With all the obstacles one faces in a day, shoes should never be one of them. They ought to be simple, easy, comfortable, and the finishing touch to one’s outfit. Oftentimes, that’s just not the case for many individuals and their families. Until now. Friendly Shoes provides a functional solution to a myriad of barriers created by age-related, neurological, or physical challenges with a discreet and unique zipper technology. Created by Occupational Therapist Joseph DiFrancisco, Friendly Shoes offers two zipper options for their customers that are based upon years of clinical experience assisting pediatrics to geriatrics. The placement of these zippers is paramount to those with dexterity issues, low grip strength, paralysis, arthritis, and bending difficulties; and allows for quick and easy on/off.
Adaptive Friendly Shoe Options
A rear zipper option is featured on the brand’s mid-top sneakers and begins on the medial side of the shoe, stretching below the ankle in a curved manner. When opened, the rear zipper creates a massive entry portal for the wearer to slip into, and the zipper can be closed while seated or standing. The sneakers do have laces to adjust for additional depth and tension control across the instep, but most users simply adjust them the first time they wear the shoes and never fuss with them again. They enter/exit through the shoes by way of the zipper.
A front zipper option is featured on multiple lower profile sneakers and is again placed on the medial side of the shoe, however the zipper starts near the tongue and reaches down the front of the shoe towards the toes. This allows the upper to be folded over and the wearer to place their foot or step down into the shoe before zipping them closed. There are styles with laces and without, with the same tension and depth variation the rear zipper sneakers offer.
Both the rear and front zippers have been exceedingly practical for kids and adults alike, allowing for greater independence and giving caregivers a break from the struggle of putting shoes on in a traditional manner. All of the shoes Friendly creates feature removable memory foam insoles to accommodate custom orthotics and most AFO/SMO (the toe boxes and uppers are wider and deeper than most shoes on the market, all shoes coming in a standard E width with a few adults styles now available in double wide). The interiors are sensory friendly with smooth linings and some of the insoles provide additional cushioning through the heel, arch, and metatarsal. All of Friendly’s mobility shoes are slip-resistant as well to mitigate fall risk and encourage greater mobility.
Disabled-friendly shoes with more style
But the best part? Friendly Shoes look nothing like the corrective footwear of yesteryear. They’re stylish. The adult sneakers are available in wear-with-anything neutrals with a sprinkling of fun pops of color, while the kids are cheerful and bright with touches of shimmery glitter or metallic thread. They’re perfect for every member of the family, regardless of where they may fall on the handicapable spectrum. Siblings can all wear the same shoes and inclusivity among their peers is possible (goodbye, velcro!). Perfect for pregnant mothers whose feet may swell and when bending becomes a thing of the past, fantastic for jetsetters when passing through TSA, and ideal for seniors and grandparents where every second counts.
When the time comes to get a new pair of shoes, give Friendly a try and see the differences they can make in your, or a loved ones, life.