Bridget is kind of a fashionista. She wants to wear pretty dresses, have her hair done just so and wear cool shoes.
Last month the orthopedic doctor recommended Bridget go back into her AFO’s. It’s silly really, but the AFO’s just bug me. They are ugly. They destroy shoes faster than Bridget eats Pirate Booty. You cannot find shoes to fit, buying three sizes too big and then removing the insoles to try to get the right fit.
Within a month, sometimes two, the AFO has broken the sole of the shoe. Warped and is not doing the exact opposite of what it is meant to do. Make Bridget walk on her heels, not toes. The braces are to strengthen her muscles and put her hips into better positions. Not having shoes that fit the AFO makes it almost a useless endeavor.
Until a friend told us about the BILLY Shoe. It’s freaking awesome and fashionable! The founders of BILLY are the first ones I have heard of to make fashion inclusive. To make it adaptable and functional and most importantly cool looking. This is the BILLY Shoe Bridget chose:
Isn’t it just cute? Does it not just scream Bridget? It is rainbow. It has stars. The only thing it is missing is sparkles!
Ordering was super simple. You can order thru Zappos or Amazon, and while expensive (I have never paid $55 for a pair of shoes before) there were free returns. Which was perfect since I ordered Bridget’s normal non-AFO size and didn’t take into account the space the AFO takes up. I returned them, got immediate credit and was resent the correct pair. Hint: Order two sizes too big.
The best thing, for the parents is the ease of use. No more struggling to fit the AFO into the shoe. We used to have to wrestle Bridget’s foot into the shoe with the brace. It made mornings unbearable. Now? Super easy:
The shoes are not perfect, they need to be reinforced on the sides because the buckles of the AFO wear the fabric out super-quick. We solved that problem by adding moleskin to cover the buckle. It would be nice if the makers could reinforce the sides as they get more popular. I am going to try the low-cut sneaker and see if that works a bit better. I like the high-top because it hides the AFO but it is nice to give Bridget some options.
The second issue is there are no sparkles. Okay that is really just a Bridget ask! But it would be nice if we could get cowboy boots or some other type of shoe rather than a high-top sneaker. It would be nice if there was a dress shoe. Though I am thankful enough for the cool sneakers I do not mind mixing them with her party dress.
The most important difficulty is that Bridget will size-out of the shoes. As of now they only go to size big-kid 6. Since Bridget is in a 3, I am thinking I have a few years. But there are other PACS1 children who are older and would love to have the stylish shoes. They do have some cool men shoes but that does not start until men’s size 8 and the woman shoes, well not to complain but they are not something a teen girl is going to want to wear.
The last issue, most important one is cost. I have never spent $50 on a pair of shoes in my life. Most family with children who have special needs do not have a lot of discretionary funds. To budget (and convince myself to go for it for Bridget) what I did was count up the number of times I had to replace the cheap-o shoes due to AFO abuse versus the cost of the BILLY sneakers. So far the first outlay was high but not having to replace the shoe a month in makes it worth it. Plus, I do not have to wrestle with Bridget to make a shoe work.
My hope would be as their brand grows, so does the BILLY selection.
In full disclosure, BILLY Footwear has not paid me for this review. In fact they not only did not ask, they don’t even know I’m a customer! If you know someone who might benefit from the shoe, I would give you the idea of a Zappos or Amazon gift card for them to try the shoes.
They a truly make a difficult morning just a bit easier.
Something all moms need.