I love shoes. Shoes can really dress up or down and outfit, just the way you want! Having arthritis, or just chronic pain, can make finding good shoes really difficult. It's taken years, but I've finally found ways of coping. Years of wearing ugly, clunky shoes that are so comfortable or pretty shoes that hurt like no tomorrow have gave way to finding great shoes. It just takes a little effort, but here are my shoe rules.
1. If you are able to, invest in your work and dress shoes. This is most important for women, as the two types of shoes can often be one of the same. Heels may not be possible for everyone, but some women actually can: They just need a very thick, small heel and a well made shoe. Consider saving for a quality pair of shoes that will last, give your feet support and most importantly give you confidence.
2. Get proper shoe equipment. Get arches if your doctor recommends them, especially if your feet are flat. You don't need to spend a fortune on getting them custom made: I've found them in regular stores and some are just as good as the custom made ones. In fact, my doctor thought mine were custom made! In reality, I bought them for nearly nothing.
3. If your heels ache, get heel cups. They're a bit like little trampolines for your feet. I highly recommend them- my heels ache a great deal, and throb when I wake up. But lately with my heel cups, they've been much better. They too can be found cheaply, in fact you probably could find directions on how to make your own.
4. Almost Any shoe can be made comfy if you have the right equipment. I can wear ballet flats by putting arch supports and heel cups in them. It may be difficult in some shoes, but I've found sticking down arches and cups with double sided tape helps a tremendous amount. You can also stick cushions inside too.
5. If you have nice shoes that has no supports or way of keeping supports in them, try to plan when you want to wear them. Try and make it on a good day, but I know that's not predictable. Make sure you take your pain medicines, and if you have a lot of walking to do (like if you take the train), bring a spare pair to change into. Having a spare (preferably light pair) will also be good incase you flare during the day and need comfy shoes.
6. Arches hurt to break in, but you don't have to completely suffer. Stick small pads on them, it makes it a little more bare able! Don't try and wear them the entire day at first: try for two hours a day, and try longer as it goes by. My arches hurt so much for the first week, but it was well worth it: any shoe I put on with my arches are like slippers.
7. Break in shoes quicker! Dip them in water, put on a pair or two of thick socks and then the wet shoes. Use a hair dryer to dry your shoes as you wear them!