From Reader Whitney:
I have second toe metatarsophalangeal synovitis, which means my second toe feels like it’s broken. There really is no cure, as surgery is dubious. I have been wearing a walking boot for five weeks and will be switching to a rigid soled shoe. To that end, I have Dansko clogs on the way. Unfortunately, I can’t find a single stiff-soled winter boot, unless I want to wear something that looks like I’m exploring Antarctica and costs a million dollars. (I’d be willing to pay for something that wasn’t embarrassing to use.)
Right now I am wearing old white MBT athletic style Shoes in the snow because they are the only fully rigid Shoes I own. AID! I feel like I’ve looked everywhere. Every shoe line people recomMend has a major “flex” sequence in the accompanying Zappos video. And I click the “back” button and keep looking.
Oh sorry, that sounds painful. I stARTed looking for you too and I also saw the bendy sequence in the videos. Not everyone likes flexibility in the toe area! What about Merrell snow boots like the Snowbound Mid? I have a similar type of boot in a hiking style called the Salida Mid and I love these. I have hallux limitus – pain in the big toe joint, but found the Merrell boot kept the front of my foot from bending too much and provided good arch support. Another brand to try is Ariat boots with ATS technology, sort of like a steel shank for added stability. I’d like to include your question in a post and I’ll keep looking!
Since then, I’ve found five more boots with varying degrees of sole stiffness, most with a rocker sole that propels the foot through the stride while relieving pressure on the forefoot. Here we go…
1. Icebug Avila: Features a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) shank for torsional (side-to-side) stability and TPU reinforceMents in the toe area. Compression-molded EVA Midsole provides solid support. Excellent traction and comfort rated at zero degrees Fahrenheit. $66.54-170 on Amazon, free shipping.
2. Clark’s Wave Cabin: The goal of Clark’s WaveWalk technology is effortless walking. The unique curved sole gently swings the foot forward, minimizing impact on the forefoot joints. The WaveWalk collection carries the APMA™ (American Podiatric Medical Association) Seal of Acceptance. The cozy Cabin boot also features a removable Ortholite insole to accommodate an orthotic. $154-174 at Amazon, free shipping and returns. $174.95 at OnlineShoes.com, free shipping and exchanges. $174.99 at ClarksUsa.com, free shipping and returns.
3. Dromedaris Robin: You can see how this sole would protect the forefoot, right? A shock-absorbing PU (polyurethane) outsole with a slip-resistant sole under the rocker bottom will ensure better movement when walking and less strain on your joints and back. Read more about Dromedaris comfort technology here. The Robin is not a super warm boot,as the Faux Fur collar is merely decorative. But if you live south of the Mason-Dixon line, just wear a thick sock and you’ll be fine! $174.95 at Shoebuy with special offers, free shipping and free returns.
4. Alegría fans: did you know they made a boot for wet weather? Alegría is known for its supportive cork and latex footbed, roomy toe box, and rocker motion soles. I notice the girl in the Zappos video bends the forefoot of the Stormy boot to show how “flexible” it is, but I think the thick insole would provide just enough rigidity to keep it from bending too much. You can always add a more rigid template. $149.95 at Zappos.
5. Dansko Harper: Dansko is too quick to discontinue a good boot. The Harper is still Available on the web, but it’s moving quickly. Everything you love about Dansko clogs, but in one cute bootie, plus it features a cushioned memory foam insole and warm shearling lining and cuffs. $179.95 at The Walking Company, free shipping with free store returns.