These Boots Are Made For Walking

So my girl and I have spent the past week wallowing in yuck.  She had strep and I had the black plague of death.  We managed to muster our strength yesterday and make to trip to pick up her new AFOs.  My sweet little bean pole was born with severe club feet and she needs to wear special braces to stabilize her ankles and prevent her feet from returning to their curled position.

Now in theory these braces are great, but sadly, they create additional problems.  Most kiddos that have to wear AFOs  have compromised ability to walk either in strength, stability, or both.  The AFOs are supposed to provide for these kids the support and stability to walk on their own, or at least walk better on their own.  And the AFOs, by themselves, do that.  But the shoes, you still need shoes.  And nobody makes reasonable, appropriate, practical shoes to wear over AFOs.  In order to find shoes to fit over my daughter’s AFOs I have to buy shoes 3-4 sizes larger than her actual size.   Will someone PLEASE explain to me how wearing giant clown shoes is going to help my daughter learn to walk when she already struggles with tripping over her feet and maintaining her balance?!

And don’t tell me about the hatchback brand shoes that are supposed to be made for AFOs.  They are exactly the same as regular shoes, but easier to put on. The size is still a huge issue.

So I came up with my own solution.  AFOs are made from hard, formed plastic.  In my daughter’s case her entire foot is encased and protected except for the toes in front.  She doesn’t need a “shoe” for protection.  She does need grip in the form of a sole and she needs some toe protection.  The hard plastic is very slippery so she can’t just walk on the hard plastic.



Not glamorous looking by any means, but completely necessary.  My first attempt at “leather slip covers” turned out pretty well I think.  I will continue playing with the pattern and perfecting the fit.  I would also like to make a trip to see our local cobbler about putting and actual rubber sole on these so she can wear them outside!!!



10 thoughts on “These Boots Are Made For Walking

  1. This reminds me of the Italian saying “Chi fa più di una mamma fa un inganno”. It translates roughly as “Anyone who tells you they’re doing more than a Mom is telling you a lie”.
    It’s an amazing thing you’ve done and I hope you find a cobbler who can help making these into out-of-the-house shoes.

  2. These look terrific, but during the winter months, they tend to be a bit too cold. My daughter wears AFO’s also, and will wear them all of her life… I do find the hatchback shoe to be the only one I can deal with in terms of the size. She is able to stand firm in them without any issues. AFO’s are a fact of life here in our house also 🙂

  3. I think this is kinda ironic : Yesterday, I spent my day getting new shoes. Yeah!!! NOT!!! My son wears AFO : ALL day , store to store, trying to find that perfect pair of shoes. Not 4 sizes to big beacuse they are so narrow. But while we are doing this my 14 year old professional clown is looking for those perfect to big brightly colored clown shoes. And today while looking for information on sewing machines and wondering if the pfaff like yours will do the job of sewing his clown suit, I find your site to help me decide. Thanks so much for sharing. Looks like from your beautiful creations I don’t need that more expensive machine. And I find some one who understands my frustration! I am so grateful for it though, my frustration, because my son was almost 6 before he received his first pair of afo and the day he walked with out having hold my hand for balance my heart leaped in celebration.

  4. My daughter (2.5) wears an afo. Stride rite makes wide and extra wide shoes with removable soles that generally fit over the brace without going up too much in size.

    • Oh I know. Their prices are crazy for a child who’s feet are growing like weeds, though. And my daughter doesn’t need the width, she has very narrow feet even in her braces. The best we have been able to do with any conventional shoe is 3 sizes bigger than her actual shoe size. That is just doesn’t work for her.

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