sensory sensitivities and shoes graphicI talk about products I like all the time, but today I’m going to give you a deal on a pair of shoes for people who can’t stand shoes. You may have noticed, I don’t usually do brand partnerships or product promotions. I’m honestly so in love with these shoes I wanted to make it easier for you all to try them.

To that end, let’s talk about ADHD, sensory sensitivities, and the wardrobe nightmares these things create for us. Then I’ll give you a coupon code for a pair of barefoot sandals, which I swear I forget I’m wearing half the time. For me, that’s saying a lot.

ADHD, sensory sensitivities, and wardrobe strife

Dr. Wes Crenshaw opens Chapter 10 of his book, I Always Want to Be Where I’m Notwith a charming story about a patient who yanked off her bras as soon as she walked in the door and scattered them all over the house. “It’s common for ADD kids to be sensitive,” he says, “to irritations, tags, bras, noise, [etc.]”

Though the area needs more study, sensory processing problems are more common in people with ADHD. Certain sounds — or just too much sound — may grind your gears. Or maybe you insist on the highest thread-count sheets because everything else is too scratchy.

The quest for the perfect shoe: seen and not felt


I’ve always taken issue with shoes. If you mention the phrase “inappropriate footwear” to anyone in my immediate family, you’ll see what I mean.

I spent a lot of time barefoot as a kid, listened to frequent warnings from my mother about how I was going to hurt my feet if I didn’t get shoes with better support, and wore flip flops to work even as a post-college grown-up.

I eventually discovered Vibram FiveFingers, which felt more comfy than shoes that boxed in my toes.

Then I found Gladsoles. They’re barefoot sandals suited for hiking, running, yoga, walking around town, and everything in between. Every pair is unique and custom cut to your foot’s size and shape. I bought a pair before our Florida vacation this spring and haven’t worn another pair of shoes since (except to mow the lawn, when I wear my FiveFingers).

When I walk in my Gladsoles, it’s like being barefoot. I can feel every bump in the road, and — unlike flip flops — they stay secure on my feet without any toe-curling or yucky blisters.

Disclaimer: there’s been a lot of debate over whether barefoot shoes are actually good for your feet. I don’t 100% endorse barefoot shoes like Vibram FiveFingers because I’ve hurt my feet in them, though I don’t know how. GladSoles are different. I’m going to give them my biggest possible endorsement: they’re the only shoes that haven’t left me with sore feet after a day at Disney World. Not only were my feet not sore, I came home and said to myself, you know, I feel like I could take a walk.

Try GladSoles at a discount

If you don’t like the feel of shoes on your feet, give GladSoles a try. They’re a small company dedicated to making your feet happy. Men, women, and children alike can make GladSoles work for them by learning new ties and mixing and matching lace and lock colors.

I’m sensitive to the fact that many ADHD’ers struggle with money. Custom-cut sandals can feel kind of extravagant at a price point of $50 or more, so I reached out to the owner of GladSoles and asked how I could lessen the cost for my readers.

I’m super pleased to offer you 17% off your order at by entering the coupon code ADHDHOMESTEAD at checkout. If your relationship with shoes has been as troubled as mine, I hope this helps you free your feet!

Update 7/6/2016: Over a year later, I still love my GladSoles. I wear my FiveFingers in the colder months, for running, and whenever I need closed-toe shoes. For everything else, the GladSoles have it. They go everywhere with me.

I found my original pair needed frequent adjustment/retying, and one of the laces eventually tore through the sole. I ordered a new pair and tried to be more careful with my foot tracing. My new GladSoles fit much more securely and have held up great.

To that end, I recommend taking extra care to trace your foot accurately. It can make the difference between an okay experience and a shoe that feels like part of your foot.

My new pair is the GladSoles Eco, made from upcycled tires. I love the idea of this, and the sandal has an excellent grip.

Have you found a favorite pair of barefoot/minimalist shoes? I’d love to hear all about them, especially if you have suggestions for the winter!