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Tuesday, 16 November, 2021

Friendly Shoes Review- Shoes That Make a Difference – by Hannah Deakin CFJ Alumni

Image shows the wearer of a pair of pale pink trainers standing with one foot in front of the other

Image shows the wearer of a pair of pale pink trainers standing
Friendly Shoes Review- Shoes That Make a Difference
Friendly Shoes produce stylish adaptive footwear for children and adults alike. They are now available in the UK. Created by an occupational therapist they are functional but fashionable footwear. Perfect for AFO users or people who have difficulty getting their shoes on and off.

Background of Friendly Shoes
 With a background in Occupational therapy, Friendly Shoes saw that people were desperate for a shoe that didn’t exist. People wanted a shoe that adapted to their needs.  From listening to the customer, they have created Friendly Shoes which are shoes for users of orthotics, AFO’s and braces. Also, people with poor hand dexterity, Parkinson’s, diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and many others. The company is established in the USA and recently expanded to the UK.

My Review
I was kindly gifted a pair of peach Excursion trainers to try from Friendly Shoes. I have been wearing them for over a month now; I think they are great.
I wear SAFOs (Silicone ankle foot orthotics) when I stand or take a few steps. Like many of you I am sure, with AFOs (Ankle foot orthotics) or other splints, it is an absolute nightmare trying to find a standard pair of trainers to fit with enough width and depth, let alone a pair of shoes. (I have not ventured to the later yet!) The Excursion range have a zip around the back of the heel, enabling me to slip my foot in and zip up the trainer, making wearing trainers with splints no longer an issue.

Are They Comfortable?
I have found my Friendly shoes very comfortable. I love the memory foam insole, with arch support. The insole is removable if you require more room. The foam at the back of the shoe is thick which is both comfortable and supportive. They are extremely lightweight, which is a great help.
They are available for children and adults in a variety of styles and colours. They look fashionable and come with choice. Something that many disabled people often have taken away from them. Generally, if you actually find a pair of shoes that fit, you have the option of pair A, or pair A! You can normally guarantee they are the awful looking pair too. With Friendly Shoes you have choice!
The children’s styles are especially snazzy and fun. It is particularly nice that the little children can have glittery or fancy patterned trainers, like their friends. But ones they can get their splints on with and put on themselves.

Friendly Shoe Styles
Excursion style are shoes which zip open around the back of the heel and also recommended for splint/AFO users.
Voyage style are shoes which have a full-length zip down the side and then open wide. They are recommended for splint/AFO users.
Force style are shoes which have a full-length zip down the side and then open wide. They are ideal for people with sensitive feet as they have a smooth lining inside. They are not recommended for users with medium to large AFOs.

Ease of Getting on and Off
I can’t put my own shoes on and off, nevertheless, if I got to the point I could, I think these shoes would make it much more possible.
The zip with a ring pull means that for people who only have use of one arm, for example someone who has had a stroke, or has poor dexterity, they could manage to put their shoes on themself. It also means the shoes have wide openings and so are easy to get on and off.

The shoes are a wide fitting making them a perfect match with people who have to wear splints or AFOs.
In my opinion the Excursion style works best with splints.
The fact that most of the Friendly Shoes have laces is also a plus. If you need to gain more room to get the shoe on you can loosen them, and then tighten again by doing up the laces. Equally, if laces are a problem or it is not necessary, you can just leave them tied up and just use the zip to get the shoe on and off.

They only come in full sizes. I think it would be great if they could do half sizes as well.

The children’s shoes are quite reasonable. The adult shoes are more expensive; however, they are very well made, good quality and I feel they will last.

Where to Buy Friendly Shoes?
Friendly Shoes can be purchased on their website  www.friendlyshoes.co.uk all orders have a flat rate delivery charge of £6.95. VAT exemption and returns are available. However, you have to pay the postage cost of returns. If you sign up to their email you receive 10% off your first order. Occasionally, Friendly Shoes do pop up shops where you can try and buy the shoes on in person, so look out on their social media channels for those.
I would definitely recommend Friendly Shoes. They are a fabulous product that will help many others.

by Hannah Deakin for Ability Today  
For more articles by Hannah on Ability Today https://abilitytoday.co.uk/author/hannahdeakin/
– Hannah’s Hope Blogger & Academy for Disabled Journalists Student

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