• Learn: Shoes & Clothing •
• Some toe amputees find it difficult to find comfortable shoes, or they'll discover that after wearing shoes for a while they can become unexpectedly painful. If this becomes a problem for you, try shopping at stores with flexible return policies. One great option is the department store, Nordstrom. They began as a shoe store and take pride in being able to fit almost everyone. If the shoes don't end up fitting as well as you had hoped you're free to return them weeks afterward, even if you've worn them. If an employee happens to give you a hard time about this little-known policy, immediately ask to speak to a supervisor or a customer service representative and they'll sort it out for you.
• Another great option for footwear are Australian sheepskin shoes, also known as Ug boots. Thankfully they have come into fashion recently, so not only will you be comfortable, you'll also be fashionable. Be careful, however, which brand you purchase; not all sheepskin shoes are alike. For the best quality, we recommend Koolaburras - they're very similar to the popular Ugg brand shoes, but unlike Uggs, Koolaburras are actually made in Australia. The difference lies in how long the shoe will last, how the shoe is constructed, and what kind of leather is used. The best sheepskin shoes will be made from natural materials which will better allow your feet to breathe. The natural sheepskin, with its original wool intact, acts like a form of ultra fuzzy sock; it pulls the perspiration away from your foot and keeps you cool. Most ug boots made outside of Australia - especially those made in China - have been made to look like ugs, but the wool is often just reattached to the suede, thus preventing the shoe from breathing properly. A good authentic Australian ug boot will keep you cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and last through several seasons. But the best news for us is that it's a comfortable, safe shoe for your no-toes. The wool is nonabrasive, the soles are soft, and it's so comfortable it feels like walking on teddy bears.
We highly recommend shopping for Koolaburras at SimplyAustralian (www.simplyoz.com) - their prices are excellent and their customer service is fantastic.
• It's always important for everyone to remain balanced while walking, regardless of how many toes they have. But as toe amputees it's especially important that we not further impede our ability to walk by over-burdening one side of our body. Meaning, we really shouldn't be walking around with a large purse or backpack slung over one shoulder. Your body is already trying to compensate for a missing toe, and in doing so we have to be mindful to walk evenly to avoid throwing our hips and back out of line. Adding any extra weight to just one side of the body will further exacerbate this difficulty.
Therefore, we have a few recommendations. If you're carrying a backpack, always remember to keep both straps on your shoulders. If you're carrying a purse, don't overload it. Or, better yet, learn to appreciate the beauty of the mini-backpack purse. These handy little inventions are the best possible purses any woman could use. It evens out the load while still looking stylish. Obviously it won't work for evenings, but for your average every day purse, nothing beats it.
• Ladies, it's a pretty common feeling among us that pantyhose are evil and whoever invented them should be made to suffer an eternity of nylon-inflicted constriction. It's something most of us, despite our hatred for them, continue to live with because society dictates that women wear hose of some sort. I would caution you, however, to be extra careful when choosing this particular undergarment. If you're a new toe amputee, be careful and wait several months after the amputation before attempting to put on pantyhose. And when you do eventually brave them once more, I would recommend starting out with toeless pantyhose.
Why, you ask? If you have lost your big toe, the toe of the pantyhose may cause your other little toes to face all of that restrictive force on their own. The pantyhose may cause your little toes to curl under the strain, and this can become highly uncomfortable, even ages after you've recovered from the amputation.
It is for this reason that we would urge you to only use toeless pantyhose. If you must, however, go all the way to the toes, be sure to stretch out the nylon around the toes to avoid curling. Or if you can find a pair that isn't quite as restrictive, this can save you from a lot of hassle.