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Accessible Footwear For Feet of all Shapes & Sizes
Ridgways, A Home of Supportive Fitting since 1820
Ridgways: We're Autism-Friendly!
Here at Ridgways Shoes we understand that public spaces can feel threatening and isolating to some people, and shopping can be even more so. Our aim is to help alleviate this stress and worry that you may encounter when you visit us looking for new footwear!
And, following the National Autistic Society's guidelines we would like to extend a helping hand for those who need it, as well as use this webpage to provide useful information and enhance any and everybody's experience with us to be a great one!
In terms of our store's visual appearance, we would consider our store to be rather stimulating, as our shelves are full of stock and we've a large amount of displays that consist of a variety of footwear, we understand that this may be distracting or disorientating to some which is why our Quiet Room is very plain, with nothing but the chairs, fitting stools and a small table to avoid a visual overload.
We never have music in-store, nor do we use tannoys. But our tills do beep, however it is not too often, and when they do they are not too loud or intrusive and can barely be heard from the other sections of our store. If the crowds are too much or the shop floor is still too noisy we would recommend asking about our Quiet Room!
Please note: as it is a public space, sometimes Market Musicians will play outside of our shop, often the noise is muffled but depending on the style of music it may be somewhat audible from our Quiet Room and/or the main shop.
Also, please be aware that we sporadically perform a test of our Fire Alarms via Fire Drills. These will occur within the first couple hours of our working day on a Saturday (Between 9-11am)
We do understand that some can be more sensitive than others when it comes to being in contact with certain materials, and this can be quite an issue if it is something that you need to wear. The combination of socks and shoes is a well known source of discomfort as your feet undergo strenuous use every day and shoes need to be the right size and synergise with both the socks being worn and the activity being performed, and it has to have the right toe-box to match your foot's shape. If these conditions aren't met then your feet will probably be upset, regardless of your skin's sensitivity.
Fortunately we stock a large selection of footwear for all sorts of uses and available in a wide array of material types. For example, we host a lot of shoes made of different types of leather, examples of some of these different leathers being: Top Grain / Full Grain / Waxed / Oiled / Patent / Synthetic. We also host shoes made out of other materials such as Satin / Felt / Wool and different Rubbers, so we're sure we can find something that matches the needs of your feet!
Just be sure to bring a pair of socks that will often be worn with this new footwear to ensure there will be no issues, of course these socks should be the right size for your feet and the right level of thickness depending on the temperature you will be wearing them in and the activities you are most likely to engage in. We would also recommend you arrive in the late afternoon if you can, since this is when feet are the biggest, as they swell during the day, and you can see the actual impact of the footwear's material(s) on your feet and whether they will be an issue or not.
To maintain the high quality of our footwear we utilise shoe care sundries (the same that we sell in-store) These can have quite a strong smell when used, fortunately the smell doesn't linger for too long on the footwear that it was used on, and we will always perform these maintenance tasks in a room separate from the shop floor or our Quiet Room.
We don't perform these tasks very often, only when required to. So the chances of being provided a shoe that could be an issue is extremely minimal.
However most of our stock has been tried on by previous customers and we can't guarantee someone with a strong sense of smell will not be able to notice this.
Our store is split into three sections at three varying heights. The main entrance will take you to the Ladies' section, the highest level of our shop, and this is where you will find our tills and the majority of our staff and customers.
Connected to the Ladies' section is the Children's section, whilst there is sometimes an overflow of Ladies' footwear on this section during the busier seasons, you will mostly find customer's looking for children's shoes here- if you visit us during school hours this section will be quite quiet!
And connected to the Children's section, opposite of the Ladies' section, is the Men's section. The lowest level of our store; this section is furthest from the tills and from the majority of customers and staff. It's often quieter here. Our Quiet Room is located above the Men's section.
Does your child need a calm and / or quiet space whilst you shop?
Well you'll be just fine shopping with us, as we've renovated one of our rooms into an autism-friendly quiet room tucked away from the hustle and bustle of our shop floor!
Plus, no appointments necessary, walk-ins are totally acceptable! Just approach one of our friendly members of staff and let them know that you would like to use our quiet room! Although if you do send us an email in advance with the time you'll be shopping with us we can reserve the room for you!
* Unfortunately, the room is located up a small flight of stairs. Meaning that it is unfortunately not wheelchair / pushchair accessible, but we can safely store your pushchair off of shop floor whilst you are using the room if necessary. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but we encourage you to come in anyways and we'll try our best to meet your needs!
Feet of all shapes and sizes welcome here!
We understand not all feet are the same; they can be wide, they can be small, they can be deep and they can be tall, and we haven't even mentioned the different types and shapes of toes and their needed toeboxes! But with the wide range of footwear that we host we are certain we can find something that'll feel great all day long!
We also recognise that information on foot health wasn't as readily available like it is nowadays and that back in that time some shoes weren't really made with the wearer's future health in mind and this has led to lasting damage on not only your feet but your posture as well, because of the lack of information that cobblers had when they were making all those shoes.
Things such as Bunions, Weak Arches, Hammer Toes and other similar issues can make finding the right pair of shoes a difficult and arduous task, but here at Ridgways we have a strong selection of footwear with aplenty that has been specifically designed with these ailments in mind as well as the average shoe that we professionally fit for your feet that will provide that comfortable fit that you deserve! Give us a visit and we are sure we'll find something that works for you!
If you are currently suffering from any variety of foot fungus, we will unfortunately have to refuse you from wearing any of our stock, as these fungi can be contagious and they will happily reside in the foot-bed of our footwear after you try them on and will then multiply in the dank conditions of this footwear. So for the safety of our customers and staff as well as the protection of our stock we request that you do not attempt to wear any of our stock if you are currently having any fungus-related issues.
Socks will not prevent the fungus from spreading, please do not risk everyone's health by hiding it. Let us know before you try any of our products on and we'll do our best to help you.