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Top shoes to wear around farm with busted toesTop shoes to wear around farm with busted toes

Show-Me Life: My toe picks, not the figure skating kind, to save you the trouble and pain of cramming your foot into shoes that don’t work.

Mindy Ward

November 17, 2023

3 Min Read
Various styles of shoes in a pile on the floor
SEARCH THE PILE: It took me a few trials before finding the right shoe with enough room to handle two broken toes. Mindy Ward

I wish I had a better story. I wish it would go a little like this: “I was running a rugged course through trees — hitting back red, yellow and orange leaves in the Missouri hills — and one tiny miscalculation, one small misstep, and I hit a tree branch. I felt the sharp pain run through my toes, and in that instance, I knew they were broken.”

Sadly, I do not.

I fell down three carpeted stairs at my daughter’s house. Call it old age or lack of depth perception, but my version is way less exciting, but likely more common for many of us.

Farming and working off the farm never stop. So, in case you ever experience a broken toe or toes, you will need to wear shoes for support. It’s good to have options, and even better that my top choice is worn by aggies on a daily basis. I’m in style even with a limp.

Note: The doctor was gracious to offer a boot to which I replied, “I fell down the stairs barefoot; I’m not sure a large plastic thing on my foot would help.” Still, I had to get around the farm and my job.

So, I thought I’d share my experiences of the five shoes I tried with a purely scientific, not, ranking system. Here you go, from worst to best:

5. Flip flops. See, I thought since my toes were swollen this would allow them room to expand. However, there was no support, and they were hard to keep on. Every “flip” made me wince in pain. Hard pass.

4. Dress shoes. In week two, I attended a national conference that required a certain dress code. It was fall, so I opted for a suede bootie. First, I could not wear socks as it made the shoe too tight. I went sockless, which was better, but my toes were still pushed together. I let my ego get to me on this one. I should’ve opted for less formal attire and my top shoe choice. Instead, I limped around and had to explain myself all day.

3. Cowboy boots. In week one, I had to lead a farm tour through a dairy barn, mushroom facility and beef farm. There was a lot of walking, and my Justin Roper boots are my go-to. While I managed to get my foot inside, there was not enough space or cushion. My boots have a rounded toe, to be fair, perhaps a square toe would be better.

2. Tennis shoes. Admittedly, I have multiple pairs — walking, running, slip-on and casual Converse. I tried them all. The key was a large toe area with memory foam. These I wore in the house.

1. Twisted X driving moccasins. I should’ve known this would be my top choice because “Moc Toe” is in its description. That extra wide toe area provided just the room needed. I’ve stood many hours on concrete watching livestock shows in this shoe and have always been comfortable. This is the best shoe when farming or working.

There you have it. They tell me only two more weeks of healing, and then I’ll be back to my normal gait. I won’t be hitting that extreme running course though. I’ll start slow by simply walking while holding the handrail down the stairs.

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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