Summer shoes with ankle support?
May 8, 2015 3:37 AM   Subscribe

I need summer shoes that are appropriate for my dark-colours, femme-with-an-edge aesthetic. Difficulty: my ankles roll (and then I fall), and my hand surgeon has emphasized I must do everything in my power to avoid slipping/falling this summer. What flat, good-grip summer shoes provide ankle support?

So, I'm not very good at accessorizing to begin with. I:
  • work in a business-casual office,
  • often wear skirts,
  • and walk everywhere. I have no bike or car.
It gets to 36C/97F in my city.

They also need:
  • good ankle support (my ankles roll and cause me to fall),
  • no heel or platform,
  • and good grip
I don't know where do start or what styles to look for, since all of the cute summer shoes I can think of (sandals! oxfords! ballet flats!) have no ankle support. Help me find safe summer shoes?
posted by flibbertigibbet to Shopping (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: By "ankle support," do you literally mean something like booties where your ankles are rigidly encased so they physically can't bend? Or just something that's stable enough on the bottom to discourage rolling in general?

If the latter, then you might consider barefoot-style shoes, which IME make for more stable walking because your feet can feel and flexibly respond the terrain you're walking on, instead of clop-clopping straight up and down and forcing your ankles to be the flexible point. I really love my Lems Sweet Janes, but they're sadly discontinued (they do turn up on Ebay every now and again). Soft Star has some cute-ish skirt-appropriate models, as well, as does Vivobarefoot.
posted by Bardolph at 3:55 AM on May 8, 2015

Response by poster: By "ankle support," do you literally mean something like booties where your ankles are rigidly encased so they physically can't bend? Or just something that's stable enough on the bottom to discourage rolling in general?

Anything that discourages rolling. I assumed my only option would be actual material around the ankle.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:13 AM on May 8, 2015

If there is a shop in your city that specializes in custom shoes or, not to point to fine a point on it, old-lady footwear, you might find it to be a great help. I have crap ankles myself, and have found the folks at Moulded Shoe in NYC to have a good understanding of the issue, and some not-hideous shoes that can help.
posted by minervous at 4:27 AM on May 8, 2015

If the base of the heel is wide than your foot, a shoe can be very roll-proof. Compare these two Keen mary-jane shoes: this one has a triangular shape when viewed from the back, would be pretty stable; whereas this one is a more traditional shape, straight vertical, slightly rounded corners, easier to roll (but still much less unstable than many of the "pretty" brands). Keens may or may not be what you're looking for right now, but when you're looking at shoes (forever!), keep an eye out for that more stable design structure as something that will help you not fall.
posted by aimedwander at 4:50 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have the same ankle problem. After turning my ankles to mush by wearing sandles and flats over the years, I've resorted to wearing Doc Martens boots with everything (and I mean everything) from office attire to dresses, to jeans, to capri pants. They come in lots of different colors and I don't notice that my feet are hot. But I'm kind of an odd duck and this may not be to your liking.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 4:51 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My husband solved this problem by wearing shoes like Vans-- utterly flat skateboard shoes. Not sure how that squares with your aesthetic but it didn't involve high tops at all.
posted by Sublimity at 5:26 AM on May 8, 2015

Best answer: Ideas: Clark's desert boots, high-top converse all stars
posted by amaire at 6:15 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I also came here to recommend Keen mary janes. I have similar troubles with my ankles, and I live in a hot humid place, and I love their Sterling City mary jane. They are incredibly supportive with the wide heel that aimedwander mentions above, but my feet get to breathe some.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:16 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Aimedwander's mention of heel shape reminded me of this style of shoe which I'd just been admiring. I am a total no-heels person, but the fact that the "heel" is about as high as my sneakers made me give them a second look. No direct ankle support, but a nice wide base to walk on. I haven't bought them but I've heard only good things about Fluevogs.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:29 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ok, so they're not summer shoes, but I've been wearing these waterproof chukka boots in black all winter and they're SO lightweight and comfortable (like buttery leather sneakers!) that I'm still wearing them well into booty-short and t-shirt season. I have picky feet and spend a lot of time on them or on a bike, so I need good support, and they deliver.

They look a lot more like fancy dress shoes instead of scummy winter boots if you keep them clean and polished with your preferred leather care product.
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:35 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, and as far as grip: I was riding a fixed gear bike in these all winter in Chicago, so a lot of terrifying ice situations, and they were like glue. I have a pair of Frye's and those jerks slide all over the place.
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:38 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a weak ankle that tends to roll. Strangely enough, I have yet to roll my ankle and stumble while wearing ballet flats with flexible soles, in my particular case Hush Puppies Chase ballet flats. I think what it's doing is that it's forcing my feet to engage more when I walk, in the way that Bardolph describes above.

I have several pairs of the above ballet flats - the soles are rubber and have good grip, I wear them in business casual settings, and are relatively inexpensive.
posted by needled at 7:07 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There seem to be a lot of gladiator-type styles this summer, but there's no way those little straps (or any sandal strap) can offer enough support to prevent your ankles from rolling. I really sympathize, because I have similar issues, but I know that there are full-on ankle braces that don't do the job well, so I'm super pessimistic about relying on a few leather bands. Flat, lightweight shoes with good heel contact and grip, that fit you perfectly, are the best you can do for summer shoes, I think (along with doing your ankle strengthening exercises), otherwise cuddles.mcsnuggy is right imo, combats are best.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:50 AM on May 8, 2015

The Pearl Chukka that Juliet Banana linked to and that looks amazing is super on sale on Amazon right now. For $35, I might have to get some.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:59 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS?!?!?!? They're like, $130 shoes. I got them for a deal with a $100 REI gift card I got for signing up for a credit card, but holy moly. I can definitely vouch that they have the quality of $130 and that at $35 I recommend basically everyone buy a pair.

They're *very* waterproof, by the way. I might get a back up pair just because that price is so good.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:02 AM on May 8, 2015

Yeah, I just bought a second pair in chocolate (my original pair is black). If that helps convince anyone.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:14 AM on May 8, 2015

Best answer: Sometimes ankle support doesn't need to be direct. These sassy planks have been my summer shoes for years. Because they are both wide and firm I've found them to be very ankle friendly.

To be fair, I have been able to wear only Birkenstock sandals and shoes for several years due to knee problems, so I am biased.
posted by monopas at 10:25 AM on May 8, 2015

Best answer: Seconding Vans - I have terrible ankles too and the classic style is pretty much roll-proof because they're wide, with edges square to the ground. I've worn mine (black) with casual dresses and leggings...that style may or may not work for you.
posted by randomnity at 11:32 AM on May 8, 2015

When I was having some ankle problems a few years ago I ended up with Teva sandals that had great support. The trick was arch support, since that gave my feet the stability they needed not to turn my ankle. I also got some orthotics toward the same end, at my podiatrist's recommendation.

If not turning your ankle is as big a thing as you're saying here I would definitely recommend you see a podiatrist too. Call first to verify that s/he works on ankles as will as feet though.
posted by Lady Li at 10:40 AM on May 9, 2015

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