Monday, November 11, 2019

A shoe story

Until I was about 45, I bought shoes in a size 7 1/2 B. Back then I was looking for style and color.

When I was 52 I walked in the Avon Breast Cancer Three-Day: 60 miles in three days of walking in Seattle. I trained for five months for that event. I needed the perfect clothes - wicking t-shirt, comfy shorts and underwear and socks. And shoes. The shoes were the hardest part.

I ended up with Brooks Addiction shoes from Shane's Food Comfort Center in Shoreline, Washington. In size 8 1/2 wide. With custom orthotics. So outfitted, I was able to walk 20 miles a day. My feet hurt at the end of each walk, of course, but the rest of my body was okay.

For the next ten years I was a Brooks fan; Addiction and Ariel were my go-to walking shoes. I'd call Shane's and ask them to save a pair, that I'd be in to pick them up. They asked if I wanted to try them on and I said no, thanks, I knew my size. My exercise of choice was a two-to-five mile walk, in my neighborhood and in neighborhoods where we traveled.

When I was 63 I hurt my back when I sat in a chair that was a couple of inches lower than I expected. An electrical light show coursed down my legs and left me with tingling feet - like a low-voltage electrical current running night and day. The doctors said I had nerve impingement of some kind - what you can't see on an MRI. They said it would probably resolve with time, but it could take a couple of years. It has been eight years now and it has not resolved.

In the meantime, my tingling feet didn't want to be enclosed in walking shoes. So I looked for more comfortable options. I found neutral Vibrams, then Merinos online in 8 1/2 or 9. Minimal arch support, but my feet were satisfied.

In June of this year - when I was 70 - I took my granddaughter to London. We did a lot of walking. I was wearing my Merinos. By the end of each day I was just about limping from pain in my feet that radiated up to my hips. I thought walking tours were over for me.

In October of this year - when I was 71 - I went to New York City with my friend Ellen. Again, we did a lot of walking. I was wearing my Merinos. By the end of each day I hurt from feet to hips. I sat down whenever I could, and Ellen had to slow down everywhere we went. I felt ancient and defeated.

Then she said over lunch, "You know, Linda, I bought a pair of Merinos at your suggestion, and they are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned - for about a quarter of a mile. But they have no arch support. I didn't even bring them on this trip. I brought my Brooks Addictions."


We found a shoe store that carried Brooks shoes half a mile from our lunch place. On the last day of our trip. The salesman grinned when I told him my problem. "Yeah, you need arch support and you probably need a bigger size." He was right on both accounts. I bought a pair of Brooks Ariel shoes. In a size 9 1/2 extra wide.

There is NOTHING like arch support. Or trying shoes on at a shoe store rather than ordering them online for eight years.

We live and learn, I guess.


Celia said...

Glad you found your former foot friendly shoes. My whole body gives up without happy feet.

Linda Reeder said...

And we change! Feet spread, develop issues. Backs get tired and legs grow weary faster. I use arch supports in all of my shoes.

Arkansas Patti said...

If our feet aren't happy, neither are we. I require custom orthodics now and I no longer think of my feet. Also when I find a shoe that works, I stick with it. Glad you are back with a working pair.

Barbara said...

That's very interesting. I need to take a good measurement of my feet and find some really good walking shoes.

Elizabeth said...

Yes, feet don't stop growing, neither do ears!

Elizabeth said...

Maybe you have seen this:

nothoughtsnoprayersnonothing said...

I understand about the nerve tingling. I really suffer from it.
I am glad you have found shoes that help you.

Anonymous said...

Brooks are my go-to shoe, and I try them on every time. The shoe person recommended a men's shoe sizing, which is more comfortable than the women's. Who knew? Glad your feet are feeling better.