Namine got new shoes, and they’re nothing like anything she’s ever worn before.

We went out shopping for shoes for Namine, since she desperately needed new ones. Because she crawls whenever she’s not in her wheelchair, her current shoes had gotten pretty torn up.

The past several times Namine has gotten new shoes, she’s always picked the same kind: flexible Mary Janes.

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Not exactly the shoe Namine had, but you get the idea.

This kind of shoe has always been the easiest on her feet. She was born with club feet, and even though she’s had corrective surgery twice, the soles of her feet still have some curvature. As a result, the most comfortable kind of shoe has always been slip-ons, preferably ones with a thinner, more flexible sole, and very little material on the top that would constrict her foot.

This time, though, Namine opted for a different kind of shoe. She picked a pair of hi-tops that not only has laces, but also a zipper on the side. These shoes, as it turns out, are perfect for her.

Normally, shoes with fabric covering the top of the shoe are pretty difficult for Namine to get her feet in. She’d have to pretty much completely unlace the shoe just to get her foot in, then lace it all the way back up. These shoes, however, have a zipper on the side — that means she can unzip the shoe, get her foot in, and zip it back up.

The hi-tops, by virtue of their design, also offer ankle stability that Namine’s Mary Janes have not. They’re no substitute for Namine’s AFOs, of course, nor are they intended to be (by either their manufacturer or us). But until we can get Namine fitted for new braces, any support is better than none at all.

There is also the matter of everyday use. Namine only wears her braces in therapy, but she’s always climbing: in and out of her wheelchair, the car, the bathtub at night, and more. Even with her recent broken leg, while she’s restricted from walking, she still stands and climbs as much as she can.

As a bonus, Namine no longer has to remove her left shoe before climbing into the car. The downside of the easy slip-on nature of her Mary Janes was that, while standing or climbing, the shoes would sometimes slip off. That’s no longer a problem with her new shoes.