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Friday, January 1, 2016

Sketcher Shindig & Fortress - Podiatry Recommended Shoes for Comfort and Warmth

Podiatry Recommended
Two Comfortable Shoes for Winter Wear

The Sketcher Shindig & Fortress

The Sketcher Shindig & Fortress are two wonderful shoe choices for wearing around the house as a bedroom slipper or dressing up for casual wear with jeans. What makes the Sketcher Shindig & Fortress so comfortable (and podiatry recommended) is that they both meet the four criteria required to make a shoe comfortable:
1. A thick, rigid and non-flexible sole with a wide base
2. Wide, soft toebox
3. Rearfoot control
4. Arch support (although this shoe doesn't have exceptional arch support built into the shoe it should be able to accommodate a dress orthotic). 

The thick, rigid and non-flexible sole is the most important part of the shoe. If you are wearing shoes that you can bend and flex, you are setting yourself up for possible arthritic joint damage, stress fractures and deformities such as bunions, hammertoes and neuromas. Over 80% of shoes available in stores have soles that bend and flex because that is what sells. There is a common misconception that flexible, soft shoes are comfortable and good for your feet, but the truth is the exact opposite! What makes a comfortable shoe is a thick, rigid and non-flexible sole that protects your joints and tendons from excessive strain and damage. Cushion (usually in the form of cushioned arch supports and insoles) is then placed on top of the thick and rigid sole. The concept is similar to when you purchase a new mattress. You want a firm mattress for more support for your joints and spine and then you have a cushioned topcover for more softness and comfort. If you are recovering from a foot injury or trying to slow or stop the progression of foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoes, then it is crucial that you wear shoes that protect those joints from further stress, mechanical strain and damage. 

A wide, soft toebox puts less pressure on toenails, bunions and hammertoes. If water can wear down rock to sand - then it stands to reason that a tight or pointy-toed dress shoe can slowly deform your toes into bunions and hammertoes with painful corns. Not to mention promoting ingrown and fungal toenails. For more information on the important role that proper shoes play in getting rid of toenail fungus, please refer to my article in this blog: 

I don't recommend mules (shoes with no rearfoot control), but the Sketcher Shindig has enough of a reafoot 'lip' to secure the heel in place for more biomechanical control of the foot and the ankle. Without rearfoot control, your tendons, joints and muscles have to work harder to stay in the shoe, which causes mechanical strain and tired-leg syndrome as well as promotes forefoot issues because you have to clench your toes down to stay in the shoe. If you want to slow the progression of hammertoes, bunions, neuromas and other forefoot issues, then you need to wear shoes with rearfoot control. And if you have any rearfoot issues or knee, hip or lower back issues, then it is absolutely crucial that you wear shoes with rearfoot control. 

The Sketcher Shindig & Fortress are recommended for patients with:
*Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain) (wear with a dress orthotic for more biomechanical control of the arch which alleviates pressure on the plantar fascia) 
*Tailor's Bunions
*Corns and Calluses
*Morton's Neuromas
*Hallux Limitus (limited range of motion of the 1st toe joint)
*Functional Hallux Limitus
*Hallux Rigidus (no range of motion of the 1st toe joint)
*Mild Degenerative Joint Disease 
*Recovering from Lisfranc's Injury (without surgery)  
*Mild Peroneal Tendonitis 
*Mild Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
*Haglund's Deformity (without Achilles Tendonitis) 
*Mild to moderate swelling in feet and ankles
*Raynaud's Disease
*Ingrown toenails
*Mild to moderate Over-Pronation (wear with dress orthotic if possible)
*Mild to moderate Hypermobility (wear dress orthotic if possible) 

The Sketcher Shindig & Fortress are not recommended for patients with: 
*Charcot Foot
*History of foot ulcerations
*Achilles Tendonitis (there is not enough rearfoot control) 
*A history of an Achilles rupture, tear or surgical repair
*Ankle Instability 
*Severe Hypermobility
*Conditions that require that they wear an Ankle-Foot Orthosis (custom-molded ankle brace) 
*History of chronic ankle sprains or fractures (you need more rearfoot control) 
*Moderate to Severe Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
*Moderate to Severe Peroneal Tendonitis

Check with your Podiatrist to see if these shoes works for you if you have:
*Rheumatoid Arthritis
*Peripheral Neuropathy (nerve damage) 
*Peripheral Arterial Disease (poor circulation)
*Moderate to Severe Degenerative Joint Disease of midfoot or rearfoot joints
*History of Lisfranc's joint surgery with fixation (hardware such as screws and plates that fuse the joint) 
*Midfoot or Rearfoot joint fusions (surgery that stops motion at the joint with hardware such as screws and plates) 
*Geriatrics (might be too heavy for them)
*High Fall Risk 

For more information, please refer to my other articles on this blog:
My feet hurt! Top 10 things to alleviate foot pain today.
Shoe Recommendations for patients recovering from Lisfranc's Injuries.  

Happy New Year!
Wishing you health and happy feet!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy


**Word of caution: do not get the Sketcher GOwalk shoes -- they are hideous for your feet and a perfect recipe for a fracture!


Emily Hughes said...

Do you have a preference for the Skechers Shindig/Fortress or the Crocs Mammoth for hallux rigidus? I had the Crocs Mammoth when they first came out 5 or so years ago, but my son took them over and I never replaced them. At the time I had early stage hallux limitus with intermittent pain. I don't remember them being overly rigid but not flimsy by any means. Now I'm in pain daily despite living in Alegria Daynas, Birkenstocks and a pretty rigid North Face hiking shoe. I also have Raynaud's and am looking for a warmer, more substantial house shoe. Really appreciate and enjoy reading your blog! Lots of great advice and recommendations for such a wide variety of foot problems! Thanks!

Emily Hughes said...

I went ahead and ordered the Skechers Shindigs Fortress Clog in my normal size, 7M. They were definitely very warm and would have helped with Raynaud's; however, I felt a complete lack of rearfoot control despite the 'lip' you mentioned. I wore them around the house on 2 occasions with 2 different thicknesses of socks, and both times I felt myself constantly trying to grip with my toes to stay in the shoe and maintain stability. I was hoping this shoe would be the right fit for both Raynaud's and moderate to severe hallux limitus, but I unfortunately will be returning them. They definitely run small in term if length. If they didn't lack the rearfoot control I was expecting, I would have needed to return them for a 7 1/2. Perhaps I will give the Crocs Mammoth a try.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Emily,
Sorry for the delayed response! And I'm sorry the Sketchers did not work for you. I think the Croc Mammouth or the Crocs Blitzen or the Blitzen II should work better for you as they have more rearfoot control. If you find an Ugg boot with a rigid, non-flexible sole -- that might work for you also. I still find that the Crocs actually are more comfortable than the Uggs, but I do have some patients who prefer the Uggs.
Thank you for reading!

Emily Hughes said...

Thanks for your response and feedback! I received the Crocs Mammouth in the mail and have been living in them around the house for the past 4 days. They are exactly what I needed! Do you have recommendations for winter boots that have rigid soles and are mid-calf height with wide/roomy toe box for hallux rigidus? Finding good shoes is so difficult when you have foot problems. I feel like I can never walk into a shoe store and purchase a pair off the shelf. It's a never-ending cycle of online purchasing and exchanging for months on end. I haven't owned winter boots in years because I spend so much time researching and rejecting and I'm beyond frustrated by the time winter comes to an end. Thankfully we have relatively mild winters in southeastern Virginia.

deborah said...

What about these? Just bought them both.
Skechers Performance Women's Go Run 400 Running Shoe

Skechers Performance Women's Go Step Lite Interstellar Walking Shoe

I love the padding.