News and Opinion from Anne Barone to Keep You Chic & Slim

4 October 2015

Chic Shoe Styles for Special Needs Feet

Those high, high heels many French women favor are chic. But what do you wear if for physical reasons you can’t wear a high heel?

Recently I received an email from a Chic & Slim reader asking for advice about footwear. She describes herself as an “incomplete paraplegic” who walks with forearm crutches and cannot wear higher than a quarter inch heel. Since she is certain age and since her style is more classic, she does not want to go the sneaker or Doc Martens work book routes as some have suggested to her.

Some of you may remember that, in a Nouvelles post in May 2012, I introduced you to the current French Minister of Education, Higher Education and Research who was then the French government spokesperson. In 2012 Najat Vallaud-Belkacem was making French fashion news for her choice of footwear: Derbies.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem wearing her Derbies

Derbies are chic, but practical footwear. Much like an oxford, they are distinguished from oxfords in that the derby has shoelace eyelet tabs that are sewn on top of a single-piece vamp. The oxford has the shoelace eyelet tabs stitched underneath the vamp. A subtle difference that many of us might not notice.

oxford styles for women

In the USA, you can buy oxfords for women made by many companies in a range of prices. You can find a large choice of styles and colors. Women with larger feet might also consider some of the classier versions of oxfords made for men. I have a long, narrow foot and I have bought both sneakers as well as Roper boots made for men and found them very comfortable.

My local shoe stores do not carry a good selection of shoes in my size. So for the past decade I have ordered most of my shoes online. A couple of years ago I discovered FootSmart, a good source of footwear for special needs feet.

FootSmart’s shoes are brands many whose names you will recognize, but they also sell specialty brands whose shoes are designed for special foot problems — and sizes.

FootSmart has special sales from time to time. You can get on an email list for notification. A couple of months ago, FootSmart emailed about a special 20% off sale. On clearance I found a classy pair of slip on-oxfords by Walking Cradles, just what I was looking for, and in my size and width.

Two features of my grandmother's personal style: First her hair, she never cut it and always wore it in a neat braided bun on the back of her head. And she always wore oxford shoes. I think she would be pleased that not only do I have in my closet two pair (one black, one chestnut in two different heel heights) but that I am recommending oxfords as a chic style choice.

upper image: Najat Vallaud-Belkacem wearing Derbies via Google Images | lower image: various styles of oxford shoes for women via Google Images

be chic, stay slimAnne Barone