October 21, 2014

The Hunt for the Allergy Free Support Shoe

Last night I completed my drawing of a woman glancing down rather forlornly at shoes. This was influenced by my search for the hypoallergenic shoe with hypoallergenic insoles that also provides good support for problem feet. For various reasons, this beast may not exactly exist. What is left is a step down into using what may be the least provoking of materials. My search for latex, neoprene free insoles did not pan out. The insoles would have to be made almost completely of GORE tex which would not offer stability and support. So the next best solution may be neoprene with a synthetic barrier cover.

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, there are still small companies that make hand stitched shoes with leather soles. But cost aside, there are a few draw backs with these. Many of the higher end brands do not make wide width shoes. I am speculating that this is because the companies are making a well crafted product that looks good. A shoe made in a width that would fit my feet would not be pretty. Also, many of the hand stitched shoes that are sturdy and supportive of feet come in styles for men only. The women’s lines tend to be mocassin. But one solution here is to find a small men’s shoe that has an equivalent in a woman’s size. There are size charts on line that help with this conversion. But since sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, I found that the best solution is to take measurements of your foot (see www.shoes.about.com) and provide these to the shoe makers to be sure. Depending on the brand, the sizes to fit my measurements vary all the way from 6 to 8 ½"! Rancourt shoes has men’s hand stitched in a size that could fit women so I’m told. I haven’t nailed that down to specifics yet, but the men’s boots could easily double for women’s.

But even with a shoe that is hand stitched the problem of the insole will emerge again. So what to do? Barrier socks, and keeping feet and shoes as dry as possible seems to be the answer - a decidedly low tech solution.

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