Finding comfortable shoes for Namine has been challenging for a long time. She has gone through many shoes which have varied in their comfort just as much as their style. After resigning herself to wearing slippers that look like shoes — with limited success — we finally found a pair of shoes that are not painful to wear.
Namine was born with a condition called sacral agenesis, also known as caudal regression syndrome. This primarily affects her spine and pelvis, but it also affected her legs and feet, resulting in clubfoot. At an early age, she had corrective surgery twice. The first was, if I do not mince my words, botched and a complete failure. The second was an attempt to correct the first, with limited success due to the incredible damage already done.
The result of all this is, unfortunately, that Namine’s feet do not fit into shoes mass-produced for children. Her feet are not shaped to do so, nor are her ankles able to flex enough to attempt it. Consequently, it is exceedingly difficult to find shoes that she can wear without causing her pain.
In the past, we have been fortunate enough to find shoes with soles flexible enough to conform to her feet’s shape. Sometimes those have been slip-ons; sometimes they’ve been Crocs. As Namine has gotten older and her feet have grown, it’s been more and more difficult to find flexible shoes. It seems that the larger the shoe, the firmer the sole. I don’t know if there’s a correlation there somewhere, or if it’s just… the way things are.
Not being able to find shoes that Namine could wear comfortably, we turned to slippers. There are plenty of slippers that look like boots, but they still look like slippers too — they’re usually fuzzy and have wild colors. Neither of these things is a deterrent, but we still kept our eyes peeled for footwear meant for outdoor use. (She does, however, frequently receive compliments on her eccentric footwear, which pleases her.)
In more recent days, Namine had expressed interest again in wearing shoes. We were fortunate enough to find — at Walmart, of all places — shoes with a zipper up the side. With these, she can slip them on without fear of hurting (or contorting) her feet, and know that her shoes won’t slip off. As high-tops, they also provide more stability when she stands to climb into the van.