I have to wear shoes??

15 Apr

Tomorrow, Greg makes his first follow up appointment regarding his heart condition.  While I had a lot of concerns the first two weeks he was home, he seems to be doing well now.  That’s not to say he has finished recuperating from his heart attack–not only is some of the damage permanent, but it also takes a lot more than a month to heal afterwards.  We’re just now getting one step closer towards seeing how far he can reasonably hope to come.

So, since I want to hear what the doctor has to say, as well as voice my concerns, that means tagging along to his appointment.  That means wearing shoes.

Yeah, I confess.  I almost never wear proper shoes anymore.  I’ve been living my life in Crocs and Croc-like shoes.  They look dreadful, my current pair.  They used to be bright yellow and I called them my Ronald McDonald shoes, even though he doesn’t wear yellow shoes either.  Maybe Elton John does?  Certainly, Gia Scott does.  Along with stains from dribbles when cooking, gardening, walking, talking, and whatever else.  I can still remember when they were clean enough that my granddaughter chewed on them.  Now, touching them might be hazardous.

It’s funny how we get into odd little habits.  I don’t wear the croc-like yellow shoes when it’s raining and I have to go to town.  They are slippery on wet surfaces.  I do wear them when I’m going to drive though, because they are comfortable, even for a long time in the car.  They are a horrible choice for even the gentlest of  hikes, and across the lawn…well, I have plenty of material in them to add to the compost heap.

My other go-to shoes are long time favorites, and maybe part of my reticence in wearing them is the fear of having to replace them.  I’m a big fan of Keen shoes, and the current version is a Voyageur.  Before that, it was a different Keen shoe, and I have Keen sandals as well.  For me, they are an expensive shoe, and I dread replacing them.  My knock off crocs can be picked up at any store for under $10.  Logic says to wear the cheap shoe to tear it up, right?

Well, maybe not.  My grandmother always preached to everyone how they should take care of their feet because your feet take care of you.

That’s true.  It’s almost impossible to even smile, let alone be NICE, when your feet are killing you.  Your facial expression always sends out a message about how you suck lemons as a hobby, not an interested and animated expression exactly.

Our feet are as individual as the rest of us.  That means that it isn’t one brand fits all, let alone one size fits us all.  Our size even changes over time–I was a nice size 8 before I had my daughter…30 years ago.  Now, I buy the boatlike size 10.  Delicate feet are not a family feature, it seems.  I also have a broad foot with a narrow heel, resulting in most shoes slopping excessively at the heel, resulting in my shoes occasionally devouring my socks.

Having your socks bunch up in your arches is not comfy, I can honestly say.

Then there is the shoe height issue, and I’m not referring to heels.  This is likely more of an issue with those of us who love hiking boots for their comfort, durability and support.  I also wore them for years due to work.  I did learn, the hard way of course, that I had to choose the height carefully, and that in my case, taller wasn’t better.

Years ago, I had a serious knee injury, leaving me unable to walk or even move my foot for a very long time.  I was given a very grim prognosis, but I am happy to say that I came a long ways down the recovery road, even if it wasn’t easy.  It did leave me with a few peculiarities of gait, even after the limp was gone, which also resulted in over-developed calves, even when I was at my ideal weight or less.  This sharp increase in girth from ankle to calf was made worse by relatively short legs (I’m not a tall woman either) and tall hiking boots, even 8″ ones, will blister my legs in short order.

If you have ever nursed blistered legs from boots, you know the misery of which I speak.   If you have to put those boots back on again before it heals, it’s an exercise in agony.  Now that my distance hiking days are pretty much history, I know without a doubt that I should never, ever, buy a pair of boots over 6″.  I guess it’s a good thing that I have nice sturdy ankles and  am not prone to twists or sprains there.  (We won’t mention my knees–we aren’t on speaking terms tonight anyhow.)

Shoes make a difference.  Not only in your appearance, but in your comfort, mannerisms, behavior, and success at your endeavor.  Cheap shoes are also not usually a true bargain.

This cheap shoe problem was illustrated to me  years ago when I lived in hiking boots, both at work and at play.  Most inexpensive boots would be destroyed in 30-60 days, with a few pair making a sad progression to their 90 day birthday.  Then, I invested in my very first pair of “good” boots, designed for backpackers.  They were incredibly expensive to me–running roughly 10x what the cheap ones did.  I was afraid I’d made a huge mistake.  How could these boots possibly survive everything from rocks to ahah lava, with some rain, alkali, snow, mud, and scree thrown in for good measure?

They did.  They took it all, keeping my feet dry and cool in summer while staying warm in winter.  They did it for almost a full three years too.  I would have worn out at least a dozen pairs, and possibly as many as two dozen pairs of the cheap boots during that time.  My feet would have often hurt, frequently blistered in new boots, and never would have been truly happy.  Instead, I had a blissful period of pain free walking and hiking, never worrying about whether the terrain would destroy the boots.  I have, on one occasion, worn brand new boots into an area of an old lava flow, only to throw them away at the end of the day, the entire upper shredded by the sharp surfaces.

I’m not a name brand slave.  I am not impressed by the name printed on your butt, your boot, or your head.  I am impressed by durability, value, performance, and comfort.  I don’t care that my Keens look terrible, especially when I pair them with a denim skirt.  That’s okay, if you don’t like it, don’t look!  I care about my comfort and safety.  I don’t want my feet hurting, and I don’t want to slip and fall.  Try that in high heels, Barbie!



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