Shoes, shoes, shoes, shoes… shoes!
As a young kid I learned about foot care. I remember as a small child, going to the Buster Brown shoe store with my mom. The salesman at the store had been there for a long time and seemed to be much older than my mom, and I can remember him telling her about arch support and proper foot alignment and how important they where for a young child’s feet. This would have been somewhere around 1975.
Foot care took the spotlight again when I was a Boy Scout. One of my Scoutmasters regaled us with stories of the British troops and how important foot care was to the military; officers that had let foot problems develop were even court marshaled. Hmmm…. a dishonorable foot discharge… Anyway, It was made clear on many occasions that taking care of your feet on hiking trips was very important. I recall more than one instance where I, or another scout, had slacked on our foot care and regretted it most strongly.
Over the years it had just become a part of the routine to take care of my feet. When I was in search and rescue, I was often the one to remind some of the other team members about taking care of there feet. On several survival course trips I was one of the few that fared toward the top of the class. On more than one expedition I have been very thankful for my scouting experiences in foot care.
As I got older I took on responsibilities that did not require the durable footwear I had grown up using. I had also become so busy with work that weekends just turned into more workdays. The activities that I participated in, mostly Renaissance faires, required ‘alternative’ footwear and my work shoes were cheap seekers. I got out of the habit of taking care of my feet.
The last time I bought ‘good’ shoes was in 2002. I bought a pair of Wolverine work boots, and they were very comfortable, they fit well and offered a lot of ground shock absorption. Just what I needed at the time. As the years wore on, the boots slowly deteriorated, unfortunately for me, it was very slowly. I had grown attached to them and wore them all the time. I bought $10-20 shoes at Wal-mart or Target for general ware but the boots were the primary footwear. The cheap shoes usually lasted 6 months or less, compressing and becoming uncomfortable or just falling apart. Us big guys are hard on shoes, they break down on us rather quickly. The Wolverines had broken down but I hadn’t noticed until I realized that they were now causing foot problems.
After realizing that my boots were now causing problems, I decided to bite the bullet and spend a little more for a ‘decent’ pair of shoes, not good shoes, those are too expensive, just decent. Bad move. I know better, but I have gotten cheap in my old age.
The 5k that my wife and I participated in last weekend was the first ‘real’ walk in the new shoes. They didn’t hold up all that well. I got away with 3 blisters, 2 large but not bad blisters on my left foot were on the pads of my foot under clauses. They healed back up without any attention in just a few of days. The small one on my right foot was on the little toe and after 2 days I had to peel it away. All and all not too bad, but the reason for them in the first place was my choice of shoe. A size a little too long to accommodate the width of my foot allowed my foot to slide a bit in the shoe and the ‘spring’ heel floats around in all directions a little also contributing to the movement inside the shoe. The heel has broken down some and is now very squishy, because I am a big guy.
Some discussion on footwear with my wife over the last week and the decision to make some marked improvements in our out-and-about time prompted a walk over to the new Sports Authority store, so conveniently located in the same center as our usual Starbucks haunt. Turned out, they were having a big 4th of July sale including, you guessed it, shoes. My intent was to get a pair of hiking/walking boots that we had seen on one of our scouting expeditions in the store earlier. I did get the boots, but I also found a pair of walking shoes in the clearance aisle at close to 50% off. While we spent a little more than I had planned on, I am now in much better shape to embark on the new walking/hiking plan for this summer.
I retired my Wolverines along with some cheap slip-ons I bought last summer as soon as we got home.
As a small preview of a day adventure to come, we are planning a day hike from HWY 9/HWY 35 down into Big Basin. Some of the old timers from my scouting days will remember this as the Skyline to the Sea hike. We will only be doing the Skyline in to Big Basin part, but it is still a good day hike. I will be setting up some interesting stuff for the post on that soon.
Until then, may every day be filled with adventure!