Friday, October 26, 2007


I always wear flip flops or Doc Martens, so this doesn't really apply to me. I mean, I do need to get my toenails painted, but that is besides the point.

Shoes are a real battle for us. Why? Because Darsie wears a DAFO(in fact, besides color and ribbons, it is very similar to the one featured on this page). ONE, as in singular. What does this mean? This means that one foot is much wider and also longer than the other foot. Meaning, shoes are difficult for her. Normally her feet are very slender, like mine. I always had a hard time finding shoes that didn't fall off (hence the non-seasonal wearing of flip flops).

I belong to a bunch of CP message boards and there is ALWAYS talks about what shoes work best with AFO/DAFO's, etc.. A lot of people find luck with cheap shoes at Walmart, or Payless Shoe Source, or with Vans, or Converses. I've tried everything and anything I could find. I took D to countless shoe stores.

Our problem, as mentioned above, is that one foot is pretty normal, although she could use to wear a shoe with a more narrow width, and one foot is HUGE! So, not only do we need TWO entirely different sizes because of the DAFO, but we would need two entirely different WIDTHS.

Luckily for us, our PT had a solution. There aren't many companies out there that make shoes to fit over orthotics, but Hatchbacks does. One of the best things is that we can order a pair of shoes of two completely different sizes for the price of, get this, ONE pair! And because of how they fit over the orthotic, we don't need two different widths.

We've been borrowing this pair from from our PT but we just ordered this pair. Darsie wanted pink and all.

It is nice to have a solution. One thing I've found out from the special needs community (I hate that term...but what else can I use - differently abled? To me, that is just, if not more lame. And Darsie is clearly not disabled), is that because one solution works for some, doesn't mean it won't work for others.

On a side note for those of us who use or children use DAFO/AFO/orthotics, what do you do with them when they are outgrown? My PT collects them and donates them to foreign countries where children couldn't afford them.


Mommy Daisy said...

Wow, I'm glad you were able to find an affordable shoe solution. It's great that there are a few companies out there who can cater to what D (and other people) need. And what a great idea that your PT donates the used shoes.

Anonymous said...

We have a shoe store in the UK that offers a system to enable you to buy 2 different sizes/widths and only pay a quarter of the price of the second pair. This is a good offer, but it's still a struggle to get a pair that fit both feet well!! Our little girl gets annoyed that the pretty little pink mary-janes won't go over her AFO. STRESS!!
Lately I have managed to get school shoes in odd sizes, and ones with flashy lights that she loves!!
I hate the shoe shopping hassle!!
I asked out PT about used AFO's I kept the first tiny one as a keepsake, but I have no idea what to do with the outgrown ones!!
Our PT told us a story of a 15 year old girl decided to chuck her AFO so she could wear some high-heel shoes!! I dread the teenage years!!!
Love keeping up with your blog.
from Abi, Tony, Megan and Emily (UK)

Nowheymama said...

Well, speaking of learning from each other, I certainly learned a lot from your post today. And I'm so glad Darsie found some pink shoes. Fashion is very important. Yay, Hatchbacks!

Kim said...

For her birthday, Ava got some shoes from Old Navy, of all places. They have bendable soles and do not curl up at all int he front, which has pretty much solved her toe-walking problem. Plus, they are softer than sneakers, so her SMO's fit in them perfectly and getting them on isn't a struggle at all. Of course, Ava wears orthotics on both feet, so maybe that is why it works for us.

Someone said to me the other day, "You never realize how much can go wrong with kids until you have them" How true! Really, you never know how much money you are going to have to shell out on footwear/therapeutic supplies/specific clothes/etc until you have them!

Mete said...

We're "lucky" (?) that Ethan has AFO's on both feet, so we just buy one giant wide width pair and it fits them both the same. We've actually got to go shoe shopping now since he just upgraded to a new pair of AFO's.

We have all of his old AFOs sitting in his memory box in my closet. He's up to pair #4 I believe. I haven't heard about any donation options, but I didn't even think to ask. Since they are custom made, I originally didn't think they'd be usable by anyone else. However, when they mis-measured his first body jacket, the orthotist told us they'd donate it to another country (El Salvador I think) and they'd find a way to use it for a child there. It's a shame - the jacket and AFO's were around $1500 each, so you want to see them used until they fall apart.

Of course, I couldn't donate his first little pair; it would be like throwing away his first baby shoes or something. I'm not ready for that!

Anonymous said...

This was so interesting. I always love it when you blog about the kinds of things I would never have realized were even issues. I come away with a better understanding of what things are like for you, which is interesting--and also the whole shoe thing just IS interesting.

Anonymous said...

GREAT shoes! How exciting. It's the small things that can make a huge difference. Glad you found them - and what a deal, eh?! Love reading your blog...

Anonymous said...

Please have your PT or orthitist return your used DAFO's to Cascade DAFO as they will be re-used for children in third world countries that ordinarily could not afford these. Thanks! Denny (Washington State)

Black Sheeped said...

Loving the pink. :)

Anonymous said...

Those shoes are so neat! And cute, too. Not bulky like you'd expect them to be. I'm glad you found them and that they work for your precious girl : )

Anonymous said...

I do feel your pain. My daughter, Becca (she's 3), had a pre-natal stroke and so she has right hemiparesis. She has been wearing a DAFO on her right foot and a Pollywog (insert) on her left since she starting walking at age 2. We found an amazing shoe store in Potomac , MD (we live in Northern Virginia about 30-60 minutes away - depending on our lovely DC traffic...), called Shoe Train. The owner, Ed, trained himself vis a vis relationships with P/Ts, attending DAFO/Cascade seminars, talking with parents of kids who wear orthotic footwear, etc. And his staff is now fully trained in orthotics, too. Before I went there I tried Nordstroms (fantasic customer service but completely clueless about fitting orthotics), Payless, you name it... But since I went to ST, I won't go anywhere else. Even though it's 30 minutes from our house (longer with DC traffic) and about 30-60 min. wait once you are there, it's worth every minute. I did also find a pair (two pairs really, her shoes are 1 size difference - used to be 1.5 when she was younger) at Stride Ride that I bought OFF THE SHELF. By and large, Stride Ride has been the only brand of shoes we've ever worn. Tried lots of others but those work the best.

Our Technical Coordinator at ITC (Infant Toddler Connection) also collects orthotics to send abroad.

Anonymous said...

My 5 year old daughter wears DAFO's. I also did the cheap shoes at Payless, Walmart, etc. You can find a sneaker. But what about a dress shoe? My daughter started kindergarten. It was important to her that when girls wear pretty dresses they should have pretty shoes. That goodness for Hatchbacks.
We own "Ava"

They are wearing quite well. This is the first pair of shoes my daughter can put on herself. They have been tremendous in her growth.

I keep asking the people at Hatchbacks to think like "little girls". We need to see Ava in different colors.

The shoes are not cheap. But I will find a way to buy them, if they keep Paige up & walking.

Anonymous said...

Another note....just got off the phone with Hatchbacks. New company policy....both shoes have to be the same size. You can't buy mixed sized set of shoes. Well, they just lost a customer.
I can't afford to order 4 pairs of shoes (Ava & sneakers).

Anonymous said...

Shoes... ARG! I have found this the hardest part of dressing my daughter! I, too, have to shoe a child with only one DAFO. If you choose the Target Circo brand that actually goes over the brace, the other shoe is entirely too large. It is frustrating that parents of "typical" children fuss about paying for a good pair of shoes (yes, I have two boys also)... when some of us have to opt to buy TWO pairs of shoes! Too bad there isn't a site online where we can purchase each other's used shoes that worked.....

:) Angel

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