My feet, my attitude…

5 May

When my feet hurt, life is a misery.  That’s not something that just happened when I hit that big five-oh either.  I can remember wanting to cry when I came home from work as a teenager too, when my feet were screaming in agony after a shift of waiting tables and traveling over those tiled cement floors.  It was the same thing years later, when I was trying to get that last few months out of my expensive (to me anyhow) boots as a correctional officer and I’d want to cry by the time I hit the halfway mark of my shift.  That foolish mistake took months to heal from too–my feet continued to scream in protest for months after those boots had landed in the trash.

When my feet hurt, I want to rip off someone’s head.

My opinion?

We’d have a lot less violence in the world if we got rid of shoe designers who make “cute” shoes without worrying about comfort.  We would have even less if there was a mandate providing every person on this planet with decent, serviceable and comfortable shoes.

Since I can’t do that…I can worry about our feet and comfort, so we don’t end up with World War III in our house.  GM’s ENORMOUS feet keep life interesting.  Our newest family member, an adult chihuahua (he’s a stray we found in Central Mississippi and not particularly small for a chihuahua) can actually crawl into one of his shoes and sleep quite comfortably.  If we ever have a flood, we can probably use them in lieu of pontoons.

Okay, maybe they aren’t quite that big…but they are BIG.  I have to admit though, my feet, for a woman, aren’t exactly petite either.  You might say that we both have excellent foundations on which to stand.

Both of us are on the far side of youth, you might say…and have our own issues we’ve acquired over time.  I can’t stand my toes to be pinched or forced inward, and any pressure results in quickly discarding the offending shoes.  I have (or had?) high arches and a high instep, which meant that I ran into issues there on occasion too.  With a wide foot and narrow heel, many shoes “eat” my socks, and these too will end up being discarded as annoying shoes.  Who wants to go around with their socks wadded up over the middle of their foot?

GM feels more comfortable in boots.  It may be partly a lifelong habit, and partly related to his gait, but boots are much more secure on his feet, and he is less likely to trip.  He too graduated from the Klutz School of Finishing Grace, and like the absent minded professor, finds obstacles such as threads and dust on the floor to be formidable obstacles on occasion.  Even so, for the sake of easy on, he does like to have a pair of muck-about comfortable casual shoes for light activity.  For dress, he does wear dress shoes too.  He also has water shoes for when we go to play in the water at the beach or on a creek somewhere.

He had Red Wing boots, but…the soles came off last winter, and while they are SUPPOSED to have their soles guaranteed…we haven’t gotten around to pursuing it to see whether that brand’s high price tag includes a warranty worth having.  I guess I’m kind of dreading it after the joy with my Tassimo coffeemaker.  Customer service can give me aggravation faster than a waiter can deliver your beverage in a restaurant…

In the meantime, I’ve been shopping for new boots for him.  His hiking boots are worn out, his work boots are waving their sole around, and the current pair he’s wearing are less-than-satisfactory.  His running shoes were trashed last summer.  It’s definitely shoe time for him!

So what makes a good shoe?  Is there such a thing as a universally “good shoe”?

Probably not.  Shoes are coverings for our feet, and our feet are as individual as the rest of us.  Even so, what I considered a “good shoe” when I was 20 isn’t the same as what I consider a “good shoe” to be when I’m 50.  Then again, some of the same things hold true for comfort then and now.

I like plenty of toe room, so that means a spacious toe box.  I like to be able to raise my toes and to splay them out on occasion inside of my shoe too.  It just makes me feel good to do it.  If I can’t, my feet feel cramped and hot and uncomfortable.

I like a sturdy shoe.  That means it’s tightly stitched together, and the soles are well attached to the uppers.  Typically, the soles are rather thick and stiff too.  The upper is made from a material that isn’t going to crack, abrade, stretch or otherwise fail to keep my foot encased in its protective layer.

The internal skeleton of the shoe is somewhat a mystery to me, but I know that it is important.  I do know it comes as metal (as in metal shank) or in non-metal to avoid triggering metal detectors, but what does that mean?  I don’t care if its called a shank or a spine or gizmo, it has to hold up to being stepped on, walked on, stomped in, and stood upon all day.  If it fails, your feet are going to be in agony.  Generally, this is where name brands stand apart from their no-name knock offs…in the part we don’t ever see.  This part is irrelevant in shoes we wear a few times a year, but its incredibly important in shoes we wear regularly and walk in.

Then, there is the interior of the shoe.  It should be smooth, without any stitching, lumps, bumps, or anything else that is going to rub and create blisters, corns, or anything else that translates to more pain.  I don’t care how “cute” it is…it had best be smooth inside.

The foot bed and arch support are other important areas.  It should cradle our foot in blissful comfort.  It’s usually the first thing I notice when I try on shoes.  I might miss the boat elsewhere, but that foot bed and arch support are going to be noticed immediately.  Often, just putting my hand inside of the shoe tells me that there is no arch support, and I don even try the shoe on.

To be honest, if the shoe is comfortable, I don’t care if its purple with orange spots on it.  I really seriously don’t care–my feet are that important to me.  If I don’t have shoes that are comfortable to wear with an outfit, the outfit is easier to change than the shoes.  Period.

That gives me the perfect excuse to dress comfortable to match my Keen Voyageurs, right?

Keen Voyageurs

Keen Voyageurs in size 10...the big feet thing!

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