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.
In for a dime, in for a dollar
13 hours ago