My Goodbye to Benj and the Angel Taking Him  Benj and his friend Dara

Living with FA - Clothing

Shoes
Shoe Laces
Adaptive Jeans




Shoes Return to Top
Thoughts from Paul Konanz:
  • The simplest answer is high topped, wide, heavy, with good tread.
  • Ataxians have a balance problem while walking, so the first rule is to give them a more stable and extensive footprint; hence wider. The weight gives them more positional and response feedback, and the tread helps with traction/slipping. And high tops give better ankle support. (But of course this may not lead to the most fashionable shoe.)
  • Custom, and/or good fit shoes. The less adjustment the foot has to make to the shoe the better for balance. Slipping around inside the shoe or a high instep that doesn't match with the instep of the shoe is not good. The foot will tire quickly, cramp up, and the foot-ankle muscles will tire easily affecting the walking ability. Ever taken a looong hike in the wrong shoes? Custom shoes are an expensive option. Brianne has spent a lot of time in the Payless shoe store buying (and rejecting) many shoes as an alternative strategy.
  • About here we get to AFO's ("ankle foot orthosis"). After balance problems the ankles giving out comes in a close second. Keeping the ankles from rolling is a big deal in the later walking phase of ataxia. Custom AFO's are common to help walking. Off-the-shelf AFO's (usually intended for sports applications) may help.
Compilation of other thoughts:
  • High tops for ankle support.
  • Lands' End mocs. They are not high tops, but they are sturdy, have great tread, are extremely water resistant (the winter variety) and they have lots of room in the toes, but fit well around her instep.
  • A good quality tennis shoe.
  • New Balance 574 (cross trainers, I think) for tennis shoes. Get them in a wide width and wear custom orthotics with them.
  • High top tennis that are leather so they can stretch if feet swell; some low timberland boots that work very well.
  • Custom New Balance anti-pronation sneakers with intermedial support. They are very sturdy and the tread is excellent. New Balance anti-pronation sneakers with intermedial support. They are the best things I have ever had on my feet. They are very sturdy and the tread is excellent.
  • Birkenstock shoes.
For non-walkers:
  • Comfort rules!
  • Uggs or Crocs are popular. Or any of the above.
Shoe Laces Return to Top

I started buying thin elastic in black, white and brown to replace shoelaces for my son now 17 (FA).  He has been wearing them for many years.  He doesn't even have to untie them, but of course they cannot be tied real tight and still get them on.  Once the shoe is laced just knot the ends.  They look like most shoelaces too. They work for him, much easier.  Sometimes the laces have to be cut and retied once they stretch out a little.  Hope this helps, very affordable.       --FAPG Mom

A commercial product called Speed Laces does not require tying of shoelaces.  They are about $11.00 including shipping to US addresses.

Adaptive Jeans Return to Top

April on Facebook shows how to create adaptive jeans in 7 steps...

I hope this might be helpful. If you can do basic mending, you can do this! My son loves his "Tommy Hilfiger" adaptive jeans, but they are pricy and styles are limited. Here's how to make regular jeans adaptive! -- April Hearn Feagley

  1. Buy regular jeans - I got these secondhand. (pic)
  2. Clip out the button, leave enough denim around the edge to stitch in place. (pic)
  3. Put button through button hole and sew in place. Try to hide stitches so they don't show from the front. (pic)
  4. Use a scrap of denim or other fabric to patch hole where button was. No one will see this, so it doesn't have to match. (pic)
  5. Carefully cut the zipper out, only cutting the zipper, not the denim. (pic)
  6. Sew Velcro to button flap, hide stitches in front. Sew strong magnetic buttons (bought mine on Amazon) where zipper was. (pic)
  7. Voila. Adaptive jeans! (pic)


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