What's your ideal shoe design?

I have had primary lymphadema in my lower extremities for at least the last 25 years. As you all know, finding shoes that are comfortable and fit is highly difficult. Shoes that fit today, will not necessarily fit tomorrow. Jagged edges in the design (such as sandals) that rub and cut into the skin.

I currently have found myself working for a shoe manufacturer that specializes in shoes for diabetics, etc. I've opened a dialog with the designers on the lack of shoes made for us. So my question to you is...what do you think would make shoes more comfortable and adaptable for someone with this awful condition. This is your chance to have a say!

25 Replies

  • Can you also put this question to the LSN direct? They have 3000+/- members - many do not access this site - I'm sure there are people 'out there' who will jump at the chance to contribute ideas.

  • LSN Direct? I'm new here. Can you direct me how to do that?

  • OH...I think I found it. :)

  • This is what I would like -

    (1) a lovely soft lace up boot in different coloured leathers

    canvases. and lace, to look like Converse but to fit my feet and ankles

    (2) A wedge heel open toed lace up boot in white lace and canvas for summer

    (3) for my mother a high ankle lace up. (1) that's cut wide (2) - opens very low - with a very high instep allowed for and very wide fitting in soft leathers and canvas.

    (4) Shoes like this will be supportive. They will allow us to wear normal clothes

    like a dress or a skirt without a big ankle or elastic hosiery bulging out.

    What do people think?

    X ofcourse

  • Hello 'of course'.

    Brilliant ideas - just what I want from footwear. I have lymphoedema in both legs, and manage better in the cooler weather when I always wear boots of every kind. In fact I think boots are the only answer for me, especially lace ups that provide support and adjustability. But there's nothing out there that is suitable for summer and is fashionable too.

    I have always been interested in fashion design, and at one time wrote a 'Woman's Page' for various local/regional newspapers (now long disappeared ... thanks to on-line newspapers).

    I would like to see all your suggestions implemented by the footwear industry - and I have even tried contacting several manufacturers with similar ideas. They all said it was a limited market and not financially viable!

    But I hope that someone out there can see that there is a potentially viable business idea for women like us who long for 'sassy' footwear.

    Best wishes and good luck!

  • Hi Legs 11

    Its sad isn't it - just one pair of really lovely soft well built and supportive shoes that fit our big leg (s) - we could wear culottes or jeans and feel good just a bit better.

    Perhaps a shoe maker or designer will read this - or someone in a country where hand skills survive who will make them for us at not too ruinous a cost.

    NHS will make us boots - they do have a Doc Martins type which is actually quite on trend. My mother has some but when they made them the ankles were heavily re enforced instead of soft.

    They will take the re enforcement out as they are very very good boots and can last a life time.

    So maybe if people didn't know you can get NHS boots. They aren't dainty but I actually like them - tho' my big leg can at present get into Converse as the fabric ones are quite expansive


    Of course

  • I don't know how you manage to find boots to fit. I've never been able to fit any.

  • I have had primary LE in both feet and legs, both ankle ankles are extremely swollen daily

    I have a very wide EEEE size 7 feet I can not wear any footwear that comes above the arch of my foot as it cuts into my skin and I have had cellulitus several times so at the moment and for several years I have had to wear Birenstock rubber flip flops this is because I can not bear any pressure on my feet so even when its raining or snowing you will see I have flip flops on.

    Modern shoes are much too tight across the toes it would be nice to have a walking shoe that just covered the toe area and a memory foam sole to ease the pressure when walking.

    My feet are so wide I can not get rubber crocs sandals on my feet.

    I can not wear any shoe that cuts into my ankles as it cuts into the skin and bleeds so it would have to be a very wide fitting ankle boot or court shoe with memory foam sole (like cushion walk shoes from Damart or Ideal World.tv).

  • I've had my lymphedema for almost 30 years now. When it worsened and got bigger, I had to find shoes that were elastic. I prefer wearing open-toe sandals made of elastic material. It is difficult to find such shoes. So when I got hold of the Aerosoles (Badlands model), I bought several pairs. It is difficult, especially if I'm traveling to a cold country where everyone's wearing boots or close shoes. Unfortunately, I think Aerosoles have phased out that shoe model. So I'm really looking for almost the same kind. For me, a shoe/sandal that is made of elastic material (which can expand and follow my left foot's expansion especially at the end of the day) and with memory foam would be most comfortable. It would be nice to have different colors. I'm wearing long baggy slacks when I'm at work so how it looks does not really bother me.

  • Adesso is a range of stretch, woven shoes and sandals in amazing colours. They are not overly expensive. They sell them on QVC sometimes. And there are other manufacturers in Europe who provide similar, woven 'elastic' footwear.

    But Adesso don't have memory foam in their shoes/sandals.

    Good luck! I know how you feel ...

    Try Googling, perhaps?

  • Hi LegsEleven. Thanks for the suggestions. I did google and found some, but I get stuck on deciding buying because online shopping is not my thing, especially if those shoes are not found or distributed here in Manila, Phils. :)

  • Sorry, beelymph! I had no idea you were in Manila. I don't blame you for being apprehensive about buying on-line, because it is often so difficult to assess if a footwear is right for us, and returning a purchase is a complicated and often expensive business.

    It must be very hard for you to cope with this condition when your climate can be so challenging.

    I live in the north of England, which is usually a few degrees cooler than the south of England - but I absolutely dread hot, sunny or humid days, because these legs burn and sting so much. I develop fat little red toes that look like overstuffed sausages - not a good look!

    Apologies again, and don't ever give up on finding the right footwear.

    Good luck and best wishes,


  • In summer I find gladiator sandals to be really useful as the lacing adjusts every day. My current ones are from Fatface as they had no bar across the toes. The ankle straps don't usually fit my swollen ankle very well, but the lacing helps me round that.

    I tend to struggle in winter and go for low cut Mary Janes, but can't say I like them! I had a pair of low courts that laced up from Clarks (Coral Melody) that worked well too.

  • I would like soft leather/suede shoes and boots which would accommodate my size 4.5 feet, currently I don't fit into my EEE shoes as they are so swollen. In reality I think the only way everyone's feet could be accommodated would be to have footwear made for each individual.

  • Soft leather without sharp edges, with adjustment, e.g. laces to allow for swelling on bad days and suitable for both feet (many of us only have one affected leg/foot) My comfiest shoes are a Clarks design with lovely supportive, shaped insoles which can be removed and used in other shoes too. And as stylish as possible within these restrictions please!

  • I'd like to see soft leather and suede in funky colours and designs. And yes! Boots in the widest of sizes to accommodate our swollen limbs. Wide toes and soft insoles.

  • I would like open toe sandals that have a pretty stretch band over the toes that covers the open toed compression garments. The sole needs to be indented so the foot doesn't slide around and an adjustable strap around the heel ( most straps aren't long enough to go around my swollen foot and ankle) a wedged heel please.

    In the winter I wear wide fitting boots from New Look that have elastic stretch in the side panels a size bigger than my actual size to accommodate my big foot. I end up having to wear 2 pairs of thick socks on my normal foot to make that one fit better and just a thin stocking on my big foot.

    Please can the company allow us to purchase different sizes as many of us need different for each foot. A lot of us want fashionable footwear that is comfortable.

    Thank you for helping.

  • Firstly, thank you for offering this opportunity for us all to have our ideas put forward. For me, my feet are size 3 (normally) so I struggle to find shoes anyway.

    In the summer I would like gladiator type sandals or ones which come with an ankle strap as I find when my feet swell if I have slip on shoes on, my feet slip out of them and they really rub, however having a strap in place prevents this. I would also like to see some nice wedge heals and shoes with rubber non-slip soles as when legs are "playing up" you can feel unsteady when walking.

    In the winter lace up or zip boots with an elastic panel in the side to allow for stretch (especially if knee high boots) . I would like to see a variety of pretty styles which work to camouflage the support garments but also remain feminine.

    thank you for sharing this with us all

  • I noticed that someone, somewhere on LSN, mentioned a site from a company called Cosytoes? They make shoes to cater for people with our sorts of problems - Lymphoedema, diabetes, etc. They seem to have all the angles covered re stretchy shoes, EEEE fitting, etc, so I've sent for one pair. I'll report on them when they arrive - watch this space.....

  • Thank you ALL SO much for your input. I will gather it all up and forward it to our design folks. FYI...I do want to get something more comfortable for my feet. But for those that want something close...Propet shoes has up to 4E for women and 5E for men. I know they're hard to find. Thanks again!

  • Hi. I thought you might like to know that your doctor might be able to refer you you to your local hospital for shoes made to measure in a lovely range of colours, and up to date styles.

    In Norwich I have 2 pairs, and am to contact the Orthotics department for an update in 18 months. One of these pairs is in purple suede to match some trousers I made, the other in ordinary greenish-brown leather, and the style is smart with 2 straps across fastened with velcro. I have had lace-ups in previous years, but found that the laces keep coming undone, no matter how many knots are tied in them, which is disconcerting if it happens when you are hurrying along with your shopping!

  • I'm in the US..I haven't even been able to get compression stockings covered yet on my insurance. Doctors here drop the ball on regular occasion.

  • I actually made a big mistake when I did my above post - the site/company is COSYFEET, not Cosytoes!

    My shoes arrived on Monday. They were gorgeous - denim canvas, 'Mary Jane' style - just what I wanted. Unfortunately, they weren't well chosen, as I have LD right to my toes. I hadn't picked a 'stretchy' fabric, and there was no way to get my foot (the worst one) in one of them! The other, although badly swollen, fitted like a glove! I had to return them (free return label), and have to re-think my choice of style and material, but I will definitely order from them again! A full-front opening, leather and/or stretchy fabric, with Velcro straps I think, but there are loads of different styles. They also do matching extender-straps for those of us who's feet change size throughout the day. 😊

  • Hello Hopalong,

    Why don't you ask your GP to refer you to the Orthotics department of your local hospital? If you haven't yet seen my message of the 18th July (8 days ago, according to this system), do read it, and see if it would help you. Hoping you get comfortably sorted!


  • Sorry Jude4! No, I hadn't seen your message?? I'm not sure if they do shoes like that here in Wales? I'll have to ask about them? Firstly, I'll have to contact a SWAT Team to get to see my Doctor...? 😉

    Many thanks for the info. x

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