I know, I know, I should go see a podiatrist. Except I don’t want to hear what he or she is going to say. I’ve got heel spurs, like my dad, or plantar fasciitis. Whatever it is, I know what it means. Corrective shoes. I can’t tell you how much that isn’t going to work for me.
Hello, my name is Audra, and I have a shoe problem. I mean, I’m not Imelda Marcos or even Carrie from Sex and the City, but I have a closet full of shoes, and I’m always on the look out for more.
Different shoes are required for different seasons, purposes, and outfits. I have a hard time getting rid of old shoes, even the ones that no longer fit (for some bizarre reason, I’m a whole size bigger after having kids). As soon as I toss them in the Goodwill bin, I’ll wish I had them, I just know it.
I don’t spend gobs of money on shoes. I like to find bargains, and the vast majority of my shoe collection consists of cheap flip flops. Cheap, but cute, in lots of colors.
So I’d been living in denial. I spent the winter in good running shoes, with some drug store inserts, for the most part. And for the most part, the pain in my foot was tolerable. Then summer arrived. My flip flops came out. I started limping around like I had a bear trap on my right ankle.
I surrendered. Sort of. I went to an expensive sporting goods store, thinking surely there exists some insert I can stick onto my cute sandals and flip flops. I just couldn’t stand the thought of trying to make it through the summer in sweaty, enclosed shoes.
Enter Dr. Shoe Salesman. I must confess that it was me who had the rotten attitude, and therefore this colored the whole shopping experience. I’m sure he was a perfectly wonderful gentleman, but that day, he was my enemy…
I tell Dr. Shoe Salesman I need some good inserts for my shoes. He asks what the problem is, and I explain that I have heel spurs, or possibly the plantar thing, “Whatever, my foot hurts.”
“So you haven’t gone to see a podiatrist?”
He nods. “He’s going to tell you to buy more expensive shoes and get some good inserts.”
Says the man trying to sell me expensive shoes & inserts.
“What kind of shoes do you normally wear?”
I give him a raised eyebrow. The answer to his question is, ‘whatever goes with my outfit,’ but that would make me sound like a total girly girl, which I am not. I just have a thing about shoes. “Lots.”
He tries again. “What size?”
I tell him my size and he grabs some $147 dollar running shoes off the shelf, sticks the special insert inside, and slips it on my foot.
“That’s too small. Most people wear too small of shoes. There should be at least a half inch in the front and they should slip off your heel when you walk. It’s irritating at first, but you get used to it.”
Before or after the skin wears off my Achilles’ tendon? “I’m not wearing a shoe that slips off my foot.”
He compromises and grabs me the next size up. Good lord, my feet were already too big for my height. Now he’s telling me I have clown feet.
“Yeah, I had plantar fasciitis once. After I gained a bunch of weight.” He looks up at me, as if expecting me to admit to having gained weight recently.
I contemplate kicking him in the face with his $147 shoe.
“Stand up and walk around. How do those feel?”
“Better than my flip flops.”
“Yeah, you’re probably not going to be able to wear those.”
Dr. Shoe salesman did NOT just tell me I can’t wear my flip flops. First I’ve got clown feet, then I’m chubby, now no cute sandals? I want a second opinion. Isn’t there a female shoe salesperson around here?
As I suppress the urge to smack him with my flip flops, he explains that they may be cute and made of soft foam, but they are no good.
“Would you really rather wear flip flops?” he asks, perhaps sensing my hostility.
Well, I’m sure as hell not buying a pair of $147 tennis shoes from you, even if they massage my feet and give me a pedicure. “Yes.”
“You’re in luck. The same company that makes these inserts makes flip flops.”
He steps away for a minute and comes back with two pairs of hideous flip flops, size jumbo. Screw that! I can live with the pain. But my foot is throbbing from spending the last four hours in cute, bedazzled sandals.
“Just try them on,” my foot begs.
So I do. It feels like angels are cradling my tootsies. Maybe I could just get them for around the house. Then I catch sight of the price tag. $89. For ugly flip flops. I laugh. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but cheap & vain won out.
I left with a pair of good inserts, figuring I’d wear them in my tennis shoes as much as possible for two weeks, and if I truly felt an improvement in my foot, I’d look at buying some expensive corrective sandals.
I am happy to report that my inserts did help with my foot pain, and I was able to find some orthopedic flip flops at half price. They’re not the cutest sandals I own, but I don’t walk around with a limp if I wear them for more than an hour, so I figure it’s a good trade-off.
So I have added a new category of shoes to my collection. In addition to cute two hour sandals, sexy two hour heels, cool two hour boots, and all-day running shoes, I now have all-day geriatric flip flops.