Tonya’s trends: step-by-step guide to festive footwear with Parkinson’s


Author: Tonya WalkerPublished: 7 December 2016

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Guest fashion blogger and Parkinson’s campaigner Tonya Walker returns in time for Christmas with her guide to enjoying the festive period, what party shoes to wear and how to wear them – without interfering with your balance

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? It can also be the most challenging time – holiday shopping, parties, and the stress associated with these things can be challenging for our bodies. All those cocktail parties and shopping excursions mean a lot of time on your feet, so choosing the right footwear is crucial during the holiday season.

I’ve had a love for fashion and for shoes my whole life and was very disappointed when my balance was affected and I wasn’t able to wear my beloved high heels for years. After deep brain surgery on the right side on of my brain in August 2013, I regained my balance and was able to wear all my shoes again.

Here are some suggestions to keep your feet comfortable without sacrificing style over the festive period.

A little flat, but not boring
To dress up the look for a holiday party consider an embellished flat like this pair from Lindsay Phillips. They feel pillow-soft like bedroom slippers and won’t restrict if you experience dystonia in the feet and ankle muscles. The ‘snap’ on the toe of the shoe is interchangeable, so you can vary your look. Or, you can always go with a classic pair from Tory Burch.

A kitten in the mix
If you don’t normally wear heels, but would like to this holiday season, a kitten heel (5mm/0.19” in width) is a great option. It will give you a little height and shouldn’t interfere with your balance. This Mary Jane shoe from Rockport is a great option. Bonus: the vino colour is on-trend this autumn/winter season.


Stay chunky
Block heels, loafers, and boots will all help with stability and are available in a variety of heights.

The sky is the limit
If you are feeling up for it and want to bust out a stiletto, look for one that has proper support and cushioning, as these help absorb the impact of your foot striking the ground. These slingbacks from Ilene Berg Shoes, or this pair of super-hot booties are fashion-forward options.

The fit and flare dress featured below is from Closet London. I love the bell sleeves and colour, and it’s versatile enough to be worn during the holidays and beyond.


‘The Shoe Maven’

Tonya Walker has been living with Parkinson’s disease since the age of 32 and had DBS surgery on her left side in 2013 and then on her right in 2015. She created ‘The Shoe Maven’ fashion blog in 2015, started up her own fashion label called TSM Originals in aid of The Michael J Fox Foundation. Tonya is a passionate advocate for increased awareness of young-onset Parkinson’s and loves shoes. She lives in Florida, US, with her husband and young son, where she is also a law professor.

Read more: Tonya’s trends: timing is everything when managing Parkinson’s symptoms

Tonya’s trends: ‘off the shoulder’ – a low-slung look on the up

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