Six-year-old Lucy Olynick loves her new shoes.
The Gr. 1 student has been showing them off to her classmates since she bought them at Brainsport last month. The shoes are sparkly, which Lucy thinks is awesome. But what makes them really special is they have a zipper that allows the shoes to completely open up so Lucy can slide her feet in easily even though she wears ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs).
Lucy was born with clubfeet and used to wear casts and braces. In early October she had surgery to correct her condition and was fitted with AFOs so her feet will be kept flat while she heals.
Carrie Olynick, Lucy’s mom, says Lucy will wear her AFOs for about a year.
When Carrie knew her daughter would need AFOs she started looking online to see what type of footwear would accommodate someone with feet that won’t bend at the ankle. She stumbled upon BILLY Footwear, an American company that specializes in adaptive footwear. Their shoes have zippers that go along the side and around the toe, allowing the shoe to be completely opened up so the foot can be placed straight in without the ankle having to bend.
“We had found them online and Lucy had looked through and picked out the ones she liked best, but then when we went to try to order them it was just a bit too expensive,” Carrie said.
Between the shipping costs and currency conversion rate, the shoes were prohibitively costly to order online and Carrie didn’t know what they would do. But after Lucy had her surgery, a woman who was in the waiting room while Lucy was getting her AFOs mentioned that Brainsport might have a solution for a hard-to-fit foot.
Carrie and Lucy drove to the store and learned it had just started carrying BILLY Footwear in October.
According to the BILLY website, Brainsport is the only Canadian location where the footwear is sold.
Lucy slipped her feet into the shoes and zipped them on — all by herself.
Lucy has been in her new shoes for about three weeks now and Carrie says the best part is how little grief they cause.
“Since her post-op casts have come off, Lucy has been very sensitive and anxious regarding things touching and moving her feet,” Carrie said. “These are so perfect because they allow us to put her shoes on without having to manipulate her feet or put pressure on them at all — Something we are all grateful for.”
— Andrea Hill (Editor, Brainsport Times)