Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Break In

One of the advantages of having to wear big, klutzy looking athletic shoes all the time is that I have forgotten the whole concept of breaking in shoes.  Even my somewhat dressier shoes, the Aravon black Mary Janes, SAS oxfords, and Orthaheel sandals, have roomy enough toe boxes (obviously, in the case of the sandals, no toe boxes) that they don’t pinch anywhere. 

I am going to a wedding, however, and to add to the fun, the reception is indoor-outdoor and lawn games have been mentioned. The dress I plan to wear, a coral colored shift that was my Easter dress from two years ago, will look odd with black Mary Jane’s, cordovan oxfords, and especially with my athletic shoes. It goes with the Orthaheel sandals, which I had planned to wear until the mention of lawn games. Being outdoors on an irregular surface requires a little more support than a pair of sandals whose straps seal with Velcro can supply.  So I looked for another pair of  Mary Jane’s in a summery color.

And looked, and looked, and looked. I found shoes in the color I liked, with flat skinny soles and no way to put an orthotic insert inside. I found others, with two and a half inch heels, guaranteed to put the maximum pressure on my arthritic joint. I found a pair or two for $200-$300, but they couldn’t be found locally and tried on.

So I finally decided on a pair of Sketchers, basically a pair of skimmers but with athetic style crepe rubber soles, for absorbing shocks and giving me better traction; a criss-cross adjustable strap to keep them on my feet; and a removable insole so that I could insert an off-the-shelf arch support that is not as good as my custom one but good enough for a few hours dining, dancing, and cheering on the other guests who play lawn games. They were on sale at the outlet store, too, which is good because I may not wear them more than once.

This isn't the exact model, but very similar. The ones I have are the same design, but made of suede with satin ribbon criss-crossing on the toes.

Unlike the the Aravon black Mary Janes and SAS oxfords, however, these shoes have shallow toe boxes. The width fits just fine, is maybe even a little wide, but the straps deal with that problem. The depth is where the shoes are somewhat lacking. So I have been spending the last few days breaking them in. I’ve spent an hour or so each morning and afternoon walking around the house in them or standing to do ironing, and sometimes just sitting and wiggling my toes. It seems to be working well. I haven’t felt foot pain other than cramped toes while wearing the shoes or after I switch out of them. The toes  are loosening up. It’s only the left shoe that is bothersome anyway. My big toe on the right is shortened slightly due to the joint transplant I had so I have more room over there. I am convinced they will work out well for the wedding, and really, they look much better than my usual footwear.

After the wedding, though, they will get tucked back in their box for a long retirement, possibly to get hauled out for a Christmas party depending on what I find to wear. For me, they simply aren’t suitable for my activities of daily living. But for one evening, I think they are going to work.

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