How to Find the Perfect Shoe While Living with SCI

Posted by Garrison Redd in Life After Paralysis on August 09, 2022 # Lifestyle

Garrison ReddIt is the middle of the summer, and the temperatures in New York are soaring. If you are an individual living with a spinal cord injury, it can be rough in the summer months or in hotter climates for many reasons. Staying hydrated is very important, and something else that should be on the list of importance should be foot care. I am a T12 paraplegic, and I have been navigating the spinal cord injury life since 2005. I had some ups and downs when it came to foot care, and I noticed that the summer months are when I typically have the most difficulties due to swelling.

The first step towards finding the perfect shoe is consulting with your podiatrist. Your podiatrist will be able to guide you towards what type of shoe you may need. In my case, I noticed that since I couldn’t control my spasms, my feet would rub against the top of the shoe, causing blisters on the top of my toe. I also can’t feel my feet, so I am unable to determine how severe the blisters are. I also have hammer toes (a foot condition in which the toe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint). So, my podiatrist at the time suggested I wear shoes with high shoe boxes.

However, in the summer, I like for my feet to get some air and breathe since it’s often in socks and sneakers year around. What I realized is slides (an open-toe style of sandal) just don’t work with my footplate. Another major issue with slides is keeping them on, being that I do not have an active function in my feet and toes.

Below I will provide you with my 3 go-to shoes that keep my feet healthy and breathing in the summertime, as well as provide you with the reasons why I love them.

  • Hoka Bondi 7 - This shoe is one of my favorites. Not only is the toe box high, but they are also very stylish. Most of their shoes are designed for comfort. However, this shoe has a universal design that can benefit individuals with limited mobility. They also fit well with braces.
  • Birkenstock Arizona - If you are looking for a sandal, this is a good selection in that it has a slide design, but it is adjustable. Often with slides, it is difficult to get it to fit on your feet. In my case, I sometimes have swelling in one foot which would make one foot bigger than the other. You can adjust these by fastening the straps to your desired comfortability.
  • Nike GO Flyease - This shoe has great breathability and is super easy to put on (if you can get it on). The downside with this shoe is that even though it was designed with people with disabilities in mind, it isn’t very wide at all. They are very difficult to wear with braces, and if you have a wider foot, it may cause more harm than good. If you have average size feet or smaller/ narrower feet, this will be a good choice.

My name is Garrison Redd. I am a T-12 paraplegic born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I am searchable under Garrison Redd on Youtube or @GarrisonRedd on Instagram and Facebook. As well as, you can visit my website thegarrisonreddproject.org, and you can send me a message on Reeve Connect Garrison Redd or by email. I hope everybody stays safe and strong.

This post is purely educational for our community readers. The Reeve Foundation does not endorse these products. These opinions are that of the blogger.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.