Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

I got me ten fine toes / To wiggle in the sand…


My toes don’t always behave themselves. That dystonia that I mentioned once or twice makes them curl up and squash together. The curling up makes shoes a problem, as the toes rub on the uppers. But even without the friction, cured up feet are difficult to walk on, particularly (and here’s the weird bit) in confined spaces. Like indoors.

I am seeing the podiatrist again in just over a fortnight’s time.

But I also had an idea, and I’m trying it out.

Vibram Five Fingers

Strange shoes, with toes!

It wasn’t a particularly cheap idea.

rainbow socks with toes


I have a few pairs of socks with toes in, and they seemed to help a little, although they are not the easiest things to put on. (Neither are the shoes.) It felt right to be able to move my toes independently inside my shoes. The slight separation between toes that the socks afforded seemed to reduce the squashed-together feeling.

Vibram Fivefingers were designed for active, outdoor types who wanted to move more naturally (barefoot) without hurting their feet. Such people are not very common, ad could be considered to be slightly eccentric. The shoes are not widely available on the high street, and they cost enough that I didn’t want to order a pair online only to find that the fit was completely wrong.

(This is complicated by the fact that I have fairly long, narrow feet, and have difficulty finding ladies shoes in my size. In common with many shoe manufacturers, Vibram do ladies up to a size 8 (UK) / 42 (EU). I take size 9 (UK) / 43 (EU). Which means I’m in mens. And men tend to have wider feet – particularly, or so I am told, at the heel.)

Anyway, Cotswold Outdoor sell the shoes, and there is  a branch in Reading. I duly turned up, only to discover that stocks were low and there were no 43s. The helpful gentleman in the shop ordered a pair of Classic Fivefingers for me to try on, and they turned up last Friday. They fit well enough for my immediate needs, which are primarily indoor (I have less of a problem outside, with more space around me – this is no doubt due to the neurological nature of my problem).


Vibram Fivefingers – top and bottom

The shoes I have remind me a little of flat court shoes (It’s the low, rounded front that does it), but more comfortable. I intend to use them around the house and – after I get some more (soberly coloured) socks with toes – at work, which will be mostly around the office.

So far, they seem to be helping. The toes in the shoes are quite flexible, but have enough stiffness that my own toes seem less inclined to curl. And the separation inherent in the design is good – my feet certainly feel more comfortable.

I can’t see myself running in the shoes, or climbing hills in them; they don’t quite seem secure enough at the back. Actually, running is unlikely in my case, but they are frequently used for that purpose. I was told that there were a couple of runners in the Reading half marathon using them, but that the lack of padding meant that they were poorly suited to road work. As to the hills – well, I am pretty much okay out there. But there is a more secure design, which covers the whole foot and has a strap. It’s called KSO (“Keeps Stuff Out”), and I’m quite tempted…

Anyway, here is the song that the post title came from:


3 thoughts on “I got me ten fine toes / To wiggle in the sand…

  1. Pingback: Podiatry Again: Custom Insoles… | Blogging with Parkinson's

  2. Loved this post! I was diagnosed with PD at 52 (now 60)…am sure i had it much longer… I have dystonia in my feet and am looking for good footwear for inside and walking. I’m still pretty active and want to walk for exercise and mental health reasons…but need “special” footwear. I appreciated your comments on indoor footwear…special needs there too. No problems with appearing eccentric…already been noted by others…(and I rather relish the label)

  3. Pingback: Les chaussures minimalistes ou « chaussures à orteils » – Parkinson… Ailleurs !

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