Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Difference Good Footwear Makes

For ten years, I've had the same two pairs of shoes, one black to stand in for casual occasions and one pair of runners. For about seven of those years, both pairs have had great slashes across the soles, where you flex the ball of the foot. Until a month ago, I hadn't any boots and the socks I purchased many years ago were the cheapest I could find.

The condition of my shoes was easy enough to ignore in dry weather, although my socks would get dirty quickly given the regular contact with the sidewalk. Naturally, in rainy or snowy weather, the situation was vastly worse and I wondered at times, disheartened, why I bothered wearing the shoes at all. My feet would get soaked the moment I put foot to ground.

Anyway, I've lived with this situation over the years because I've had no choice. As for the socks, I never knew what it might feel like to have nice ones, socks that aren't scratchy against your skin or ones that have cushioning to massage your feet as you walk.

My footwear situation began to change six years ago. A pair of Rockports, in excellent condition, found their way to my door, courtesy of a kind neighbour. Although the Rockports aren't intended to be worn in rainy or wintry weather, for the first winter of use they kept my feet much dryer than the other shoes. However, because I've no choice but to walk long distances and frequently, my feet did get wet and I find the shoes now are more soluble - probably because I've been unable to spray them with the stuff you're supposed to treat leather shoes with. Anyway, to preserve my Rockports, I've gone back to wearing my other shoes in bad weather.

The situation changed again four years ago when my friend Ronnie gave me two pair of socks she could no longer wear. Her feet were severely deformed due to rheumatoid arthritis; not only did she need special shoes and orthotics to place in them, but also special socks for her sensitive skin.

I was grateful to get the socks because my old ones were terribly worn, but I didn't think much more about it until I put on a pair a few days later. Then I went over the moon.

It felt like I was walking on air. Literally, I felt buoyant and the relief was tremendous. The socks were SO soft and had cushioning under the ball of the foot. My sore, aching feet weren't sore and aching anymore - just from being encased in a decent pair of socks. And I WANTED to walk now, rather than dreading it.

Then, a month ago, my son sent me $50 to buy a pair of winter boots.

That's a photo of my new boots. Regularly $90, they were selling for $45. This1 is the review I wrote on the website.

"I've chronic back pain due to a bad hip from an old injury, and related scoliosis and arthritis. Without access to transportation, I've no choice but to walk everywhere I must go. Wearing these boots substantially reduces the pain during these walks. I even feel less pain for awhile afterwards. The excellent rubber sole grip not only increases my confidence when walking, but the strong ankle support prevents my lower calf from slanting forward; thus it corrects misalignment in my posture and so also improves my gait. The pressure is eased from the area where I experience the most pain. I am thrilled to bits with these new boots. I only wish I could wear them year-round."

I meant every word. Not only do the boots correct my posture and gait, thus reducing my pain, they keep my feet warm and dry.

My son has said he will pay for similar footwear for the spring and summer season. Am keeping my eyes peeled for good deals.

Socks, well, I'd still love more of those high quality ones. In the meantime, I limit how often I wear the ones I have.

By the way, Daphne and I will be attending the rally for Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament. I wrote the following update this morning to Twitter:

I've shoes w/ great slashes in soles. Wonder if I shd bring them 2 #CAPP rally? #shoethrow #budgetslashes #rebelleft.

1 That link no longer directs to the correct page. ISears may not sell that particular style or brand of hiking boot anymore. Too bad. I've received several comments about them from people wanting to get a pair for themselves.

1 comment:

sassy said...

I purchased a pair of Rockports at a %50 sale at the Bay years ago. They felt like comfortable slippers the minute I put them on and lasted well over 15 years.

I don't have a lot of shoes, but the ones I have are