For Nanna, who refuses to borrow my 4-inch-heeled crystal stilettos
April 27, 2010 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Can I buy practical but comfy shoes for my 88-year-old Nanna? Online? Other difficulties inside.

Nanna wears enclosed flats, but has trouble with feet that get swollen. I dropped her new specs off to her this morning, and when she toddled out I noticed that her feet were puffy over the tops of her shoes. It always looks so uncomfortable, constricting leather/imitation leather seams squishing the top of her poor foot when it gets puffy.

But she's 88 and a bit tottery on her feet, so she needs enclosed firm footwear, ie, slippers won't do the trick, not sturdy enough. For the same reason, she can't wear strappy sandals. She also can't wear dead-flats... she needs a heel of an inch or so, minimum, to help maintain her 'uprightedness' when she's unsteady, but not a great deal more.

Does something exist that would be both sturdy and comfortable? I'm thinking sorta, um, vaguely like those sheepskin slippers that enclose all but the top of your foot, perhaps with a padded fabric lining or something, but the outside is still proper day/outside wear. Ideally she could put them on without bending too much. She's past buckles and zips, but can bend to pull the heel of a shoe over her heel, if necessary.

And she's a way-cool Nanna, and she might not be around forever, and I'd love to make her remaining days insanely comfortable. Although I'm not rich, I'm happy to splash out to a degree, even if she takes her last breath wearing those comfy shoes anytime soon.

(Googling has been fruitless. Probably because the terms I'm using are wrong.)
posted by malibustacey9999 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh, and she doesn't have any foot-based or spine-based medical problem that needs to be taken into consideration. Other than just being old and worn-out, that is.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:22 PM on April 27, 2010

What about Dansko clogs?
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:27 PM on April 27, 2010

My 92 year old grandmother died recently. While we were going through all her things, my aunts found a pair of San Antonio Shoes they had bought for her,, and which she'd only worn once or twice. They were my size, so I said I would take them.

These are the most wonderfully comfortable shoes I have ever worn in my entire life. I wear them everywhere now.

The ones I linked to might not work for her (they have laces) but maybe something like this or this would work better.

They don't sell them online, but you might be able to call their headquarters (210-924-6507) and figure something out...
posted by Lucinda at 8:33 PM on April 27, 2010

Maybe something like the Croc Tilda or the Croc Fuzzy Slip On?
posted by sharkfu at 8:34 PM on April 27, 2010

These strechy-material slip-ons look like they might be comfortable. The main Grasshoppers site has some pretty nice options as well.
posted by notquitemaryann at 8:36 PM on April 27, 2010

I'd never put a tottery 88-year-old in Dansko clogs. I fell off the stupid things when I was pregnant and slightly off balance; I can't think Nanna would fare much better.

Does she get out and about much? If there's one nearby, can you take her to Nordstrom? They aren't cheap, but they carry a wide selection, even of the kinds of shoes favored by Nannas.

Otherwise, you might try looking for orthopedic shoes like these, probably in an oxford or slip-on style. I could link a bunch of stuff, but you have a better idea of Nanna's style. Just because something is called orthopedic doesn't mean she has to have orthotics to put in them. Something with some stretch, like the shoe I linked, might help alleviate some of the swelling, too.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 8:43 PM on April 27, 2010

I had no idea that SAS stood for San Antonio Shoes! SAS is definitely a grandma-approved shoe.

Can she do Velcro, or would that require too much bending? How about these Eccos? Or these? (Other similar styles are up there, too.)

BeautiFeel is nice, if she's looking for something more dressy, and I bet this shoe's elastic strap could be both sturdy and appropriate for her swelling/non-bending.

I'm not personally familiar with the Aetrex brand, but it looks similar to what some of the older ladies at my church have worn. Looks like some of their styles have pressure-relieving removable insoles and spandex construction to lessen the impact of swelling, so those might be features you'd like.
posted by Madamina at 8:54 PM on April 27, 2010

Sorry, I should have explained further. But I thought I was getting into tl:dr territory as it was...

Nanna's in an assisted-care nursing home here in the boondocks of New South Wales, Australia. There is nothing within a drive-able distance that I could get her to, that I've been able to find by googling anyway, other than the chain store stuff that we have here in town. And there's nothing here in town, believe me.

I can't take her anywhere to try them on. They need to be online-buyable.

I really like Lucinda & notquitemaryann's suggestions at first glance. And I'm thinking that if I get moving quickly, Mother's Day is doable depending on postage times, so I'm itching to get a-surfin'.

I will follow every link above, and any that follow. Thanks, all.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 8:57 PM on April 27, 2010

I highly recommend They stock super-comfy shoes with adjustable widths, stretch shoes, and "stabilizing" shoes of all sorts. Their delivery is fast and they process returns with no problems, if you don't like the shoes or the fit.
You might also consider browsing Zappos. Free shipping, free returns, can't lose. They don't have such a targeted stock, but if you know what you want, they are great!
posted by Susurration at 8:58 PM on April 27, 2010

Bugger. SAS don't sell their products online, and strongly discourage anyone else from doing so.

Is this a silly idea of mine? Is it crucial that Nanna is fitted personally? She lives in a nursing home, it's not like she walks miles, but still...
posted by malibustacey9999 at 9:04 PM on April 27, 2010

SAS shoes are great for grandmas. Why not contact them and find a store in Australia? Then you could probably call them up and have them shipped to you directly, forgoing customs and long shipping times from abroad.

Don't get Dansko clogs. They're wonderful shoes for some people but take some adjustment and not good for wobbly grandmas who might shuffle a bit.
posted by barnone at 9:25 PM on April 27, 2010

These get great reviews on Zappos. One big velcro strap that looks fairly easy to do.
posted by barnone at 9:30 PM on April 27, 2010

My 99 year-old grandma swears by her Clarks. They have a sturdy footbed, just a bit of a heel, and a Velcro closure that is easy for her arthritic hands to adjust to accomodate bunions. Comfortable as anything. I don't see the exact pair she has in a quick search online, but they're kind of like these but with less of a heel and a little more shoe.
posted by cali at 11:39 PM on April 27, 2010

Here's another (hearsay) recommendation for SAS. My grandmother really dug SAS shoes when she was still tripping/lumbering/toddling about the planet. She liked talking about her shoes more than she did any of her grandkids (I'm not really kidding, either). She made darn sure we all knew that so we would know what to get her for Xmas. Their site says that these are their Australian locations.

I don't know Aussie Geography, but I'm hoping one is near you folks.
posted by The Potate at 11:43 PM on April 27, 2010

SAS shoes have worked very well for my 70-year-old mother, who has rheumatoid arthritis.
posted by StrawberryPie at 12:39 AM on April 28, 2010

If she's flexible about the exterior styling, she might like some sort of athletic shoe. They are often heavily padded, with wide, stable soles, and the laces can allow a lot of adjustment to accommodate swelling.
posted by jon1270 at 3:58 AM on April 28, 2010

I absolutely adore my Merrells. Easy to slip on and off, and the most comfy things ever for walking around in. Also the the elastic would give a bit for swelling feet. Never tried any of the other models but would bet they're wonderfully comfy too. On line comments indicate some problems with variations in size... can you possibly order two sizes, and return the ones that don't fit?
posted by evilmomlady at 4:11 AM on April 28, 2010

Chiming in for SAS. I wore a pair for 5 years while waitressing. They're wonderful and they last. Some of them are even not too ugly.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:51 AM on April 28, 2010

Dansko is finally coming out with some shoes that have a wider base, thus more steady, but the narrower ones are definitely falling risks. I've got a newer Dansko, because I have arthritis in my feet and can't bend them, and the base is a significant improvement over the Danskos I used to have, which were threats to my ankles. Unfortunately, I can't recommend this particular one, because it's not that comfy - I only wear this pair when I need grown-up shoes and can't wear my MBT sandals.

Seconding the Merrills recommendation - I wore a pair of Merrill clogs (not heeled, though) around Japan for three weeks, walking 3-5 miles per day, and then wore them constantly for the next 2 years, until the arthritis showed up and I was forced to switch to a brand with rigid soles.

And if Zappos ships to Australia, they've got excellent customer service, and will be happy to talk with you about your needs.
posted by telophase at 7:19 AM on April 28, 2010

Have you considered getting her normal sneakers with a little heel, and then adding stretchy laces like Lock Laces? I'm able to put my sneakers on without touching the laces, but they don't slide on my feet.
posted by anaelith at 3:41 PM on April 29, 2010

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