I’ve been having many realizations lately which has lead to many conflicting feelings. With my first real paycheck at my new job I paid back my roommate for July’s rent and bills she covered when my unemployment still hadn’t started. It felt good to take care of that and I am forever grateful to her for her kindness and generosity. Not to mention the fact that she not once reminded me that I owed her money. That made a huge difference to me, actually. The only other time I’ve borrowed money from someone it was a fucking nightmare (my dad’s wife, ugh, don’t get me started).
With this newfound stability (or perceived stability, I mean, who knows?!), I felt a need to step things up in the whole being a responsible adult department of my life. No fun, but necessary. First thing I knew I needed to tackle was my feet! I have been coming home from work ready to collapse. I come home so exhausted physically that I don’t have the energy to even cook or microwave dinner for myself sometimes. Something had to change!
My bff “P” used to manage a shoe store that specialized in work shoes. They sell brands like SAS, Dansko, Clarks, and a ton more I can’t remember, but they’re all good for your feet. I knew I needed to give up my Doc Marten obsession (for a minute) and nix the cheap-o eBay shoes I’ve been snagging and actually invest in my feet and myself. This is a full service shoe store. They measure your feet, put the shoes on for/with you and actually help educate you about your own anatomy! I love it!
These shoes are far from cheap and I wouldn’t even call them near affordable. But they are good quality shoes built to last and made to help your feet feel better and hopefully be better for the longer haul, too. So, the sales guy who helped me was super chill and quite friendly. When I asked to try on one pair of ankle boots, he first measured my feet and made sure to do it right. Then he brought out a stack of shoe boxes as tall as me! Whoa dude! Ha-ha!
We talked a bit and he asked about my docs and he explained what different types of shoes and soles and insoles and socks do. I know?! Socks do things?! Well, they should anyway. Learning!!! So I tried on the first boots I’d wanted, but they didn’t work out because a.) they weren’t wide enough and b.) the leather was very stuff and hurt a bit. No thanks! But he brought others he thought I might dig and some I did. Others? Eh, not so much. The SAS ones…let’s get real on these things! SAS is a wonderful brand of shoe for hard working people. I know their reputation and I see their shoes on RN’s and Janitors alike. But damn, they make some ugly-ass shoes! I told him that while I knew this, I wouldn’t wear the shoes if I hated how they looked. We moved on…
He showed me how to care for my leather shoes and even explained how I can clean the insoles of them and shoes I already own! Cool! It didn’t hurt that he was a cutie (but married, no worries!) and turns out, is the owner of the company’s son. Neat. Anyway, I ended up with four pair of shoes, three pair of socks and a set of insoles, along with a kit to care for my new stuff, too. He gave me a good deal on everything, but I won’t lie to you, when he read me the total my jaw dropped. I gulped and then gasped and then handed over my credit card (I get Amazon points with my Visa).
I mentioned socks, too. This seems obvious and silly and maybe not worth it, but after two days of wearing my new Wigwam synthetic blend socks, I can tell you there is a big difference: Moisture! Now I know wool is best for feet, but I’m allergic 5,000. The synthetic is comfortable and doesn’t give me hives so I’m happy with that. It has cushion, arch compression and a lighter weave around my ankle, which I like. When I take them off after a long day running around, they are not soaking wet or nasty smelling. Yay! Win!
I cannot recommend Superfeet insoles enough! Even if you can’t afford new work shoes, you might just try getting some good insoles for your existing shoes. They really help align my hips, which in turn makes my knees and ankles feel better at the end of the day. Whew! I’ve actually owned some before, but I just never wore/appreciated them until now. He did say that it can take some time to get used to the new and better alignment and that it’s okay to swap out insoles, even midday. I wore mine all day and night yesterday in the Cobb Hill boots and never once felt like it was too much.
All of this I share with you for a few reason, but mostly to let you know that this lifer of a cheapskate (by necessity mostly, but not always) actually bit the bullet and stepped up to the plate and is now investing in the future for health and longevity. Like your bed, we spend a lot of time on our feet and in our shoes. By not supporting and protecting them we can actually create health problems we aren’t aware of. Think about it for a moment, if my hips are misaligned and I’m on my feet all day at work (on concrete floors) this can cause knee, ankle, back and neck pain! No thanks! Not to mention those of us who already have foot problems. No fun for anyone.
When I got home Monday night after wearing my new boots-insoles-socks for the first time, and I was on my feet all day, I wasn’t ready to collapse. I wasn’t even tired! I had energy to spare! So much so that my roommate and I went to the dollar store for some Halloween decorations when I got home. That seemed inconceivable last week, I can assure you. That alone is worth every penny. How much did I spend? Well…does it matter? I know, I know…Of course it does! All told my total was around $500. Yikes! BUT these shoes will last me a long time and those Danskos may last my lifetime! 😉
With my newfound shoe-loot I dashed home inspired and ready for more change. What did I do? I reorganized my closet and shoes. I got rid of a bunch of shoes, separated the ones I need to sell, get repaired and prioritized the rest. My Doc Martens collection will have to dwindle a bit, that hurts but only a little. I know the ones I keep will get worn and will be comfortable. I’ll be writing a post about my DM love soon enough, don’t you worry (with pics!). I’m excited to try my new insoles in my beloved Docs, too.
I do recognize and struggle with a giant dose of sudden privilege in my ability to now afford such a large purchase. This is not usual, nor do I think it could ever become so. I will say that it has cured me of wanting to look at and try on shoes, which has always been such a temptation for me. I know I have cute shoes for nearly every occasion at home that for the most part won’t hurt my tootsies. This is good! This is comforting and makes me feel more secure about my foot situation. I’ve had to run home to change shoes for something more times than I’d care to recall because the ones I’d chosen sucked or gave me a blister. Boo!
Now if I could just find that illusive pair of black knee high riding boots for my death fatty calves…
Sounds like another trip to Savers for a 20% coupon might be in order! The only time I’ve had feet issues is when I wear anything raised or with heels. Now, I won’t buy any heeled shoes, no matter how cute. It’s flats for me. On the other hand, my yoga teacher loves stilettos and has no issues with them. So, to each her own!
Hi. I totally agree that you have to take care of your feet even when it’s really expensive. (It’s kind of like a mattress, you spend a third of your life on it, so if you can afford it, buy the better quality.) I have a lot of foot issues which started in a few years ago with plantar fasciitis, which I had for a couple of years before it went away. I went to a podiatrist and found out I also have mild bunions and heel spurs. Yes, I was in my late 20’s when I was diagnosed with bunions – they aren’t just something older people get.
I had to get rid of a whole bunch of cute shoes because I now have to wear prescription-level orthotic insoles in all my shoes. I have also been a poor graduate student for a couple of years, so I have spent a lot of time looking for inexpensive and good quality. So, I wanted to let you know about some resources. You can buy last season Aravon (also made by New Balance) and others of the brands you mentioned new on ebay and at Joe’s New Balance Outlet online. I bought a pair of like new SAS sandals at the thrift store which I mostly wear around the house like slippers (because they don’t have removable insoles).
I had to get to a point that I was able to wear shoes that weren’t cute or that didn’t go with my outfit because I have to prioritize the health of my feet. It’s still a little bit of a struggle because I have a strong internalized sense of what goes with what and wanting to feel completely put together. I hope you don’t ever have to do that. However, I do encourage people to think about that when they are judging their own or others’ outfit choices. Just as we are taught that fat people aren’t attractive, which is an arbitrary and harmful social norm, we are surrounded by arbitrary fashion rules which are similarly created. There is nothing inherent in trainers, flats, or flip flops that make them inappropriate to wear with any outfit. It’s our society’s rules about “aesthetics,” which frequently mean outward symbols of class status, that make it unacceptable. So, I say, fuck that! Do what makes you feel good, but think hard about why it makes you feel good, and try not to impose it on others.
Danna: Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve learned! And yeah, I do buy gently used big name shoes on eBay, often! 😉 I haven’t had as much luck with thrift stores, but glad you found some. I will have to buy those socks! They look perfect. I agree with you completely about judging what folks are wearing. Let it go! I have to do this with myself, too.