Attention Wheelchair Peeps: Comfort Over Cosmetics When Choosing Shoes

Comfortable Feet = Happy Wheelchair Operator…

Lightweight comfortable shoes and thin socks…. In my opinion this is a bit of advice which is usually overlooked by people paralyzed in wheelchairs. Any paraplegic or quadriplegic who has limited muscle strength in their legs also has limited movement in their legs. The result is always poor blood circulation throughout the lower extremities, which causes dull achy pain in the legs as well as swelling.

If this sounds like you, I strongly suggest investing in lightweight shoes for daily use, rather than shoes that simply look good. Don’t get it twisted, I’m all for looking good in what I wear, but I’ll take comfort over looks any day.  2 types of extremely comfortable shoes are TOMS and Crocs.  Years ago I would have never worn Crocs.. I used to laugh every time someone in scrubs walked by with their Crocs… Now, minus the scrubs, I’m the guy wearing them. What Crocs lack in cosmetic appeal they more than make up for in comfort. Anyone permanently confined to a wheelchair knows how painful tight shoes can make your feet feel. TOMS and Crocs are lightweight, and barely touch against the skin of your feet, resulting in an almost weightless shoe. If pain/ache from shoes is an issue as a result of your wheelchair disability, purchase a pair of Crocs/TOMS or something similar.

Also, if your wheelchair sitting causes swollen feet, always were the thinnest softest socks possible. I usually purchase “business suit” (not sure if there’s such a term) style socks because they are extremely thin. Whether you prefer ankle high or knee high socks, try to keep them as thin as possible. The minimized sock thickness will provide extra space for your feet, which, if anything like mine, will become swollen throughout the day, and could use the breathing room.

Keep in mind, the 2 brands I suggest above are simply that… suggestions. They may work for you and they may not.  The point is, go out of your way to keep your feet as lightweight and comfortable as possible, and they will be happy feet.  So, if for whatever reason your day begins to suck, at least you’ll have happy feet… and that’s important:)

Comfortable feet = Happy wheelchair operator.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Arno

    Good thinking! Really lightweight shoes are important. They also make your wheelchair roll easier. The less weight you have on the front, the better the turns and drive.
    Most important for me is they are soft and don’t push into the back of my heels.

  • Reply

    Great post Jacob! It’s so true. Another pair of comfy shoes I really like are the Vibram FiveFinger shoes. I love them but sometimes have a hard time getting my little toe into place. LOL

  • Adam

    Wool socks rock.
    I found some furry slippers, too- inside & out.
    Killer combo.

  • Rob

    I’ve found that Converse brand hightops are easy to put on and good protection for those of us who have crazy, spastic legs. Get a wider size to accommodate socks (not bulky ones). Most basketball shoes are good because the tongue starts just above the toes so you can drop your foot in and lace up. Some of the velcro strap sandals with heel protection from Propet, etc. are good , too. Unfortunately they may experience sole PVC degradation over a few years. Always on the lookout- wish I could use simple and affordable Crocs.

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