I like to think that I walk a marathon every week, which, considering that I log at least 17.5 miles just walking back and forth to work, seems plausible. I probably don't hit the full 26 miles every week, but I come close.
On August 5, I bought a pair of Champion brand "maryjane sneakers" from Payless for $12.
Sometime in mid-September, the velcro holding down the straps came loose, so I sewed it back on.
And about two weeks ago, I started having foot pain.
I think it actually started a bit earlier than that, but I didn't understand what it was; it was taking longer than the usual 1/2 hour for me to walk to work, and my legs were feeling heavier. (This I chalked up to a side effect of what I was reading on the scale.)
Then I started having heel pain in my left foot. Then in both feet. I decided it was time for a new pair of shoes.
First I went to Ecco, mostly because I knew that the Googlers wear Eccos, and Google is pretty much the smartest game going right now. (I wonder what shoes Barack Obama wears?)
I went over my lunch break, which was in retrospect a mistake. I also got a salesguy, who, when I asked if he had any Kriyas in stock, had no idea. "What's a Kriya?" he asked. Then he tried to sell me a pair of Ecco-brand high heels.
I ended up snagging a pair of Ecco Jumps. Not as sexy as the Kriya, but the salesguy couldn't find any. (Note to shoestores: I hate it when you hide your shoes in the back and make us ask for them. I also hate it when your salespeople put the shoes on me. I can do it myself, and better, and six times as fast.)
The first day, the Jumps felt fine. Then the next day I woke up and my feet were in can-barely-walk pain. I limped around for the next three days, trying to break the Jumps in, and only got more and more miserable.
So I went to the other shoe store on my block, a Comfort One outlet. There I got my feet "professionally" analyzed by a fancy machine that told me that my weekly marathon in the Payless Champions had caused problems in both my gait and my heels. (I got to see my feet on a giant screen with the heels lit up in red, and the salesguy asked me "are you having some pain there?")
Long story short, I spent almost two hours at Comfort One talking to the staff (who seem to know more about shoes and feet than Mr. "What's a Kriya?"), and tried on many different pairs of shoes and orthodic insoles in the name of relieving my heel pain, fixing my gait, and avoiding screwing up my "I had foot surgery in January" right big toe. (Boy-oh-boy, spending all that time in those Payless shoes is sounding stupider by the moment.)
And then I tried on the MBTs. I've actually blogged about these shoes before, without realizing it. To quote myself:
[I] wandered into stores and looked at these weird shoes that have soles like rocking-chair balances and claim to add "+9 Resistance To Your Abs, Thighs, And Butt!" (I wanted to take out my pen and add "And Ogres!" to the sign... but resisted. +9 resisted.)
Well, now I am wearing a brand-new pair of MBTs and I too have +9 resistance against thighs, butts, and ogres.
Seriously, team: putting these shoes on was like stepping into a little piece of awesome. All my foot pain instantly disappeared. My posture re-aligned. I can once again clear 2 miles in under 1/2 hour. And every step is... well, the shoes are supposed to simulate walking barefoot on sand, and it's been a long time since I've done that, but it feels right.
The best part, of course, was that I managed to get my pair for half price (current retail price is $260). What I did: I didn't buy any shoes after my two-hour stint in the Comfort One store. First I had to make sure I could return the Eccos, and secondly I had to do some research to make sure the MBTs weren't the foot equivalent of the Master Cleanse. Upon doing my research, I found out something very interesting: this year's MBTs were $260, but last year's models, if they could be found, generally retailed around $120.
So the next day I walked back into that Comfort One and said "I want a pair of MBT Boost Blues in a 38. Do you have that in the back?"
This time, the salesguy knew exactly what I was talking about.
And I am the happiest little walker on the planet.