Foot-Friendly and Fashionable Series: Keeping Your Feet Happy


Welcome to Part 2 of my Foot-Friendly and Fashionable Series! In Part 1 I shared with you some cute summer sandals that you can actually walk all day in and not end up with sore feet.  Part 2 is all about how to keep your feet happy so you can keep on wearing cute shoes, conquering your world, and just plain being awesome.


This will be the first-ever Everyday Teacher Style guest post, and I’m super-excited to introduce you to Amanda Walrath, a physical therapist and fitness-slash-faith blogger at TempleTrain who’ll be sharing with you some ways to keep your feet happy in Part 2 of this series. Amanda and I go way back. I first met her at a hospital. No, she wasn’t working there…she was being born. Yep, Amanda’s my younger sister. She also happens to be the best physical therapist and fitness guru I know, so I’m thrilled to have her here letting us know how to keep our clod-hoppers in good working order.



Amanda Walrath, PT

Our feet are our foundation for supporting our entire body! Each foot sports 26 bones and over 100 muscles and ligaments.  Today I’m sharing a few tips and techniques you can use to protect your feet from injury and maintain general foot health. Keep in mind that to diagnose a specific foot issue, you should see your physician or other qualified health care professional.


Over-the-counter cushions and supports:

There are many over the counter options that can cushion and/or provide support to your feet and help them stay comfortable when walking or exercising. Two examples are arch supports and metatarsal pads. You may need a more custom orthotic as well.  YOUR HEALTH PROVIDER CAN HELP YOU DECIDE WHICH SUPPORTS WOULD GIVE YOU THE MOST BENEFIT.


For example, Jenny uses Spenco Total Support insoles in her fashion sneakers to provide support for walking, and they’re also great for working out if your running or training shoes’ built-in insoles are lacking. There are a variety of insoles for various foot needs.

Preventing & Treating Common Foot Issues

Here are a few tips to self-treat some common foot issues and keep your feet happy.


  • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds are hard on weight-bearing joints and cause extra stress.
  • Warm up before working out. This could be as simple as raising up and down on your toes 10-20 times or taking a short walk or slow jog.
  • Stretch before, during, and after a workout. Warm muscles stretch better than cold muscles, so save most intense stretches for when your muscles are warm.  (See standing calf stretch and Soleus Stretch below.) 
  • Wear well fitting shoes. Choose shoes with a wide toe box to maintain plenty of room for the toes. Toes should never be cramped or pushed together in shoes.
  • Strengthen the muscles of the foot with balance and intrinsic muscle exercises.  (See foot strengthening exercises below.)   : 1. balance with one foot on a Bosu ball, mini trampoline, or even a pillow or couch cushion. Try to hold for up to a minute. 2. Scrunch a towel with the toes, repeat 5 x toward you and 5 x away.  3. Pick up small items ( tissues) with your toes.

Standing Calf Stretch

Face and lean into a wall. Extend one leg back and keep leg straight and heel down. Gently lean forward until a stretch is felt in the back of the calf. Hold 20-30 seconds and repeat twice on each leg.

standing calf stretch and soleus stretch

Standing Calf Stretch (left) and Soleus Stretch (right)


Soleus Stretch

This stretch is similar to the standing calf stretch, except you slightly bend the back knee while maintaining your heel on the floor. The stretch will be felt lower in the calf and down into the heel.



Foot-Strengthening Exercises

A. Balance with one foot on a Bosu ball, mini trampoline, or even a pillow or couch cushion. Try to hold for up to a minute.

B. Scrunch a towel with the toes. Repeat 5 times toward you and 5 times away.

C. Pick up small items (tissues, etc.) with your toes.

foot strengthening exercises

Foot-Strengthening Exercises



If a foot injury occurs, remember RICE:  Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. A great icing technique for the foot is using a frozen water bottle to roll under the foot.


With a little extra attention to your “foot foundation,” your feet will be able to carry you through everything with style.

Tread on!



Read Part 1 in the Foot Friendly and Fashionable Series: Sandals

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. Clicking on this link (to the Spenco Insoles) may result in my earning a small commission. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Foot-Friendly and Fashionable Series: Sandals



Spring is just around the corner and I’m already dipping several toes, literally, into sandal season. Even though I love cute shoes, shoe shopping is always a love-hate activity for me. Not calling out either side of my genetic tree here, but y’all, I was not blessed with good feet. Here they are in all of their achy glory. :-/


My podiatric woes include…

  • Long feet: We’re talking pontoon-sized, y’all. I wear size 10.5 to 11 in most shoes. This wouldn’t be so bad if I were 6 feet tall, but at 5’5″, it’s a bit of an imbalance. This added length puts a lot of pressure on my forefoot and toe area.
  • Long toes: Especially my middle toe, which is longer than all of the rest. Whenever I toe off when walking, running, or jumping, this puts a lot of pressure on those middle toes, resulting in major soreness.
  • Bunions: Ugh. I didn’t know what bunions were until a few years ago when the bones beneath my big toes started to really stick out and ache. Google helped me self-diagnose them, but the doctor’s office confirmed that’s what they were. Fabulous.
  • Arthritis: I’ve had a few stress fractures in my forefeet over the years, mostly from running and adding mileage too quickly. They have healed, but they’ve left behind a little arthritis here and there.
  • Ankle pain: Okay, ankles aren’t feet, but because if my various foot issues, when I overdo it or wear the wrong shoes for too long, it also makes my ankles ache.


Because of all of these issues, I have to be really careful about what shoes I wear, especially if I’m going to wear them for a long day of classroom teaching or heavy duty walking around. Gone are the days when I could grab a pair of $10 shoes in “almost” my size off of the rack and wear them blissfully.


I’m sure I’m not the only one out there with foot issues, especially since they seem to multiply the older you get (or is that just my feet?). Having the fun foot problems I have now in my mid-40s makes me a little nervous about what they’ll be like as I get older, but hopefully if I take better care of them now, it won’t be THAT much worse, right? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. So that’s why I decided to do a series on shoes that won’t make things worse for feet — and that might even help them feel better. In today’s post I’ll be sharing some sandals that I’ve found over the years that make my feet feel good!


Features of Foot-Friendly Sandals

I’m not a podiatrist, but I have found the following features help my feet feel better at the end of a long day of walking.

  • Supportive and cushion-y foot bed
  • Thicker straps
  • Ergonomic shaped soles/foot bed
  • Flat style
  • Soft, non-stick foot bed
  • Good fit (no rubbing to cause blisters or cramping, no heel slipping, etc.)
  • Wiggle room in the toe box area (For me, that means absolutely no pointed toe shapes. Boo.)


Here are some brands I’ve had good luck with. I know most of these are really expensive shoes (well, for my budget anyway), but I have found investing in my feet is worth it since I have to be on them so much for my job. Sometimes I do find inexpensive sandals in other brands that have some or all of the above features, but it’s often hit and miss. With the brands below, I have been able to consistently find something that looks good and makes my feet happy.


1. Birkenstock

My all-time favorite most-comfortable-ever sandal has got to be the Birkenstock Arizona. I first discovered them back in college in the early 90s, and I was impressed that I could walk all over campus without any blisters, soreness, or achiness. Flash forward almost 30 years (yikes, really?) and I’m back to wearing them again. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I have 3 pairs of Birks, and I tend to add another pair once every couple of years. The great thing is, these babies never wear out ((a) they’re very durable, and (b) you can get parts replaced) so I’ll probably be wearing them for another 30 years at least. I’ve been wearing the silver ones below for going on 6 years now. I hope these shoes never go out of style because they are the best for my feet.


Shop My Birks

There are so many other cute styles of Birkenstocks besides the Arizona now, too. I love the Arizona because that’s the look I like, but there are plenty of ways to mix it up with Birkenstock. And if you love the Arizonas like me, keep an eye out each spring for new colors and patterns. Check out these Spring 2018 Arizonas in “spectral platinum”!

arizona birkenstock spectral platinum


2. Ugg

This is another brand where you might think boots, but several years ago I got a pair of Uggs espadrille wedges at a huge discount and I was amazed at how comfortable they were. The wedges were not super-high: probably only a few inches. What I loved was the fur insoles: they had cushion and comfort, and my feet didn’t slide around at all. As you can see these espadrilles need to be replaced (they’re over 10 years old now!!), but I’m waiting until I can find another pair that’s in my price range. Let me know if you find any at good prices!

ugg espadrille wedges

Shop My Uggs

These sandals are so old you can’t even get them anymore, but here are a couple of newer ones that are really cute and look comfortable.

ugg traci espadrille wedge

Ugg Traci Espadrille Wedge


Ugg Clio Pom Pom Slides


Ugg Maryssa Lace-Up Sandal

Ugg Maryssa Lace-Up Sandal


Ugg marleah flat sandal

Ugg Marleah Flat Sandals


Ugg Zoe wedge

Ugg Zoe Wedge Sandals with Tassels


3. Kork-Ease

I was too young to have worn Kork-Ease sandals when they first hit the scene in the 60s, but I’ve been wearing them for teaching for the past 20 years. They’re not as ergonomic as some of the options above, but they’re very lightweight and give you a little height without all of the change in elevation that can put pressure on your tootsies in many wedges. They’re not the most comfortable sandal on my list here, but they are definitely my go-to when I need a bit of height and don’t want the pain of heels or harsh wedges. And despite the fact that they’re a bit pricey, they do last. I’ve had the cork material Ava platforms you see below for about 10 years, and the black gladiator ones for at least 8 now.

jenny's kork-ease sandals

Shop My Kork-Ease Sandals

The black gladiator sandals aren’t available anymore, but the cork ones (called “Ava”) are.

Here are some other cute Kork-Ease sandals available now.

kork-ease austin sandal

Kork-Ease Austin Slingback wedge


kork-ease doughty

Kork-Ease Doughty in Metallic


Kork-Ease Nara in Etiope (Brown)


Kork-Ease Myrna 2.0 in Metallic


4. Target

Target? Really? Yes! Now I’m definitely not saying ALL sandals from Target will be comfortable for problem-riddled feet, but I am saying I have found a few pairs of Target sandals over the years that I can wear comfortably to teach and walk all day in. Again, these aren’t going to be as supportive or cushiony as Birks or Uggs, but they are a great budget alternative that you could purchase more frequently as trends come and go if you’re careful to choose options with some of the comfort features listed above. Here are a few that I can wear all day without any trouble.

jen's target sandals

Shop My Target Sandals (clockwise from far right)

Then here are some other cute Target sandals available now.

Universal Thread Agnes Quarter Strap Espadrille


Mad Love Tahilia in Tan


target ava espadrille

Ava Shield Espadrille Platform Sandals in Cognac


target kerryn universal thread footbed sandal

Universal Thread Kerryn Footbed Sandal in Cognac


Brands I’ve heard are good, but haven’t tried personally:

1. Sorel

I first discovered that my feet liked Sorels when I got a pair of Sorel boots (the Sorel Lolla ankle boot) a few years ago and was amazed at how great they felt. You don’t usually think of sandals when you think Sorel, but they have a of cute options and several people I know have told me the sandals are just as comfortable as the boots. I’ve tried several on, but haven’t had it in my budget yet to actually buy any. Sorel sandals will be my next pair when the time comes, though. Here are some I’ve been eyeing.

Sorel Ella Sandal

Sorel Ella Slip-On Sandal in Natural


sorel joanie wedge

Sorel Joanie Lace Wedge Sandal


2. Vionic

I have never owned any Vionic shoes, but friends have told me they are the ultimate in comfort sandals that still look cute. They have orthotic footbeds and/or insoles and are often shaped to support arches and heels well. I can’t personally speak to the comfort of these, but I’ve heard great things. Have you owned a pair of Vionics? What did you think?

vionic maris wedge sandal

Vionic Maris Wedge Sandal


vionic lonny backstrap sandal

Vionic Lonny Backstrap Sandal


What are your favorite foot-friendly brands/styles?

I would LOVE to discover new brands of sandals that don’t hurt my feet! Please leave a comment if you’ve had good experiences with particular brands or types of sandals. Always looking for new options!


Next in this series: Tips from a physical therapist on keeping your feet happy



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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on these links may result in my earning a small commission or referral fee. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.


Evereve Trendsend #4: Winter into Spring


Today I’m sharing my most recent style box from Evereve’s styling service, TrendsendEvereve is one of my favorite stores for so many reasons: on-trend and flattering styles, great brands, tempting sales, and hands-down the best salespeople I’ve ever encountered. At every Evereve store I’ve visited, the salespeople make an effort not just to help you find what you’re looking for, but something that beats your expectations. They are knowledgeable about fabrics and cuts, they know what looks good on various body styles, and they have usually tried on just about every product they sell so they can give great advice about fit and styling tips. So when I found out that Evereve stores had a subscription-type styling service (like Stitch Fix), I jumped right on board and have had great experiences with it every time.


With Trendsend, you can do a one-time box or set up a subscription. I have my subscription set up to send me a box once every 3 months. The way it works is you fill out a style profile so their stylists can get to know your style and preferences, and then you pay a $1 (that’s right, just $1!) fee and they send you three separate outfits to try on. You return what you don’t want and buy what you do, and shipping is free both ways. It’s that simple. They do now have a referral program, so if any of your friends sign up you get 20% off of your next Trendsend order.


Here’s what I received in this fourth box. *These prices reflect the 20% referral discount I received when one of my friends tried Trendsend.

Outfit 1

  • Articles Of Society – Stephanie Skinny with Step Hem ($54.40)
  • Rd Style – Lace Back Swing Sweater ($54.40)
  • Thirty Nine 42 – Rose Gold Bead Statement Earring ($25.60)


This sweater was really calling my name. I tried to take a few photos so you could see how ADORABLE the bottom edge and back were. I didn’t end up getting it only because it’s more of a date night sweater and not something I could wear to school. Not that I don’t do date nights — it’s just that the date nights my husband I have tend to be casual movie-dinner nights. But now looking at this sweater again and remembering how soft and chic it was, I really wish I had bought it. The Articles of Society jeans fit really well and the step hem was so on-trend. And these earrings! I really, really wanted to keep them but they were a little too heavy for me. I’m really picky about having lightweight earrings: if there is the slightest feeling of drag, I’m out.

rd style lace back swing sweater

In the photo above I brightened it up a lot so you can see the back detailing. The sweater is actually very true black and my photo makes it look washed out: that’s my poor photography, not the sweater. 🙂

thirty nine 42 rose gold bead statement earring

And here’s a close-up of these stunning earrings. They are absolutely beautiful!



  • Free People – Dream Away Bralette ($30.40)
  • Rd Style – Off-Shoulder Sweater ($62.40)

rd style off shoulder sweater free people lace bralette

The color of this sweater was gorgeous: it’s something you could wear in winter and also on into spring. It was so soft and incredibly flattering. And I’ve never worn a bralette before, but seeing this one I “got” why people do. The creamy white lace straps looked gorgeous peeking out of the off-shoulder sweater. The best thing about this bralette was that you could wear a real bra beneath it if you wanted to. I would want to: there’s not much to hold anything up in the bralette itself. ‘Nuf said.



  • Peyton Jensen – Suede Skirt (15.99)
  • Peyton Jensen – Destructed Ruffle Sweater (54.40)
  • Braeve – Levi Embroidered Pullover ($62.40)

peyton jensen suede skirt destructed ruffle sweater braeve levi embroidered pullover

These pieces were all so comfortable and cute! The destructed sweater had a pretty ruffle and the distressed parts gave it some edge and kept it from being too fussy. The “suede” skirt was stretchy and very soft. You could make it casual, professional, or even dressy, and at $15.99 it was such a steal. Then as you can see the embroidered pullover has the perfect blend of casual style and, well, embroidery! Embroidery was huge last summer and fall, and it’s still going strong into this spring season. It would be a pretty safe bet that we’ll still be seeing it this summer.


All of these pieces were ones that you could wear together or mix and match into your existing wardrobe, and all of them are ones you could wear in winter and still be wearing on into spring. True to Evereve, they were all extremely comfortable and flattering, too!  I didn’t end up buying any of these pieces, but I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t keep a few things. Part of the problem was I didn’t want to spend the money to buy it all, but I also couldn’t decide which pieces were my favorite. I really liked them all! Just look at these pretty colors and textures:

Evereve Trendsend Review


As you can see, my stylist, Paula, from the Des Peres, MO (St. Louis area), Evereve store is amazing. She has styled all of my Trendsend boxes so far, and they have all been fabulous! Check them out if you’re interested: Trendsend #1, Trendsend 2#, Trendsend #3.


If you are looking for a fun, no-risk styling experience, this is it. I highly recommend giving Trendsend a try! I still also receive Stitch Fixes, and from time to time I experiment with other styling services (Wantable, etc.). I’ve been thinking about trying Fabletics because I’m obsessed with cute workout clothes.

I’d love to hear your experience with Fabletics — or other services, for that matter! Which services have you tried and what are your thoughts?

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NOTE: This post contains referral links. Clicking on the Trendsend links may result in my earning a 20% discount on my next Trendsend box. If you do sign up for Trendsend via my links, thank you!