Wednesday, February 8, 2012

On Foot

Most women, when they spend $250 in a shoe store, wind up with something they are excited to wear on their feet. Maybe they buy a pair of knee length boots, or some peep toe pumps, or sexy sandals, or a pair of platform stilettos that would have Carrie Bradshaw in paroxysms of delight. (There was another word I was going to use there, but I try to keep a certain tone here.)

When I spend $250 in a shoe store, it’s to buy clodhoppers. Well, to be fair, clodhoppers plus orthotic inserts for the clodhoppers*. In this case, two pairs of orthotic inserts because I have another new pair of shoes that needed them, too.

The second pair of shoes at least look like something I actually wear on purpose. Back in the fall, I saw a pair of oxfords in a J Crew ad that looked perfect for my new corduroy jeans. I was fairly sure my podiatrist would not like me wearing a pair of J Crew oxfords (unless perhaps he is in the market for a new boat), but I decided to see what New Balance’s sister brand, Aravon had in the way of similar shoes.

What they had looked an awful lot like my SAS Free Time shoes, shoes you have no doubt seen on your hairdresser, nurse, or dental technician at some time or other. Not exactly the sassy, casual look I was going for, but since I was reminded of SAS, I decided to look into what they had available.

What they had wasn’t bad. Their Take Time shoes aren’t quite as fashionable looking as the ones I had originally seen, but they don’t scream “orthopedic shoes” either. I tried them on in both a 7 and a 7 and a half, and decided I needed the 7 and a half.

When I say “try them on”, I mean one size on each foot. The size I needed was a display model and the clerk could not find the other shoe. No problem. They would just order them for me.

Weeks went by, and no word. I actually forgot about the shoes, and by time I remembered, it was December and I needed my spare cash for gifts. In January I called about the shoes. They had never ordered them, but promised they would. Two weeks later, I called again. A shipment had arrived, but they hadn’t opened it yet. They promised to call. 

The next day I was in Lafayette. I found their SAS shoe store, and the shoes, in my size. I grabbed them while I could.

The shoes are extremely comfortable, but the built in arch support isn’t sufficient for my flat feet. (Nowadays, they say “flexible arches”. It figures that the only flexible part of my body is the part that I would prefer not to have flex.) No problem, I figure. New Balance makes very nice arch supports, thoroughly approved by my podiatrist. So that is what I was doing in the New Balance store today, buying arch supports for my new shoes.

Once I was there, however, I realized I might just as well go ahead and replace my sturdy, if unexciting, athletic shoes. They have been redesigned, I am told. They are lighter yet provide more support. They feel fine on my feet in the store. I am a little disconcerted to see when I get home that the one review of the new model on their website is from a disgruntled nurse who hates them and went back to wearing her old shoes; however, I know from experience that I have one month to take them back if they aren’t suitable.

The inserts I may be stuck with, but that’s okay. Sooner or later I’ll be in the market for another pair of shoes.

*The clodhoppers are New Balance Motion Control running shoes, in which I do not run. For some reason, the NB people advise me to buy them a size larger than my normal shoe size, but they refuse to throw in a red nose and orange wig.

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