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comfy shoes for women
August 19, 2012 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Wife is getting shin splits. Walks a lot for her job. You chics out there--what is the most comfortable athletic or casual shoe you've ever worn?
posted by luvmywife to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
I took up walking as a form of exercise last spring, and started wearing the Merrell Dash Glove after doing some research that for walking you need different types of heels on your shoes than you do for running, due to where your weight hits when you walk vs. run. Many people get shin splints wearing running shoes when they walk a lot, and I had been developing them, too. After I started wearing these, my shin splints vanished.

This isn't a full-on barefoot shoe, but it has a lot less sole than your typical shoe. So if she feels like she needs cushioning, this wouldn't be right for her. Also, I don't wear these all day, most days. I mostly put them on when I'm going for a walk or if I'm going to spend the day shopping or something. So HMMV!
posted by clone boulevard at 3:16 PM on August 19, 2012


Not a shoe suggestion, except that it might allow your wife to wear all kinds of shoes: doing calf stretches eliminated my shin splints completely. I just stand on my front stoop and let my toes hang off the step, and then point said toes down and hold for 20 seconds or so (and then balance it out by turning around and dropping my heels, too). Unless one is wearing absolutely ridiculous shoes, walking a lot shouldn't result in shin splints.

FWIW, my shoes include running shoes, Vans, Birkenstocks, cowboy boots, 3" heels, and a wide variety of crap from Payless ShoeSource. Stretching made all of them better as long as the individual shoe was comfortable in the first place.
posted by obliquicity at 3:22 PM on August 19, 2012


I love my Clarks sandals. I've been buying a pair of their leather sandals each summer (this is nearly but not exactly the pair I have currently), and I've used them for everything from everyday wear to long walks to hiking. They make sandals that are firmly on the side of activewear which I imagine are even better for your wife's needs. I probably sound like a shill for Clarks now but they're quite decently priced as well.
posted by capricorn at 3:25 PM on August 19, 2012


Would you mind another shin splints suggestion mixed in with the footwear suggestions? This one is odd but helped me in my heavy running days - sit in a chair with a newspaper flat on the floor in front of you, and roll the newspaper up with your toes. Also, if there is any way that your wife can walk on asphalt (road) or better yet on dirt or grass, rather than on pavement (sidewalk), that will help because the harder the surfaces are the more they will give you trouble with shin splints.
posted by cairdeas at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2012


They come at a rather swingeing cost, but these Fluevogs are simply the best shoe from the instant you put them on. Also assume by 'chics' you meant us tres chic people with discriminating taste in footwear.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 3:30 PM on August 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


I alternate (1 day on, 1 day off) between Asics Gel Nimbus (for running) and New Balance Minimus (for walking). (In case it matters, I have big feet, too: 10.) Also, wear LL Bean moccasins or some kind of cushy slippers w/ socks in the house, even if it's hot. Also 2nding what cairdeas says about being careful re: surfaces she walks on.
posted by Lettuce_Leaves at 3:39 PM on August 19, 2012


I've never had an uncomfortable moment with Clarks, and I've owned maybe 10 pair by now.
posted by Houstonian at 3:39 PM on August 19, 2012


Currently, every pair of shoes I own are Keens. No longer owning any uncomfortable shoes was the best decision I've ever made.

For her purposes, maybe a hiking shoe or boot is what she needs.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:43 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


1) Respectfully disagree with clone boulevard. Walking generally involves a step that rolls through the whole foot from front to back. I recommend AGAINST getting barefoot-style running shoes for heavy walking. The padding in the heel is often inadequate and will lead to heal pain, plantar fasciitis and other issues if you ask me (and I'm a proponent of minimalist shoes and mid- / fore-foot striking while running, but that is simply not how people walk). This brings me to point #2, and most important:

2. In my experience, when someone develops shin splints in the setting of a heel strike movement (walking or the more standard running style), it usually means 2 things: a) overuse; b) arch problems, typically flat feet with over-pronation. The solution to these is to a) slowly ramp up physical activity; b) appropriate arch support in your footwear. The best solution means custom fit orthotic inserts from a podiatrist who molds your feet. Short of that, I'd find a REAL shoe store for runners, where the salespeople know what they are doing, can assess the arch and provide off-the-shelf options that might work. This doesn't mean FootLocker or any store you'd find in the mall. In LA, we have places like FrontRunners. Minimalist shoes will not fix this problem unless they are accompanied by a change in mechanics to a mid-foot strike, which is really only possible while running.

3. Physical therapy directed at strengthening the anterior tibialis and other supportive muscles involved in foot dorsiflexion are usually helpful. Just google for shin splint exercises.

It's not just about general comfort. It's about the right amount of arch support for her specific foot and degree of pronation.
posted by drpynchon at 3:45 PM on August 19, 2012


I second hydropsyche's advice. My Keens are the best, most comfortable shoes I've ever owned.
posted by fullerenedream at 3:54 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, Keens! I could have written hydropsyche's post word for word.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 4:05 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is your wife by any chance walking around in a cold environment? Failure to warm up properly is a common cause of shin splints among dancers, and a common recommendation is simply to insulate the shins with socks, boots or leg warmers. This worked wonders with me.

Also, seconding that barefoot shoes (though I wear and love these) are not the right direction to go if you have shin splints. A gel insole that can absorb some of the shock of repeated heel strikes would be a good first step.
posted by psycheslamp at 4:34 PM on August 19, 2012


It does depend on her work environment. Is she walking on concrete floors all day? What type of dress is appropriate? As a floor manager in a warehouse environment, Clark's with added gel soles was our choice. For home use I go with New Balance hikers, and my walking-across-campus daughter swears by the Keens.
posted by raisingsand at 4:38 PM on August 19, 2012


Superfeet insoles have helped my feet a great deal. The blue trim-to-fit insoles are made to fit in normal sneakers. I think the pink trim-to-fit might too, and those ones are made especially for women. I have the blue insoles in my shoes, and when I try on new shoes in the store now, they all feel wrong because the support and alignment are so off.
posted by colfax at 4:56 PM on August 19, 2012


Sanita clogs are amazing and worth every penny if you're on your feet for hours and hours.
posted by availablelight at 6:54 PM on August 19, 2012


1) Respectfully disagree with clone boulevard. Walking generally involves a step that rolls through the whole foot from front to back. I recommend AGAINST getting barefoot-style running shoes for heavy walking. The padding in the heel is often inadequate and will lead to heal pain, plantar fasciitis and other issues if you ask me (and I'm a proponent of minimalist shoes and mid- / fore-foot striking while running, but that is simply not how people walk).

Have to say I totally disagree with this and I regularly do long mountain day hikes: like 20+ miles in a day with lots of elevation gain and losee. Barefoot shoes are where it's at and I do all my hiking in 5 fingers or VivoBarefeet now. All my running too. No more shin splints for years.

A few nastily stubbed toes I do admit.
posted by fshgrl at 7:42 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seconding Merrell, with Clarks and Easy Spirit close behind. All very comfortable.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:50 PM on August 19, 2012


Danskos were recommended to me by my podiatrist for a myriad of foot issues and have helped immensely. Not always the sexiest things on earth but they get the job done. I also adore the Earthies line for super cute shoes that enable me to walk or dance for hours with no pain.
posted by deliciae at 8:50 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dansko!
posted by Raichle at 8:51 PM on August 19, 2012


i run in adidas glides. it's like running on pillows.
posted by violetk at 10:20 PM on August 19, 2012


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