Q: My elderly aunt has very painful and difficult feet to fit. She wears a size 11.5 and needs a wider rounded toe to accommodate her hammer toes, but has a narrow heel. Also, she does better with her heel slightly higher than her toes, but not more than 1 inch.
Can you recommend any shoe styles for me to look at for her??
Thank you so much.
A: Dear Kristen-
Aren’t you the perfect grand daughter! Were you trained or do you come by this compassion naturally? A well brought up young lady is such a treasure!
I am in total sympathy with your grandmother, who I am imagining as an otherwise spry, relatively young 70. Hammertoes are ….. well they are the pits. Surgery doesn’t really work well. Those little Dr. Scholls cushions are helpful but annoying because they slip around. The hammertoes get corns and that is painful. So keep that compassion flowing.
Yours truly, the Shoe Lady, is a size 11.5 with a narrow heel and with hammertoes. So I bring more than the usual amount of expertise to this shoe question.
I recommend the big toe box, for sure. When you can’t find a big toe box in shoes, shoes for a dressy occasion for example, get shoes that are either soft leather or fabric (like dyeables) and take them to a shoe repair shop to have the toe box stretched upward to accommodate those hammertoes.
For example, Jupiter style:
Mary Jane straps are a great design feature when you want a wider toe box but have narrow heels. It keeps the shoe on your foot!
For example, Heloise style:
A woven leather will give more flexibility on the top vamp. The vamp comes higher up your foot so it stays on your foot better. The texture makes any “toe bumps” less noticeable.
Whatever you do, do NOT buy styles that have reinforced leather, or toe cap seams across the top of the vamp where those hammer toes will hit. That makes me wince just thinking about it! A seam or a thicker piece of leather will be like steel or a rod against those poor defenseless toes.
Best to your Grams!
The Shoe Lady