Saturday, March 19, 2011

Oh! My aching feet!!!

I desperately need new athletic shoes. Since we’ve an evening wedding to attend next month, and I’m guessing those athletic shoes won’t still look shiny, clean and spiffy, I suppose I’ll need to find something for that occasion, too. So, I set out to buy TWO pairs of shoes. Oh yeah, the budget is a little limited, so I was trying to look for reasonably priced foot gear.

Now, as a little background, let me tell you about these wretched appendages at the ends of my legs that the world refers to as “FEET.” Mine are a bit pudgy through the main part of the foot. (Makes sense, as I’m pudgy all over - I prefer the term “fluffy”, though.)

I have short stumpy toes but I also have a narrow heel. My instep is high and the arch is fairly flat - and getting flatter every year. I’m told the latter is a function of both age and weight and is a common ailment as women get older. To go with that high instep (a problem I’ve had since childhood - through thick and thin!), I have what I call a “short heel”. The distance from the floor to where the ankle starts to bend is quite short. This makes the heel of most athletic and oxford type shoes hurt where they hit the bottom of my ankle bone. To round out the whole dilemma, I have bad knees that complain quite adamantly when the shoe just isn’t right or throws my gait off a bit.

Okay, I KNOW I’m not the only gal out there who thinks she has problem feet. One of the best known and most vocal is Kelly Ripa who claims to have “DUCK FEET” - wide toes and narrow heel. I would kill for feet like Kelly’s and the ability to slip into some of those fantastic designer shoes she wears!

My brother-in-law swears by New Balance shoes. I have literally tried on every shoe New Balance makes in my size. Obviously, their definition of foot shape has nothing to do with mine. He has, to paraphrase, noted that I must be exaggerating when I’ve made that statement. There is “no way” (direct quote ) that such a statement could be true. Hey, I’ve tried my size, a size and a size and half larger, wider, narrower, etc. ** Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against NB and I'm sure their shoes are well made and very comfortable for many folks. They simply don’t make one to fit me. (I’ve offered to let him call my local New Balance store. Fitting me one day became things legends are made of! The entire staff got involved.)

I felt vindicated on that one when my niece (not his daughter) recently posted a similar story on her blog about working her way through every shoe in the New Balance store. Funny, without knowing it, we both hit the same poor store. Luckily, our married names prevented them from knowing it. In fact, she apologized for wasting so much of their time and they told her that was okay, some other lady had spent even more time doing the same thing not long ago. (I had to break down and call her the day she made that post. We laughed together until we cried.)

It’s not just N.B., I have tried ALL of the major brands. Then, I moved down to the less major and , finally, checked out any shoe that looks even vaguely like it might serve as a functional walking/stretching/ aerobic shoe. For a while there, K-Mart actually carried a line of very reasonably priced shoes that offered good support and a fair amount of durability. Alas, they’ve changed the design to make them look more streamlined and sexier, their words - not mine, and I find them to be somewhat uncomfortable now.

Just after Christmas, I found myself shopping for (surprise!) athletic shoes. After five full days of shoe store after shoe store and lots of time at Dick’s and Sports Authority, I finally bought a fairly inexpensive pair of Champion shoes at Payless. They were rated fairly well in several fitness magazines and by Consumer Reports. They felt pretty good. I wore them at least a dozen times and for entire days of activity on my feet. No problem. I was pleased. And then….

All of a sudden two weeks ago, they “just didn’t feel right.” I wore them anyway. Last week, I threw them on and ran to the grocery store and made a few other stops. My feet hurt so bad that I could hardly stand it. By the time I got home, I walked like I was crippled. They came off just inside my front door. My feet and legs hurt for several days. I put them on again Wednesday and ended up taking them off before I even left the house. They are now in the Goodwill bag and I’m looking for replacements.

Which brings us to Friday . . .

Friday’s shopping spree turned out to be a dud. It just wore me out and left me totally frustrated. On the up side, who needs to exercise after a day of trying on shoes all day - you know, getting in and out of the car, walking through the stores, and bending (Oh ! The bending!!!) up and down, up and down to put shoes on and off and then walking thirty feet back and forth to see how they feel. I had to come home and soak my feet!As for the dress shoes - it’s an evening wedding. I think I’ll wear a long dress or skirt. Maybe it could be color-coordinated to my Crocs.

Stop laughing. My Crocks are a nice brown, more like a standard clog. Do you think they’d be more formal in black? Wait. I just looked at the Croc website. They DO make dress Crocs!!!! Maybe these would work.
Or, maybe these . . .
Wow!! These would look dressy, although I'm not sure my feet would like them, even if they are made of soft rubber!

You know, a lot of us "older folks" laughed, but maybe these high school girls have a point when they’re wearing flip flops, high top tennis or army boots to prom with their gowns.

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