Unhappy Feet needs specific walking shoe advice
October 19, 2010 7:50 AM   Subscribe

With high arches and knees that, all of a sudden, are constantly hurting on the medial side of the joint, I've got to find a walking shoe to help extend the life of these parts. I walk on sidewalks mostly, in the neighborhood. I think a weekly MoTown Dance Party at the local joint is the reason for new knee problems, because I've never had them before all this dancing. I've had great difficulty finding a shoe made with high arches. Slipping in the "Dr. Scholls" type inserts doesn't do it (they slide around too much) and right now, I can't afford orthotics. My mom has feet that have all but fallen apart. She's had foot and knee surgery and hobbles around. I don't want to end up that disabled! Can anyone recommend a good shoe?
posted by sleeping beauty to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Well, darn, I formatted this wrong. Sorry for the long question up front. Yep, I'm a MeFi newbie. ; )
posted by sleeping beauty at 7:51 AM on October 19, 2010

If you do a search for Dr Scholls inserts, you will discover that many stores carry a computer-based machine that will suggest the insert by Scholls which will best
take care of your orthotic device needs. The cost is around 50.00 bucks. But this
is better perhaps than randomly sticking in over the counter inserts.
posted by Postroad at 7:55 AM on October 19, 2010

I don't have a particular shoe recommendation but there is a step in-between crappy Dr. Scholls and custom orthotics. I can highly recommend Arch Molds.

You put them in the the oven on a low heat and then immediately into your shoe. They mold to your feet and shoe. They are much stronger and stiffer than the typical drug store/Dr. Scholls inserts. They provide great arch support and cured my plantar fasciitis. You can get them in running stores and other higher end shoe places. Love them!
posted by pixlboi at 7:59 AM on October 19, 2010

I have high arches and all kinds of joint problems and I love Keens. Most of them have really good built in arch support, but I frequently add some drug store heel cup/arch supports. You can get Keens at any good outdoorsy type store or online shoe store, but I buy them cheap from Sierra Trading Post
posted by hydropsyche at 8:14 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Along the same lines as pixlboi: I have non-custom orthotics from a running store called SuperFeet. They were expensive (about $45), but obviously not as expensive as custom orthotics. They work great. I'd also recommend going to a pedorthist -- mine told me about SuperFeet and actually altered them to suit my feet even more. I'm in Canada, so my pedorthist visit was covered, but it's totally worth the money to go, especially if you're worried about feet problems like your mom's.
posted by pised at 8:16 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

This isn't about shoes, but have you had a physical therapist look at your ITB? It's incredible how many knee problems can be fixed reasonably easily, even by yourself.

posted by surenoproblem at 8:17 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have ridiculously high arches and if I have to be on my feet wearing shoes for a long period of time, I wear my Ariat shoes or boots.
posted by galadriel at 8:35 AM on October 19, 2010

Go to a shoe store specializing in comfort shoes, owned and managed by an experienced cobbler, instead of a mall store staffed by salespeople.

Cobblers can sometimes make orthotic inserts for 1/3 to 1/2 of what it would cost you to go to a podiatrist for them. I have custom inserts from both a shoe store and a podiatrist and I can't really tell the difference except in my wallet.

They can also make other alterations to shoes to help with specific problems -- my local cobbler was also able to mod my heels so that they feel more like flats (I live in Las Vegas and went to the shoe store that all the cocktail waitresses go to).
posted by Jacqueline at 8:36 AM on October 19, 2010

I also have high arches and a cobbler recommended I try Birkenstock inserts. They are 1/2 to 3/4 length inserts that provide great arch support and cost about $50. Because they are made of cork they will actually mold to the shape of your foot after a few weeks. I have been using the same insert for about 2 years and have not had any foot problems since.
posted by swizzlepants at 8:56 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know you are on a tight budget, but do consider having orthotics made. They can be life changing and they will last years.

Over the years I tried hundreds and hundreds of dollars of OTC inserts and the like, and tried to find the mythical "perfect shoe" to solve my foot problems. I felt like an idiot after I finally sprung for a $150 pair of custom orthotics and all my pain just went away.
posted by quarterframer at 9:09 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I agree with quarterframer re custom orthotics, if that's a possibility for you $$$/wise.

Wrt the knee pain, do you do any strengthening exercises? I find that if I'm not doing them (basic - leg lifts for my quads, and "donkey kicks" for my hamstrings) when I run, I develop knee pain, but when I *am* diligent about doing them, I am pain-free.
posted by purlgurly at 9:19 AM on October 19, 2010

Be sure you're buying actual walking shoes, and not just walking in running shoes. It sounds like you're aware of the difference, but many people aren't!
posted by ErikaB at 9:25 AM on October 19, 2010

Your problem is possibly related to your posture and your gait.

Check out Walk Yourself Well

Four dollars used at Amazon
posted by GregorWill at 11:24 AM on October 19, 2010

Birkenstocks are currently the only footwear I can wear without pain. And I mean, any other shoe, mild pain in fifteen minutes, blinding pain in about thirty minutes - Birkenstocks, I can walk for hours and just get normal sore feet. Birkenstocks are the baby jeebus and kittens and puppies to hurty feet.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 4:23 PM on October 19, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, all, for your great input and suggestions. Lots to explore and great tips.
posted by sleeping beauty at 7:41 PM on October 20, 2010

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