Blog - Dr. Tammy Gracen BSc. DPM

Shopping For Pump – Next! Part 2

Pictures taken at J walk Shoes – Oakridge Mall, Vancouver

International (Made in Japan)

Reasonably good grip on heel and not too much squeeze in toe box. Nice heel height (1 1/2”).

2” heel. Nice fit and really good for bunions. The fabric over the bunion area gives to allow extra room.

Vaneli Dank Cap Toe Pump

I was not able to find where these shoes are made but they are distributed by Wolff Shoe Co. These also have a nice fit in the heel and toe box. The heel is about 2 1/4” high and the shoe nicely padded. They were just slightly shallow for my high arched foot but would work well for a mild flat foot,

Also available at:


Beautifeel (Made in Israel)

These may be my new favourite brand of pumps! They have an all around good fit and comfortable foot bed. The heels all feel stable.


I love these!! The heel fits snugly. The toe box is adequate. The heel is very stable and measures 2 1/2”. The foot bed is comfortably cushioned. These are definitely my number one contender. These would likely fit well for bunions.

Also available at:

Best available price at Amazon




These were also surprisingly comfortable. The heel height is 2 3/4”, slightly higher than I would normally wear, but they really didn’t feel that high nor did I feel unstable, even with the narrower heel. I didn’t like the fit quite as much as I liked the Calla, but it was still worth considering and a strong second choice. These would probably work well with bunions.

Best available price at Amazon



Fizz Reen (Made in Japan)

This a brand I had never heard of and could find little information on other than it comes from Japan. The heel height was 1 1/2” and was stable the straps were not binding and I felt secure in the shoe. I would have liked slightly more coverage on the sides. These may be a problem for bunions but would be good for a dorsal bunion (bump at the top of the big toe joint.

Shoe Adventures in New Orleans

Shoe Adventures in New Orleans

I was at a conference in New Orleans recently and couldn’t resist a little shoe shopping. (Window shopping…my husband will be glad to know!) I stumbled across a really fun shoe store in the French Quarter call ShoeBeeDo. They had a couple of interesting brands which I had not come across before.

United Nude is a shoe company out of Amsterdam. Above are some examples. In general, the shoes are well thought out and structurally sound. There are many with heel heights just below 2 1/2 “ (my happy zone). Many have enough coverage of the instep that you could add an arch pad or a slim orthotic if necessary. They make both leather and vegan options in the same styles.

The Zink Pump Mid was one of my favourites!

The other interesting one I found was by Julian Hakes of London , architect and shoe designer. These crazy pumps are made of carbon fibre and lined with polyurethane. I tried them on for sport and was surprised. They weren’t as uncomfortable as I expected. Actually, the heel felt comfortable and stable. However, my rigid high arched foot did not do well against the rigid upper. I think a neutral foot might be able to pull these off! I did have to size down a bit in these (1/2 to 1 full size).

If you’re in New Orleans, ShoeBeeDo is well worth a visit.


United Nude

Julian Hakes
available at ShoeBeeDo or on Amazon

Women’s Summer Sandal Podiatrist Recommendations

I was at The Bay in downtown Vancouver and shot a video of what to look for when buying Women’s summer sandals.

Here are some higher-end options I found while at Nordstrom in Vancouver.

Support Stockings and Summer

Support Stockings and Sandals

A frequent complaint I hear from some of my patients is that because they wear support (compression) stockings, they can’t wear sandals in the summer. There is, however a way around this problem. Some support stockings are open in the toe. These can be worn with a peep toed shoe. You get the look of a summer shoe and still hide the stockings! Some examples are toe 1open toe 2open toe 3

How to Make Your Sandal Perfect!

So, you can’t find your perfect sandal….don’t sweat it. There are may shoes out there that can, with a bit of magic (also known as the help of a good shoe repair shop) be made into something very workable. The easiest starting point is a flat or gladiator sandal. These always look like they’re going to be comfortable and then you try to spend the day walking in them and find out otherwise.

There are generally two problems with flat sandals that can be easily remedied. The first is the heel height. If you remember from earlier posts, flats cause an accentuation of pronation motion. I generally suggest a ¾ inch heel elevation relative to forefoot. This can be done by adding the necessary amount to the existing heel of a traditional sandal or by adding a wedge to a gladiator style flat. Something to keep in mind when adding a heel , try bending the sandal first to see if it is flexible enough to accommodate the extra height. It is far easier to add to the heel than to subtract. (When you subtract heel, you are likely to upset the balance of the shoe).

The next issue is actually ridiculously simple to remedy. Most flat sandals (and other flat shoes in general) don’t have any support in the arch. An arch pad (also known as an arch cookie…so cute, right!) can be purchased from most good shoe repair shops and added to the instep. If your sandal straps are in the right place (see previous general sandal blog), no one will ever know the pad is there.

I am including a couple of examples. The black sandal is by Michael Kors and was purchased at Browns shoe store. A half inch was added to the heel which originally measured ¼ inch. Also, a leather and sponge arch pad was added. The shoe work was done at The Quick Cobbler in Vancouver.

The second shoe was done a couple of years ago so I can’t remember where I purchased it. A ¾ inch wedge heel was added as well as an arch pad to make it very wearable. The shoe was originally completely flat.

green sandal

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Contact Info

Dr. Tammy Gracen BSc. DPM
Phone: (604) 734-7331
Fax: (604) 737-1146
#530-943 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4E1

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