VELCRO–Part 2: Shoes for Aging Parents

Velcro ClosuresNot all shoe styles with Velcro are suitable for old people!

…Yet some styles fulfill a need. Think: one foot wider than the other; arthritic or old fingers that make using buckles difficult.

Sr. Advisor R, like other older and old people, has a fear of falling (especially after breaking her hip two years ago). She’s concerned about maintaining good balance when walking. Yet she has never purchased those unfashionable-looking shoes that so many elders wear for balance.

Instead she has invested time and energy to find sandals that give her feet support, are comfortable and look good, and provide what she calls “a solid platform” that’s “weighty enough” to give her confidence when walking.

As people age, feet can widen and/or develop bunions, hammer toes or other problems that cause one foot to be wider than the other. This is where Velcro comes to the rescue. Proper fitting sandals, with velcro closures that accommodate a wider foot near the base of the toe, have been the answer for R. Rather than buying shoes in two sizes, Velcro lets her adjust for each foot’s width. The sandals look contemporary when one lives year-round in a warm climate. Currently R is wearing Naturalizer’s Valero style.

Researching for this post, made me aware of older people’s shoes as I was riding the bus to visit a friend in NYC. We’ve been having warm weather so sandals are still seen everywhere. Many have Velcro-type closures.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Dr. Jonathan Moore’s article, Our Vital Role in Fall Prevention (pp. 13-15) in “Podiatry Management–the most influential publication for the podiatry profession” mentions Velcro with this caution: “Velcro laces are ideal, but Velcro latching is often neglected, thus creating a situation where the shoe can become loose.  Shoes with lace are fine, so long as they are tied snug to create a good fit.” (While Dr. Moore’s brace invention comes under criticism in other articles, his shoe information re: Velcro makes sense.)

Being able to walk is important exercise with many health benefits in addition to the freedom it gives a person. We know this. And properly caring for–especially–old feet should be part of one’s regimen. When aging parents have foot problems, a podiatrist, preferably a DPM, should be consulted and no doubt shoes should be part of the discussion.

Can sandals with Velcro closures–fastened snug enough to create a good fit–offer a contemporary shoe alternative for your aging parent’s feet needing different width shoes? His or her podiatrist can answer that question.

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