Thursday, March 25, 2010

Learning to Walk: The Barefoot Movement

I have long had a problem with shoes. I remember well the joy of summers as a kid when my feet were only forced into shoes on weekly trips to town and most of my time was spent running free in my bare feet. When summer would come to an end, my shoes would be long outgrown, and a trip to the store to purchase a new pair or two for school would be called for.

Oh, how I hated those trips! Shoes never fit me right. They were uncomfortable. My feet were too wide and fat and short. I hated arch supports. They were so uncomfortable, and it seemed that all of the shoes but the cheapest would have them, and the cheapest shoes were so unfashionable, and in my school, people with the wrong shoes were teased mercilessly.

Fast forward to my adult years. With weight gain and stretched connective tissue from six pregnancies, my feet were harder to find shoes for than ever. Add to that, the fact that I am a pedestrian at heart, and you can start to see where my problem with footwear comes from. Dress shoes are impossible to find. For ages, I have been wearing white or black sneakers with my dresses on fancy occasions. Even wide width sandals aren't wide enough for my feet, and although I have been able to find some sneakers that I can wear, they have never been comfortable.

A couple of years ago, something happened that changed the way I viewed footwear. My girlfriend offered me the chance to wear her slightly too large slip on shoes one day at the beach when I didn't have my shoes with me. They were slightly too narrow although a couple of sizes too big, but stretchy enough that I could get my feet into them. Wow! They were comfortable. They had extremely flexible soles, and it was almost like I wasn't wearing shoes.

Unfortunately those shoes wore out, and I couldn't find anything similar. In my search for perfection, I wandered into the men's section and found some size 9 black slip on's that would have to do. They didn't have flexible soles, and they felt rather like I was wearing a cardboard box on my foot, but they were large enough that I had enough width and a couple of inches past my toes to get that barefoot feel. This spring they were wearing out, and I knew I needed something new, but I couldn't bear to buy another pair of those "cardboard boxes."

Enter Soft Star Shoes. My very generous girlfriend purchased a pair of adult ramblers for me. Wow! They are unlike any shoes that I have ever worn before. I will be doing a more detailed review in another entry, but I just want to say that wearing them is awfully close to going barefoot with the protection and grip of a rubber sole.

Since getting the soft star shoes, I have been doing a little research and have found that it is now known that shoes basically make you walk wrong, even high tech running shoes (especially high tech running shoes.) If you want to know more, check out this link!

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