Shoe Shopping

Shoe shopping is one of my least favorite activities of all time. It has always been a sore spot for me because I have always loved to shop. Clothes, accessories, home goods, for me or for others hands down the best. Of course, as I have gotten older what I shop for, and my style has changed. Now, I would classify myself as a bargain shopper. As I have changed, my love for fashion and style has not. Although, I think that side of me is hidden currently under sweatpants and an apron most of the time.

In addition to being a stay at home wife and mom, I am a fulltime wheelchair user, so functionality often trumps fashion. When I was ambulatory (walking), both with a walker and without, I always wore sneakers. I had a few other shoes but they were always tie shoes with traction soles (grippy). I remember joking and saying that someday when I am using a wheelchair, I would wear all the cute shoes I had always wanted to wear. Well, the day came that I started using a wheelchair. Guess what? I started buying the shoes I had always longed for. We are talking boots, heels, flip-flops, you name it. Man, I did look cute, if I do say so myself. Alas, my cuteness was not meant to be. Activities such as, going to the bathroom safely and transferring into my bed, won again. At least in my case I have some function in my legs and can weight bare, so I do what is referred to as a “pivot transfer”; where I stand using a grab bar, while keeping the balls of my feet stuck to the ground I rotate my rear end towards where ever I am intending to sit ( chair, toilet, bed). Even though I am not technically walking I need to make sure my feet are properly grounded and whatever shoes I have on, stay on throughout the entire movement. Even with the assistance of one of my trusty PCAs, I need to be as secure as possible to ensure a safe landing.

An example of a pivot transfer.
An example of a pivot transfer.
An example of a pivot transfer.

Evidently, “fashion” shoes are not known for their functionality. Who would have thunk it? Even cute flats are very slippery, and heals are not easy to balance on even briefly. If the floor around the toilet happens to be wet at all, any of these shoes do not stand a chance. Even slippers, which should I suppose should have been more obvious, lack traction in most cases. I have to be careful to buy indoor/ outdoor slippers or non-skid.

So, needless to say, the amount of shoes available to me that I can actually use is limited. I have to first see the sole of the shoe and test for traction. some souls are completely smooth and stand no chance, and others have grooves and bumps purely for show. A lot of this might sound elementary but when what you wear on your feet, makes or breaks whether you can transfer in and out of bed, it is imperative all of a sudden. I am learning to make my own style, with functionality thrown into the mix.

My new shoes!