Thursday, December 19, 2013

The "I can't wear cute shoes" dilemma...

Hello lovelies! This is a post about a little problem I have known as: "I CAN'T WEAR CUTE SHOES!" syndrome. So, as women we (well most of us) love shoes! Especially high heels! I know I do...or did. That was until I could no longer wear them. Without going into too much gory detail, I'll tell you why and some options that I've been able to find over the years to help me deal with this issue. I know that many women check out what other women are wearing on their feet, and it happens to me too...quite a bit. And, I get snickered at, or the old "what happened?"comment. But the worst for me is when it comes time to get dressed up for a night out, or a party or event such as a wedding. What am I going to wear on my feet?

So, to start off, a little background. Back in my early 30s I had to have surgery on my left foot. I won't go into any of the icky details, let's just say it was a long process and took a long time of prep before and alot of therapy after to get "back on my feet" so to speak. After the surgery, I was good as new! I could wear any type of shoe I wanted, including stiletto heels. Oh...was I happy! Then...this happened...

OMG!!! I obviously hurt my already sensitive left foot in an injury at my job soon after I got married, and because of THAT, it caused me to severely injure my right foot because I was trying to "baby" my left! That caused a Lis Franc dislocation of 4 bones in my right foot and I was required to wear a cast. (Lucky I had just recently painted my toenails, huh?) While they wanted to put me in a cast for my left foot as well, it wasn't feasible because I needed to have some sort of mobility. I was living in an apartment with my husband and navigating a wheelchair in the small space wasn't working so well. I was pretty much confined to a recliner for three months. My husband was exceptionally sweet and would fill a cooler with drinks and snacks and lunch for me and put it within arms reach so he could go to work and know I wasn't having to move around too much. (Aww.....) I eventually healed, went through a TON of physical therapy but then realized that my left foot was just not feeling "right", so I headed to a foot specialist and I ended up with this...
Meet "Ritchie" constant companion for at least 6 years. (Also known as my "robo-boot") It is a "ritchie brace" and, it is a device that goes the entire length of my foot, up to the back of my heel, to what you can see in the photo; which is a stabilization method for my ankle and a plastic calf piece that is held in place by velcro all around my calf and shin. Lovely...isn't he? So..."Ritchie" only fits in athletic shoes and only boot cut jeans hide him. FANTASTIC! It was incredibly uncomfortable at first because learning to walk with it was difficult and painful. Now I don't even notice it. (Except when I cross my legs and bang my other ankle with it!) So, this is what I am required to wear on a daily basis. No running, no jumping and NO extended time on my feet. (Upside to having "Ritchie"? I have to use a wheelchair at theme parks and I get to jump the lines. Small comfort...I'd rather have my "normal" foot back thank you!) The doctor told me that "for very short periods of time, you can wear other types of shoes and heels, but no higher than 3 inches!" Uh...great! So, over the years and experimenting I've been able to come up with some options for "a cuter" shoe that I can wear when it's time for a night out or an event. (Keep in mind...this is my experience only and if you have any type of issues with your feet or require special foot devices, please consult your physician.)

The "Tall Boot" option. I found 2 pairs of boots (one flat, and one with a slight heel) that I am able to tolerate for awhile on my feet. I use both of these with skinny jeans, leggings, skirts, etc. when I want a more fashionable look. (I'm not saying that these are my ideal...I would love high heels, etc. but my health comes first!)
Franco Sarto flat leather riding boots. (Ironically...these pinch my feet and become uncomfortable themselves. I need to stretch them with a shoe stretcher...which I've yet to do because I wear them so infrequently.)
Steve Madden leather scrunch round toe boots with 3" heel. These are INCREDIBLY comfortable...most Steve Madden shoes I own have been comfortable from the get go! Because there is a padded footbed in these boots, I am able to tolerate them longer than pretty much any other shoe I wear that isn't "Ritchie".

For those times when I don't want to wear boots, or it's summertime, I go with the "flats" option. I have a couple of pairs of flats that I can wear with almost anything and it will work. However, because they are flat and have no arch...these will bother my feet after a short time. So, I will only wear them for a dinner or something.
No Boundaries suede ballet flats. I always go for a round toe whenever possible to give my feet some added room. Due to the simplicity of these shoes I find that NO attention is drawn to my feet. (These are not my favorite shoes to wear and I'm not too fond of the style's just necessity.)

And for a fancier flats option:
Steve Madden sparkly gold and studded flats. While I actually really like these shoes, they are the only pair of Steve Madden shoes I have that were uncomfortable from the get go. They are not a soft pliable leather, so they require some breaking in, which is not an option for me because I can't really wear shoes long enough to "break them in". So, these I've only used once...for New Year's last year. These are a great option if you have time to break them in because I do really love the style and they're very festive. I don't mind people noticing these!

Now, for those really special occasions...a heel option I found that worked for me quite well for my sister-in-law's wedding in Brazil a few years ago.
Caparros silver satin and sequined open toe kitten heels with ankle strap. I find that these were very comfortable. They were wide enough and open enough at the front to NOT pinch my toes and the ankle strap helps to keep my ankle where it belongs. No slipping and sliding from side to side. I was a bridesmaid and, if you're Brazilian, things work a little bit differently. If I remember correctly she had 15 bridesmaids! And, all of the bridesmaids are not required to dress alike. I was told that I just had to buy a dress and show up! I wore these all night (and when you go to a Brazilian wedding...there is NO time limit...the reception ends when the people leave...hers lasted until almost dawn!). And, maybe it was because of the incredible champagne, I felt no pain at all with these shoes. That was until my husband happened to notice my feet. They had swollen very badly and become very red. My husband got so worried, he took them off and made me sit with my feet in his lap for awhile. (He also carried me if I wanted to go outside, or to the ladies room. Such gallantry! But, he's also a worrier and hates to see me in pain so he'll do just about anything to keep me comfortable.) I did bring my athletic shoes and "Ritchie" with me to the reception thankfully, so there was my sneaker peeking out from under my fancy dress after the swelling had gone down a bit! It made my sister-in-law laugh and it made me feel better because I felt incredibly conspicuous.

These are just my experiences and my struggles with the "I can't wear cute shoes" dilemma. Honestly...if it's not a really fancy affair, or I know I'm going to be on my feet or moving alot...I just wear jeans and "Ritchie". It's not worth messing up my feet to show off my shoes. Let those who scoff or laugh at my footwear or choice of clothing be darned! If they had to endure it...they would understand better my struggles.

So...don't worry if you can't wear cute shoes anymore because of foot troubles! You can find a solution! If you see a physician, speak with him about what you can and cannot wear...and follow it! You're feet are with you for the rest of your life! Keep them healthy! Or, if it's just you can't wear some of the shoes you would like to because of discomfort...just keep'll find an option that works for you!

That's it for today's post my lovelies! I thought that this time of year would be a great time to talk about the cute shoe dilemma since everyone is getting dressed to the nines, looking gorgeous, breaking out their sky high heels and making me jealous... :)  I hope this gave you a few ideas and now you know why I don't post OOTD!  And...don't despair! Being able to wear cute shoes really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of life. Have fun, enjoy yourself!

Random tips:
  • If you don't want to draw attention to your feet, keep all of your outfit's interest up top! Seems simple, but an interesting pattern, color or some sparkle will draw the eye upward.
  • Play up your makeup a bit! Add some false lashes, or sparkle to your lids. Wear some screaming red lipstick! This will also keep everyone's interest up above your feet!
  • Do something completely different with your hair! An updo, an unexpected hair accessory, or even just a different style for the night will keep everyone's attention away from your feet. 
Keep up with me on my social media! Instagram @reneebruch or Twitter @ReneeBruchPhoto. You can visit my official website at and my Facebook page at

Bye lovelies!

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