Friday, April 18, 2014

Have you Dyed Your Easter Feet Yet?


Feet are like poop. 

Some people are completely disgusted by feet (and poop), and others are fascinated by them. There seems to be no in-between.

Why am I writing about feet, you ask?

First, I've already written about poop. (Still one of my favorite columns, if I do say so myself).

Second, a fellow Wood Badge participant (Boy Scouts) was lamenting not having worn arch supports or of taking good care of her feet during her mis-spent youth (not really mis-spent. I just like how literary that sounded. Actually, she's an upright citizen and a great person)

Third, I recently purchased sneakers for my kids and it was almost impossible to find shoes to fit either kid properly, and it WAS impossible to find shoes for myself.

Whether you call them Tennis shoes, Tennies, Runners, Running shoes, Sneakers, Athletic shoes, gym shoes, it depends upon what part of the country you're from.  No matter what you call them, they need to be supportive and prevent injury from the ways we torture our feet.

I USED to have AAA feet-super narrow, size 10 feet. 
Then, I had kids.
Now I have high arches, bunions, and wide toe box type of feet.

My daughter has Peruvian feet. Wide, flat, but in a larger size than most woman of Peruvian descent. Women's sneakers do not fit her.

My son has In-toeing, narrower feet and wears out the inside of the heels of his shoes as a result. 

We all need good shoes.

I need men's sneakers because they are wider in the toe box to contain the destruction wrought by carrying two children and the subsequent weight gain.

I never wore heels. Not because I'm tall, (I am, but that is not why). I never wore them because they HURT. 

Heels are a form of torture brought about by a male centric society that values people of height, and women in heels. Both. 

(I'd better stop now or I'll go on and on in some long-winded rant about how society needs to be changed one heel at a time, in order to equalize the world for women all over. )

So, here's the thing. I spend more money on my kid's foot gear than I do on clothes. Or food. Or hair styling products.

 I shop at Tar-jay or goodwill for bargains on clothes that they will outgrow in 3 months. 

It may be a throwback to my grandmother's depression era rant about how her feet were ruined by having to wear hand-me-down shoes, but mostly I think it's because I look at the ravages of time on feet ALL DAY LONG.  I would rather spend money to prevent curled up hammertoes and bunioned feet than to have my kids in stylish but useless foot gear.

I do NOT get grossed out by anything anymore. 

People apologize ALL THE TIME for not having gotten a pedicure before their appointment.

GUESS WHAT? I DON'T CARE!! In fact, I'd rather you didn't. I need to look at the nails, the cuticles, the nailbeds, the fungus between your toes, your calluses and bunions. It's what I do. 

BUT--I beg of you, please buy good fitting foot gear for yourself and your kids. I WILL look at that. I might even comment--For example:

 "Those shoes are shot. You need wider shoes with better arch supports, less flexibility and better cushioning. And if you wear them every day, you need to replace them every six months." 

I know of what I ask.

It is nigh to impossible these days to find sneakers that actually are supportive. I was at an unnamed athletic shoe store and it's sister store in a nearby mall recently. Most of the sneakers had no cushioning in them. They had a few that were supportive with excellent insoles and arches. It was maddening trying to find a pair that were in my or my kids sizes.

After I shelled out a small fortune to get my two kids some decent sneakers, they both commented on how much better the ones I chose felt than the ones they had chosen.

They were, however, lacking that "cool" factor. They weren't fluorescent orange and green, with undulating springing soles that had built in music systems and disco balls. 

But their feet won't be gross in forty years. I hope. 

Okay, go get a piece of brown paper, like a paper bag, and put it on the floor. Wet the bottoms of your feet, and stand on the paper. What do you see?  Do you see a practically full footprint with minimal or no curve where the arch should be? Then you have flat feet, and possibly pronation-or in-rolling  of your ankle joint. THAT causes all kinds of problems, like ankle pain, plantar fasciitis, knee, hip and low back pain. When your ankles roll in or pronate because of flat feet, it causes malalignment of your whole leg, hip and back, wear and tear of the joints and arthritis. Ugh.

Do you have a narrow imprint of the outside of your foot and nothing on the inside of the arch? You have HIGH arches.

Walking shoes are stiffer, running shoes are more flexible, but dress shoes also need to be stiff. Pick up your shoe and hold the heel and the toe box and twist them in opposite directions. Do they twist easily? Then they are flexible. Not great for American feet. Is it challenging to twist them? They are better.

There should be a thumb's width of room between the end of your shoe and your great toe. The shoes should not pinch anywhere, and the heel should not slip off. The old rule of breaking in shoes is defunct. They should fit right out of the box.

Go get fitted in a store where a knowledgeable shoe salesperson works. Remember that the shoe size may not be the same between brands, or even shoes of the same brand. Make sure they're comfortable and they fit properly, no matter the number on the box.

Here is my contribution to EASTER FEET!
Feet:  Dipped in water and food coloring for that special FESTIVE EASTER feet Look.
Decorated by:  Daughter and her Bestie, and Moi.
I especially would like you to take notice of the Easter Walrus. Daughter says that the Easter Bunny is retiring and The Easter Walrus is taking over.

And here is my Long Suffering Esther in her Easter Ears.