Walking in Multiple Sclerosis Shoes

Due to my dichotomous personality, I always find myself talking in double entendres (but usually in a clean manner.) So here I am again and I’ll tip you off that I’m speaking of the literal shoes an MSer finds himself or herself wearing.

When I was a teenager, I wore light track sneakers (for sprints), cleats (for field hockey), Doc Maartens (for angst), and really hideous primary-colored flats (for style.) I had a great time in those carefree years and I’m looking forward to my 20th high school reunion this coming June.

I remember when I was in my early 20′s I paraded around in the new, hip platform shoes of the day. I thought they were the latest trend, although men and women of the 70′s had already tried them. I had a pair of really treacherous sandals that I almost broke my ankle in one day on campus. I also had two pairs of what looked like Chuck Taylor All-Stars with really thick soles. (*** my editorial obsession caused me to just fix this because I originally called them “Chuck Norris” sneakers! LOL..) They were pretty cool and very comfortable for traipsing around the Big Apple. In those days I walked like a maniac and was really fit, and I’d dance like there was no tomorrow in clubs in NYC, Trenton, and Phillie. If you asked one of my college buddies, you’d learn that I would be one of the crazy gals who would dance up by the band or to the dj’s pic before everyone else was “fortified” enough to get up and bust a move. Yeah, I was pretty uninhibited with myself.

I then became a health professional and found the joys of really good footwear: Asics, Nike, New Balance, Avia. They worked wonders for my slight decline in balance. I only crashed into one wall in my career, while rounding a corner into a breakroom. At that point neither I nor my coworkers knew I had MS. I also discovered the joys of sturdier, lower-heeled shoes with solid treads. Better for lifting the feet to avoid tripping over obstacles.

In my thirties I find myself deferring to my comfy sneakers, my Born slip-ons and closed-back clogs, and my flat-bottomed flip-flops. The flip-flops I have to admit are the most treacherous shoes I own, but I really hate to wear any footwear from May to September. So I’m more dilligent about picking up my feet. I don’t own any Uggs because pretty much everyone has them now and although they are quite exquisite, I must always be different and seek the gems that hardly anyone else has discovered. So now I’m lusting for a pair of Eastland Bree boots: I’ve had a hankering for them for about two years now, and if anyone from the family is reading this, they’d make a lovely Xmas gift. Size 7.5. Free shipping if you throw in some socks.


  • I was diagnosed with MS in March this year. For maybe a year prior to that buying shoes has been a something I find stressful and a chore. I am finding it hard to find flat shoes that I really like. I was heartened to read Jen’s comments made in Dec 2008 as it made me realise I wasn’t alone in my dilema. I have been a ‘shoe magpie’ since my teens and am currently coming to terms with the fact that there is little point keeping heels I can bearly stand up in, let alone walk in! I sadly gave up on my flip flops this year as I don’t seen to be able to keep shoes on unless they have a back in them. Clarks Air shoes are my shoes of choice at present, but my shoes now all seem to look the same!

  • Jen

    Hi Tracy—

    Thank you for commenting. I’m actually having difficulty with flipflops at present, although I love them (especially because I live near the shore.) I am trying to accept comfy sneakers and shoes with backs as well.

    Hang in there and thanks for reading.

    Jen :)

  • Alyson H-W

    Dear Jen and Tracy
    Having been diagnosed with MS 7 years ago I am continually struggling with footwear – it was so heartening to read both your comments and to know I am not alone. I do still wear flip-flops but only in the house and for short periods. I did start to wear Merrells but even they have become uncomfortable these days. Mostly I look for lace-ups too. I’ll have to check out both your suggestions, thanks to both of you.
    Woe is me huh!!!!

  • Dear Jen and Tracey,

    I was diagnosed with MS mid last year but had the symptoms at least for three years. My doctor thought I was going through menopause. LOL.

    My husband and I have a kitchen manufacturing business and get invitations to special dinners.
    The last one I tried to wear heals and remember sitting down all night or standing against a wall.

    I am only 5 feet tall and my husband is 6 feet. Is there any footwear that could give me a little height and still look elegant.


  • Jen

    I wear “Mudd” brand slip-on heels, Sharon. I don’t have any of their winter shoes, but they have cute summer sandals with thick, sturdy heels. I think they might be for juniors, but I don’t care!


    Not sure if they sell them where you are.

  • I have MS and I wear sas shoes, but they are not working anymore. My feet seem to just ache and burn all the time.

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  • Liz

    It’s been at least 20yrs trying to come to terms

  • Jen

    Yes— me too, Liz. Over 15 now and I am struggling right now. Hugs to you.

  • Cathy

    On a good day I can still wear my Sketchers Rumblers Wedge Sandal.
    These are so light you forget you have them on and they give you a little height at the same time. diagnosed 1995

  • Summer

    I’ve had ms for 10 years now ( wow) … I continued to wear heels for years except for when I was having a relapse . For the past 3 years or so It is impossible though. I try wearing wedges on occasion but can only for a very short time . I know it sounds trivial but not being able to wear the shoes I have and used to love really makes me upset ! I also used to live in flip flops but recently I have had to stop wearing them out because they don’t provide support . Anyway I have accepted now that sneakers are the best option for me and am pleased to know that they are even fashionable these days ! I was wondering if anyone has tried our NEw balance sneakers and how they are in terms of comfort and stability . Any other shoe recs would be highly appreciated also !

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