From the Blog

Regretful Footwear Purchase?

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Yesterday, I bought these for $100…

To go inside them, I bought these for $40…

All because of these…*

I have bad feet. Flat, wide duck feet with fallen arches. Besides not being able to wear cute, dainty shoes, it wouldn’t be a problem. Of course, not being able to wear cute shoes really IS a big fricken problem. I’m a girl. Life without cute shoes is a PROBLEM.

But the bigger issue is that fallen arches have caused me a lot of pain through the years. It started in track during my brief flirtation with athleticism in 7th grade. I couldn’t figure out why my feet hurt so much after practice. We went to the doctor, I was declared to have flat feet, and was given custom molded, hard plastic inserts for my shoes. They were impossibly uncomfortable, and I never used them. My feet have been a problem ever since.

Now, I have a theory about why I may have flat feet. I was a bit unusual as a kid, in that I was a girl, but I was immensely proud that I had big feet. I went through a very quick, intense growth spurt. I was a tall, skinny kid. And I was a dork. I regularly received comments about my freakishly large, out-of-proportion feet. I thought they were compliments. Alas, I was never a bright child.

So I always wore sneakers that were TOO BIG. I figured that I was growing so quickly, I’d grow into them. Though the course of my developmental years, I was always wearing shoes that were too big. Now I have flat, floppy, pancake feet. It’s science.

I was in drum corps and marching band as a kid, and my foot issues persisted. I worked in restaurants and waited tables in my early twenties and my feet always hurt. I was a crabby, cranky waitress. Then I began working in offices and ceased all exercise-type behavior, and my foot problems seemed to disappear. Problem solved!

Except now, when I want to say, walk, or something for more than 15 minutes, my feet give me problems. Just regular walking. 30 minutes of walking makes me feel like someone beat the bottoms of my feet with hammers. An hour of walking, just plain walking, makes me feel like I’ve endured a POW session of bastinado. I am forever in a state of looking for shoes with stability and arch support.

Now. I want to start walking to work. Actual physical exercise. It’s a bit over 3 miles. I have been wanting to do this for a while. I need to incorporate some regular movement for my flabby ass. Because Portland has a lot of tater tots. And I really love tater tots.

The problem that I’ve had, is that even after a little walking, my stiffest, most supportive shoes begin to hurt. I have used various arch supports and inserts. None are all that great. I have been window shopping various athletic shoes, and researching online in a very uncommitted sort of way. I knew it was probably going to be expensive to get a decent pair of sneakers. And because I’m broke, I hesitated to lay out the cash.

Plus, I have a problem with athletic shoes. They are all very shiny, brightly colored, over-engineered, and plasticky. They are tacky as hell. There is no such thing as new, “understated” sneakers. They are all aggressive and showy. Like, “We’re fucking exercising over here, motherfuckers!”

All this has created a delay in my “get regular exercise” plan. I was being thwarted by an equal virtuous/guilty impulse to save money. Until yesterday. I bought some damn shoes. And I bought some damn inserts. I didn’t go to Nordstrom’s Rack or DSW Shoes. I never have any luck in those places. I went to a running shoe store. I had someone help me. I tried on a few different pairs of very ugly sneakers. Some felt better than others. None of them had great arch support without the the additional inserts.

I bought them. I finally bit it. It was $140. I woke up in a sweat thinking about it. The holidays are coming up. And I have a couple birthdays in the coming weeks also. I had just finished saying that I wasn’t making any purchases for myself until after the holidays. These sneakers are also ugly as shit.

But I want to walk to work and not hurt like an old lady when I get to the office. I’d like to get more exercise. I’d like to have a reliable pair of shoes for when I know I’m going to be on my feet. I’d like to be able to eat as many goddamned tater tots as I please.

My deep, ever-present money guilt may get the better of me, and I may come to regret getting these sneakers. I can’t remember the last time I spent that much money on a pair of shoes. But that’s why I didn’t have a single pair that I could walk in. And perhaps that will be my motivator to walk to work every day.

*Despite the apparent photographic evidence, I don’t have fricken cankles.


  1. After posting this, we went on a three hour walk. I wore my new sneakers with the inserts.


    I still hurt, but it’s a “damn, you’re a fat ass” hurt and not as much a horrible foot hurt.

  2. Who knew feet could be so funny?

    I just bought some Asics and they make my lungs hurt when I use them. Stupid shoes.

    Hey, have you got yourself a Twitter account yet? Hmmm? The world could use a bit more snark, in 140 characters or less.

  3. Cankles!! I learned that word recently! It’s a great word! Sneakers are supposed to be all glittery and alarming. You get used to them. Good, supportive shoes are important. It was a good purchase.

  4. feet issues suck. achilles tendon problems suck. Earth shoes were my salvation. they told me i had flat feet when i was in HS (“they” being evil podiatrists)… now it seems i don’t have flat feet at all. Earth shoes are the bomb. although i didn’t care for their “sneakers”. all of their basic mary jane and sandal types have been great so far. i also like Keen brand. Surprisingly enough, for long walks on river paths, my hiking boots work best.

  5. Excellent point, SMM. My sneakers make my lungs hurt too! Must be a factory defect!

    Kelli, I will check out Earth shoes. Hippies don’t wear them, do they?

    Meredith, thanks for the support, lil sis.

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