I am in desperate need some new sneakers*, and I'm not quite sure where to start. I have some ever so slightly unique needs that make me unsure of what I should be looking for. You see, my feet have some permanent joint damage from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I have fibromyalgia, I'm always fighting pain, especially with the job I have right now, where I'm on my feet for at least three or four hours every day (but closer to 7 hours on days like today). This week in particular has made me extremely aware that Converse just aren't gonna cut it.
I saw a podiatrist a couple of years ago, and he informed me that my arches are falling and that I have a fair amount of pronation going on. He told me I would need to find good, supportive shoes that would help with the pronation and support my arches.** Unfortunately, I can't remember exactly what he told me I should be looking for in a good pair of sneakers, which is why I'm turning to the brilliant hive mind that is Groupthink.
At this point, I don't need really run or do much vigorous exercise that requires sneakers. (That may, however, change in the near-ish future, so if the shoes happen to work both for my immediate needs, as well as for working out someday, that'd be great.) As I mentioned, I'm on my feet a significant amount of time at work, so I need some that are good for lots of standing and walking at work (and mostly on hard, hard granite or cement), as well as for walking the dogs, running errands, and all that jazz. Also, since I'm just 26, I would like to avoid the typical senior citizen-type shoes—you know the ones, just plain, boring black or white obviously orthopedic shoes. (No shoe-shaming intended—they're just not for me!)
Do any of you have any recommendations about how I should start my search? What categories should I be browsing (Training, Casual, Walking, Running, Athletic, Lifestyle...)? What are some of the specific features of a good shoe (for me and my ❄ special snowflake ❄ feet) that I should be looking for? Are there any key terms I should be scanning for in descriptions? Does anyone have any great brands they might recommend? (Hell, while we're on the topic, does anyone know of any great brands for supportive flats to wear in an atmosphere somewhere between business and business casual?)
Also, does anyone have any shoe store suggestions? Should I trust that the people working in mall stores like Foot Locker/Lady Foot Locker and Champs know enough to help me find the right shoes, go by DSW and trust them, or should I be seeking out some other sort of store?
*I feel very odd calling the type of shoes I'm looking for "sneakers." Everyone around here (Texas) calls them "tennis shoes," but I figured that might be a bit confusing for people in other regions, and I'm definitely not British enough to call them "trainers" or something.
**I'm probably going to go back to the podiatrist again at some point, once I get my insurance, to get the specially made insoles to slip into my shoes to provide even more support. Unfortunately, that won't be for a couple more months, so I need something to make due in the mean time.
(Apologies for how long this was!)