You might be more familiar with Joseph Bird by his Instagram name @cptruths. Over the past few years, this disability influencer’s online following has (quite rightly!) exploded as he gives a daily glimpse into life with cerebral palsy. From weight lifting to carrying pans of boiling water, Joe is proving that nothing can get in his way.
He’s been a fan of Friendly Shoes since we launched in the UK, having previously struggled to find footwear that fitted and that he was proud to wear – check out Joe getting on with our easy-open Voyage shoes below!
We know that inaccessible footwear is a real issue for so many disabled people (and something we’re on a mission to help), so we had a quick chat with him to learn more about the problems he’s had with shoes, how he has overcome them and how he feels to be an advocate for showing the world of possibilities.
Lace Up Shoes
My hands are affected by my cerebral palsy so doing up laces multiple times on a daily basis isn’t ideal – I can do it but it takes more time and they don’t always stay laced. That’s because it all depends on how tight my hands are on a particular day and this fluctuates (especially with my left hand). And it’s just annoying to be having to re-tie laces constantly.
To do up my laces I also need to be seated as I have a lack of balance and co-ordination, and depending on where they come undone this isn’t always possible.
Hard Wearing Shoes
In the past, I’ve opted for very hard wearing boots like Timberlands and Doc Martens – I found the laces on these easier to do up as they’re longer than on standard shoes. The downside though is that I need ankle mobility and supportive boots like these don’t give that which isn’t great for me and my physical needs.
Why Friendly Shoes Are A Winner
I’ve got your Voyage shoes which I love – I’ve had them five months and they’re still going which is so important to me. I scissor walk and so can wear shoes out in areas such as on the toes, but the Voyage is well made and putting up with it!
We’re really proud of our Voyage shoe – here’s our current range. They’re all eligible for VAT exemption too.
When Parents Get In Touch With Me
Lots of parents of kids with cerebral palsy contact me asking for advice which feels amazing, it’s something that would have really resonated with me when I was a young boy. I think they get in touch as they can see that I’ve lived with or am living with the same struggles as them, and give a real firsthand account of living with cerebral palsy. People are more likely to listen to that.
It’s quite difficult to give individual advice as every case with CP differs with need or the areas affected, but I really hope that I help them reignite hope. I’ve gone from being really disabled to how I am now. And that inspires mums and dads to think if he can, my child can too.
So there you have it, thank you Joe for being an all-round legend and answering our questions about shoes and cerebral palsy. If you’re not already, give him a follow on Instagram @cptruths.