Please note: All tips in this section have been suggested by members of our community.

Alternative to shoelaces

I saw this product called Zubits, a magnetic alternative to shoelaces and thought it might be useful for those who don't have great dexterity, or for families with disabled kids. You can find on Amazon and probably elsewhere! 

Free shoes

Check with your physio or orthopaedic surgeon, specialist shoes can be free.

Buying shoes for an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)

If you are struggling to find shoes for your child's AFO, take a look at this conversation on the community.

Low-cost footwear

Schuh has an online ebay store where they sell ex-display footwear. New shoes start at 99p. Great if you go through shoes regularly, or just don't have the spare cash to pay high street prices! :)

Piedro boots

I wear piedro boots with my splints. They come in various width fittings so you can get a really precise fit. I now buy mine privately as I don't get them supplied by orthotics because I wear two splints, but they are the best smart shoes I've found to fit splints in when I can't wear trainers (in the office, going out or when I'm wearing a suit etc.) They are also very hard wearing. You might be able to get them supplied by orthotics.

Skate shoes are great for splints

Skate shoes (like dc or etnies) are brilliant for going over splints as they go nice and wide. I've found that I don't always need to go a size larger with them, which was handy when I used an insole in the shoe without the splint to make sure the shoe fitted better, and it gave my foot a bit more support too - which is never a bad thing

Days of the week socks

I bought my brother, who has Down's syndrome, socks with days of the week on them, which encourages him to change his socks now he's left home! 

Support matters

Do think about what level of physical support is needed; for instance crocs will be no good for someone who needs supportive lace up boots.

Accessorise!

Zoe can’t walk but we always make sure to buy her shoes which she looks good in. Shoes are an important accessory and we want her to feel good about herself.

Shopping without feet

Kadeem can’t cope with shoe shopping so we draw around both feet on a piece of cardboard cut out each foot and take the templates of his feet to the shops. This way I can bring the shoes home having previously arranged with the shops that we can return them to exchange a size if I get it wrong.

Specialist shoes - small gifts go a long way

Hospital appliance departments tend to be very busy and have long waiting lists, which make it hard if your child needs specialist footwear and they're having a growing spurt! Do your best to get on good terms with the staff there (the occasional packet of biscuits never hurts) and regularly check styles of 'ordinary' footwear with them and your physio.

Ankle boots stay on better

I use lace-up boots, such as Kickers, as John tends to sort of scrape off his shoes.

Work shoes

Buying steel toe capped work safety shoes. These shoes last 10 times longer than the Clarks, Startrite best of range. I was having to replace shoes monthly now I'm only buying 2 pairs a year and the weight has strengthened my son’s legs and slows his walking so he doesn't trip so much. Admittedly I have to jump quick if he lashes out!

Sliding clips

You can buy a pack of 2 sliding clips in sports shops which eliminates the need to tie laces and looks discreet. Ideal for teens and adults fed up with Velcro.

Don't worry about laces

For people who can't tie shoelaces try using Velcro, bungee or lock laces.

Which shoe and which foot?

I wrote half of his first name on one shoe and surname on the other shoe to help Billy put his shoes on the correct feet.

Babybotte shoes get thumbs up

When Zoe was learning to walk, we tried 'Babybotte' shoes. They have really sturdy ankle support and much better than Clarks in my opinion. We tried Kickers but the soles are too firm. You will find many online suppliers.

Clarks make life easy

It can be overwhelming to come to a busy shop with lots of shoes to choose from and lots of people around. Some of the Clarks shops will open early for customers with special needs or stay open a bit later. Just call the local Clarks shop itself to find if they can help.

Etnies trainers

If you are struggling finding trendy trainers for youngsters who wear splints try Etnies trainers.

Salomon trainers

I have an 18-year-old son with autism, learning difficulties, epilepsy and size 12 feet! I buy Salomon trainers, expensive but incredibly long-lasting with the Quicklace lacing system. No shoe-tying. Heaven! Also they replace the lacing system if they get broken.

Easy laces

With trainers, if laces are a problem, thread elastic through and tie in a double bow. Then people can just slip their feet in without having to untie or tie anything up.

Keeping shoes on

One of my clients is expert at kicking his shoes off. I suggested his parents buy him some boxing shoes which has solved the problem. 

Seamless socks

Seams in socks and labels on clothes can cause endless problems for sensory-sensitive people. I've found the following site but have no experience of it so I'm just putting the information out as a starter. If anyone knows of more places to shop to get similar products then please post up. http://sensorysmart.co.uk/

Sock phobia

My son has a sock phobia. It took years to come up with a compromise. He agrees to wear women's nylon socks as they are so lightweight he hardly feels them.

Pull your socks up!

Put sweat bands on top of socks to help people who are constantly pulling their socks up.

Curly laces

Curly laces can give some independence and allow them to wear trendy lace up trainers. You can buy funky colours on eBay - my daughter loves that she doesn't have to have Velcro fasteners.

Bigger shoes

I always buy shoes half size too big so there is not so much effort getting them on at first.

Putting on socks

This is my tip for helping someone learn how to put socks on for themselves. I started by getting my young friend to take paperbags with handles on and off his feet. These were quite rigid and it was easy to do. Then we practised with plastic bags which were floppier and a bit harder. Then we practised putting big socks on my feet. Eventually, he was able to put his own socks on!

Insert these

I find good-quality inserts for shoes/boots from outdoor leisure shops are often as good as or more robust than those that physio are able to supply.

Greeper Laces

My tip is Greeper Laces. They don't come undone and they're easy to use. 

Stickers for shoes

I cut a big "smiley face" sticker in half and stick it inside shoes/pumps/wellies so my son can match it up and get on the correct feet.

Snow boots

If you are looking for suitable winter footwear for someone who wears splints, many makes of snow boots will unzip quite low or velcro open, thus easier to put on.

Heat beads

We got some heat bead slip-on feet warmers for our son John. You just pop in the microwave for 30 seconds and they are absolutely fantastic!

Telling toes from heels

If you are trying to teach someone how to put on their own socks, buy plain black socks with the coloured tip and heel. It helps them know which part of the sock goes to the bottom of the foot.

Share your tips and feedback

We'd love to hear your tips, practical suggestions and feedback.
This link will open in a new window.

Using these tips

These tips have been contributed by members of our online community. We hope they will give you some ideas to try, but if you need further help why not post a question to the community or talk to one of our community advisors. If you have any concerns about your health or the wellbeing of someone you are caring for, please consult a doctor or qualified professional.