Friday, August 09, 2013

Shovel Feet

I am not sure why I have had a life long hatred of shoes.  Maybe it is the triple E feet I was blessed with by my mother's half of my DNA. She called them my "shovel feet". Maybe my shoe allergy was the result of the two years I spent as a wild child at Hickam AFB in Hawaii.  I still remember getting a tanning for throwing my shoes away on the way to school and showing up in class barefoot.  Regardless, as I grew up, I wore shoes as little as possible, even going so far as to try to go a complete year in college wearing no shoes.  I didn't make it, but I did last into December.

At some point I started wearing shoes more and bare feet less.  Seems it was around the time I got married about 33 years ago.  Marriage apparently brought quite a few changes to my lifestyle.  I would occasionally indulge in romping around the yard with no shoes, but for the most part, my barefootin days were over.  Being the responsible adult took over.  Responsible adults wear shoes.

So now it is 33 years later.  I grew accustomed to shoes.  I even had a couple of pair I really liked.  Until they wore out.  A few years ago I began to really hate shoes again.  Not the rebellion driven hate I had as a child, but the damn things became painful to wear for more than a few hours at a time.  My wife contended and still does that it is because I choose to wear bad footwear.  Flip flops, sneakers, slip on shoes, blah, blah  blah.  More sensible and higher quality shoes she said would solve my problem.

I bought more sensible shoes of higher quality.  Maybe there was some improvement, maybe there wasn't.  Since I have the history of bare foot rebel in my blood, I was not willing to recognize any tangible improvement that justified the price increase for the "more sensible shoes".  Shoes made my feet hurt and that was that.  Throwing $100 at a pair was not going to change anything.

Earlier this year the time line between no pain and true discomfort seemed to shrink.  Some pairs I owned I just could not wear any more.  I tried not tying the laces so tight, essentially turning the sensible shoes into non-sensible slip on's.  It was better, but I was still having issues after only a few hours with my dogs wrapped in leather and laces.

Must have been about the middle of April I began to go barefoot whenever I could.  I drove to the bike shop barefoot.  I worked barefoot.  And at home I stayed barefoot when not doing yard work or walking Stub over at Mary's Park across the road.

The result has been dramatic.  My feet have not felt this good in years.  Yeah, I've dinged them up some by stepping on some odd wire from a brake cable, or a screw carelessly dropped on the bike shop floor.  There is always something laying in wait for the fool who wears no shoes.  But cuts heal, bruises go away, and besides, the ding is local, not foot wide.  Should have done this years ago.

So this morning about 3:30 AM when I woke up and could not go back to sleep, I took a walk around my house and yard.  We had had some rain and when I walked back into the garage I left wet footprints on the garage floor.  I do not usually notice my footprints other than to acknowledge their existence.  But it was dark-thirty in the morning and with nothing else to do, naturally I thought I might as well have a Kodak moment.  The image at the top is the result.

As I had never really paid much attention to my footprints, I was struck by a couple of things.  It looks like I only have 8 toes.  The little piggies on both feet seem to have run all the way home and then past to some other home down the road.  Yet when I look down, there they are still attached in their original locations.  Guess they don't like getting wet is all.

I noticed my high arches were still high and had not fallen like so many that have walked the planet for 60 plus years.  And I assume that is a good thing.  I understand flat feet are no picnic.

I guess what I am taking away from this new found love affair with bare feet is that sensible shoes only make sense if they solve the problem.  Orthopedic shoes and their less expensive Dr Scholl insoles are only useful if they make your feet feel better.  I would say if your feet hurt and nothing else works, trying setting them free once in awhile.



ruthinian said...

This post justified my husband's strong argument on shoes. He is so like you. Though he wears shoes to work for safety reasons, he is a carpenter once he is home he is barefoot at the time regardless of the season. As for me, he calls me "the shoe lady". I own a lot. Shoes make me happy and when I am sad I buy a fair. So that gives him a reason not to make me mad. LOL. But then, I sometimes feel that I want to free my feet... it's just the shoes are too pretty specially when they have a matching purse. wink*** It's a girl thing. Love your post.

Ol'Buzzard said...

I envy your arches; I wear size 14 and have flat feet. You might be able to find something comfortable up at the New Balance outlet up in up in Skowhegan
the Ol'Buzzard

The Blog Fodder said...

My feet are wrecking my knees and hips as they throw me from side to side when I walk. MAybe it is high instep, I don't know. And I hurt. Orthopedic insoles helped when I wore shoes but the price they charge and the fact in the house I am barefoot, sock foot or slippers doesn't help. I'd like to learn to go barefoot if only my feet would toughen up.

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Come contribute your perspectives and opinions to the ongoing conversations there or, even better, start some new - and different - ones of your own.

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H. M. Stuart

BBC said...

Had trouble with my feet when younger and like you I have a EEE and a high arch. Working on cement a lot I would doctor my shoes, make arches for them and such.

But at 70 damn near anything seems to work for me as long they fit.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

It looks like I only have 8 toes.