By Lee Ann Hazelrigg
We all have them. And they are all different. I was born with funny feet. Not funny looking feet, but hard-to-find-comfortable-shoes feet. My husband can put on any pair of shoes right out of the box, walk around the Magic Kingdom twice, and have no hot spots. I, on the other hand, can’t walk around our small dollar store without getting the beginnings of a blister regardless, of how broken-in or what kind of shoes they are.
My last pair of name-brand cross trainers was falling apart and I needed something for an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World. I finally broke down and sought the advice of my mother-in-law. She’s 74 years old and runs marathons. And she works in a running store. So I figured she would know something about feet. Turns out she does! (This particular store doesn’t carry cross trainers or walking shoes. Their philosophy is you can walk and run in running shoes. You can’t run in walking shoes.)
The first thing she did was measure my shoeless feet. They are close to being the same size but not exactly the same. Then she had me walk around the store so she could watch how I walked. Once she knew what kind of arch I had, she disappeared to the back room where the running shoes are kept. A parade of running shoes made their way out of the stock room. Every brand you can name and then some. I tried them all on to find that perfect shoe—the glass slipper of running shoes. It took awhile, but I found it. The one I ended up purchasing is a Japanese brand and I had to buy an entire size larger than what I would have normally purchased.
The next step, according to my marathon-running mother-in-law, is socks. She told me that socks are as important as shoes. As we looked at the array of socks on the sock wall, she suggested socks that wick away moisture. I picked a brand that has “air conditioning” built into them, and chose a size based on my shoe size. My wise mother-in-law told me to wash the socks first, which I did. I was horrified when they came out looking like children’s socks. My shoe expert says this is so the sock fits the foot very closely with no extra fabric floating around or bunched up in the shoe to cause blisters.
And she was right. I haven’t had a problem since.
I wore the new shoes and socks around the house for two weeks until my shoe-and-sock guru said to take them outside. So I went for a walk and…nothing bad happened to my feet! I plan to buy a new pair about every other year. They aren’t cheap but I have built the cost into our vacation budget.
So the moral of the story: seek the advice and help of a professional if you are having problems with your feet and shoes. It’s so worth it. And while you’re cruising around the park on vacation, your feet will thank you.