Dear Izzy is an anonymous advice column that offers solutions to everyday challenges for people with vision loss.
I just returned from an afternoon shopping extravaganza in downtown Vancouver. On return home I was horrified to discover that I had two different colour shoes on! I was so embarrassed. Do you have any suggestions so this never happens again?
One Foot, Two Foot, Red Foot, Blue Foot
Dear One Foot, Two Foot, Red Foot, Blue Foot
This is a very easy mistake to make if you have reduced vision, especially if there is more than one pair of shoes in your closet that are similar. I would suggest keeping your shoes grouped in matching pairs. This can be done in several ways, for example: a hanging shoe organizer or shelves with dividers or clipping your matching shoes together with a clothes pin immediately after taking them off. If the shoes have laces, the laces can be loosely looped together to keep the shoes matched.
Another way to keep your shoes organized is to mark the shoes with tactile or coloured markings that enable you to match the pairs using vision or touch. One way to do this is using electrical or hockey tape. You can cut the tape in matching shapes (e.g. triangles, squares, circles). Apply the tape to the inside of each shoe of the matching set. The tape can be placed in the same area where your heel makes contact with the insole of the shoe. If you can't see the tape, you should be able to feel the shape of the tape. Don't forget that electrical and hockey tape comes in various colours that you might be able to see (e.g. neon pink or yellow).
Additional tips include minimizing the number of shoes in your closet. If you no longer wear a particular pair of shoes, get rid of them. You could keep your summer shoes in a different closet or in a storage box. You can then cycle your shoes just as you do with your summer and winter wardrobes. If you have more than one shelf for your shoes, try grouping the shoes. For example, your black shoes can be on the upper shelf and your brown shoes on the lower shelf.
You may want to avoid buying identical-style shoes in different colours. Being organized is the key, but you should also get into the habit of taking a moment to feel your shoes carefully before you put them on your feet! If you would like to learn additional tips for clothing identification, please contact your local CNIB office. Good Luck!
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