Musings on footwear

I started setting aside the things to donate this weekend and included in the bag two of my favorite pairs of shoes (and a couple pairs of not-favorite shoes). Why, you ask, am I going to get rid of shoes that I love? Well, they’re not good for my feet.

About a year and a half ago, I found Target’s version of Skechers Shape-Ups. I’d seen ads for the Skechers for a while and wondered if they really worked. When I found the Target version on sale, I bought two pairs. I mean, they were half off. And I thought they were cute, if not a little clunky.

I wore these everywhere. To the theme parks, to work, you name it. They were so comfortable; it was like walking on a cloud. My heels didn’t hurt after being on my feet for hours, and it was bliss.

Well, when I started running again, I felt that stabbing pain in my shins when I wore my beloved off-brand Shape-Ups to work the day after training. And try as I might to walk on my heels, my shins kept hurting.

That’s when it occurred to me: Shape-Ups (off-brand or otherwise) don’t let you walk on your heels. Your heel is always elevated a bit above your toes, kind of like walking in heels (but way more comfortable).

Around the same time, I read this article in the New York Times about how high heels can actually lead to more injury (and not just from sprained ankles) for women who wear them all the time. (It also seemed to explain why my stride is so short and why I seem to stomp walk forcefully wherever I go.)

And then I wondered about a study my Vice President passed on to me last November. Apparently, IBM analyzed social media posts about shoes and found that heel heights are declining, or, rather, that women are starting to purchase shoes with shorter heels. This doesn’t mean a gravitation to flats by any means; I mean, the average decrease was only two inches, and, well, two inches off my 5-inch heels is still a respectable three inches.

So, are more women just more aware that heels are bad for them? Are more women discovering their calves hurt after they run or that they’re getting shin splints after working out? Or is this all just coincidental?

Who knows? What I do know is that I went out looking for Keds this weekend and (sadly) didn’t find any in my size, and I’m also on the lookout for a cute pair of black flats.

I’ll keep my favorite pair of heels for a while, and I’m definitely not ready to ditch my boots. But, yeah, I’m okay with the idea of switching to flats for the benefit of my health.

My poor (6’5″) husband will just have to get used to having a super-short wife.


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