Buying Shoes

Not Manolos.  Not Jimmy Choos.  Plain shoes. Everyday shoes.  Shoes for a boy with aspergers.  How hard can that be?  Quite difficult as it turned out.  I know to be careful about shoes.  He does not want to part with his current pair, even though there is a hole in one of the soles and they are one size too small.  Shoes have been purchased before, and then rejected as uncomfortable days or even hours later.

It's taken me several months to persuade him to go shopping for shoes. And he had to pick December 23rd!  Luckily his big sister agreed to mind Smiley, which meant special time for him with Mum and access to all the children's shoe departments that don't have lifts...yes really!

But who knew there were so many ways in which shoes could feel uncomfortable.  His toes hurt, or the heel moved, or the shoe 'compressed' his feet.  Or they looked wrong, they weren't cool or he didn't like the colour.  We trudged up and down the busy shopping streets of Dublin weaving in and out of the Christmas shoppers.  Thanks to the recession there were no queues in the shoe shops, and the patience of the staff was inspiring.  They'd watch him twisting this way and that, reason with his issues, bring different sizes and different styles.  I photographed the boxes so I would remember which shoes were on the 'possibles' list.

Finally in the last shop I thought we'd found 'The Pair'.  Ok so the shoes weren't completely black.  They had red and silver flashes on them, but I figured I could get those past the school.  They had laces, but hey, he's 10, it's time he learned how to tie laces.  He was delighted with them.

"They're really comfy Mum."

The assistant showed him how to tie the laces.  Several times.

"But I can't see where the second loop comes from!" he said.  Over and over again.

That's when I realised.  These shoes would not do either.  Aspie boy is very anxious right now.  He follows me everywhere, including outside the house when I go into the garden, whether it's to hang out the washing, put nappies in the bin, put the bins out, or leave Smiley out to the bus.  He won't wear shoes in the house, so they have to go on each time.  And that would be completely unmanageable with lace ups.  

By this time it was 10 to 1 and I was feeling faint with hunger, never a good time for me to make a big decision.  So we came home with no shoes.

But we did return home with a long sleeved T-shirt with Yoda on the front.  This purchase increases his choice of winter outfits by 50 per cent, and is thus a good thing.

And as for the shoes?  Well we'll just have to do it all again another day..


  1. This is a familiar tale of boys without asperger's too - right down to the shoe laces.

    Have a very happy Christmas, all of you!


  2. My Jake is not great with shoes either. So when I do find a pair he loves and that fit him ? I buy 3 pair - the ones that fit and the SAME exact shoe in the next 2 sizes up, too.

    Also if he likes lightweight shoes? We've found this brand - Tsukihoshi - to be amazing. They're soft and mold quickly to his feet, and they make an all black sneaker he can wear to school.

    Hope your holidays are sweet!

  3. I know this feeling. I never thought I would be able to get school shoes for Sasha but she surprised me by suddenly agreeing to shoes and trainers at the same time - only ones she had tried on mind you.... Can't tell you how many other pairs of shoes, boots etc I've bought for her to try at home then had to take back... sandals in winter? No problem!! Lovely new snow boots she tried on but they are still sitting in the cupboard as she insists they're only for when it's snowing... but I'm not convinced she'll wear them even then! It can be an expensive business... but I know how frustrating it is to not be able to get anything right - and the owrry that their feet are hurting but they won't say so. Hope your next shopping trip goes better! Merry Christmas x

  4. See might be a nightmare for you but think how easy it will be for his wife...she will just get the same shoes every year. My mum did that for my Dad, and I have realised my darling hubby buys the same shoes all the time there are advantages to it, when you find the right pair! We are working on shoe lace tying here (with my son, not my hubby, lol)...he is getting there slowly. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely kids.

  5. I know!!!! Who knew shoes can be so irritating, uncomfortable and downright painful?!?

    I do the same thing as Varda--I have shoes that he likes in sizes till he's about 14 years old. And they're all Croc's. Kinda stinks right now in winter but I'm not fighting that battle!

    Good luck and show us what shoes you do get. I'm curious.

  6. You know what? I HATE shoes. They feel all wrong, humans don't need them, really.
    I like to think I have few Autistic traits, blame the males in my family, and the fathers of my boys for their 'quirks'.
    But, shoes? Really uncomfortable, as are most socks. I feel the discomfort all day. In the absence of vanity, I'd be just like your boy!
    I have wanted to reply to so many of your posts, but my life feels so 'easy' compared to yours, and I moan about nothing, feel a fraud.
    I totally admire you, your strength, and know I'd get on with you in person.
    You really deserve peace and happiness, I hope so much that you find this.
    I'm not drunk, just get a bit soppy Christmas Eve,


    Lucy x

  7. Ohh gosh, you let me in to a whole different world. I had no idea that soemthing that should be simple could become so complex. I hope you get to find a fab pair in the sales.

    Have a great Christmas, Mich x

  8. @Esther Montgomery - You see I'm new to bringing up boys as well as new to aspergers! Good that you related to it and Happy Christmas x

    @Varda - I wouldn't dare buy three pairs as 'my tastes have changed, Mum, as I'm getting older,' is the kind of comment I get frequently, but thanks for recommending the brand, I've made a note of that x

    @Steph - you'd nearly pray for snow just so she will wear the snow boots lol x

    @Una - I just love the idea that he'll give his wife and easy like :)

    @Lizbeth - Ooh I will post a photo then - that'll be an easy blog post :)

    @LUCEWOMAN - Please don't feel your life is 'easy', I don't think anyone feels that their life is 'easy' when there living it and every day seems to be full of hassle and problems. And as for commenting, well I love your blog too but I can't always come up with something witty enough to put in a comment xx

    @Michelle Twin Mum - a pair in the sale would be great - hope you had a lovely Christmas too x

  9. Choosing shoes are a bit of a nightmare for me - I've got a pretty narrow range, and I'll have to hunt high and low (usually through one Clark's shop in London after another) for a pair that are comfortable, pretty much exactly the right style, and pig-free. It took me ages, two years ago, but I finally found a pair that I've been using for two years since. Now all the tread is gone, so walking on wet ground feels like walking on ice. Will be back on the shoe trail tomorrow.

  10. Well, I think you made the right choice. We STILL prefer velcro shoes here but unfortunately we're past children's shoe shops so only lace-ups from now on! WiiBoy snsitive when it comes to shoes too but not that bad. I hope your next trip is successful ;-)

    xx Jazzy

  11. @Matthew Smith - yes walking on ice is not good: hope you managed to get a new pair that suits.

    @jazzygal - well, I think we maybe buying velcro again...xx