you’ll be able to see more photos of me wearing the shoes. Cute, huh?!
In terms of the orthopedic value of these, I haven’t noticed any negative sensations on my feet or knees in terms of the soles – I’d say these are a great padded flat option. I like the fact that they don’t look boring, they can go with casual clothes or suits, and they have the illusion of having a heel while feeling comfortable from a padding standpoint.
The main problem I’m having with them is the fact that they are rubbing the back of my feet so badly that it hurts to wear them – that has kind of taken away from my ability to properly assess the full orthopedic value to me. I’ve only had them for two weeks, so I suspect that they will gradually break in and stop rubbing my skin. I can put thicker socks on to reduce the rubbing, but as of right now it still hurts. As far as I can tell, these shoes will be super comfortable and pretty awesome once/if the sharp edge stops cutting into me, but they are still somewhat “On probation” until I see how they hold up longterm.
Have you ever bought ergonomic shoes?