Monday, January 12, 2009

Shoe Controversy

I'm not very athletic and never have been. That's how I got the nickname "Wimpy"—the mean boys in the neighborhood mocked me because I always lost in lawn races.

So, I don't have running shoes or even sporty shoes other than my cute suede Airwalks. They're gray and comfortable, and I love them. I wear them to the Y because I don't run there—I use weight machines and walk at a comfortable pace.

Imagine my dismay the other day when a couple of good friends ridiculed my shoes and strongly suggested I get running shoes for the sake of my feet—blah, blah, blah. Seriously, I recognize their experience and knowledge and strength of opinion on the subject, but it's debatable as far as I'm concerned.

I came this close to buying running shoes over the weekend, but I was overwhelmed by the process. I know enough about marketing to know that a wall of running shoes at the store is likely full of shoes that are fine but not necessary no matter what the sign says. I also know that different people need different things like arch support or roomy width or cushioned heels. We aren't all built the same, so we can't all need the same shoe.

I also know that for tens of thousands of years people got along just great and ran like the wind without modern technology. And further more, the Maasai are still doing just that. I'd like to see those people react to someone telling them they're ruining their feet and their shins, and they'll wish they had our modern shoes to make life better.

I suppose you could say I have evolved differently from the Maasai hunters, but maybe you could say that my cute suede shoes are just fine for how I use them. We'll see. The next time I meet up with my friends, we'll debate this again, I'm sure. I'll have to read up on the facts so I have something more than a shameful frown and a stammering "but I like my shoes," to present to them.


Rich said...

I prefer to run in my bare feet - usually with a jealous husband chasing me. ;)

dive said...

Hee hee, Rich!

Robyn, just point your friends at the Kenyan long distance runners who regularly trounce the rest of the world.

Whatever your friends or Nike or so-called "sports therapists" might say, you can thank either God or evolution for giving us the perfect running implements.

lynn said...

The Maasai recently came to London to run the Marathon and made it onto the news to an astonished presenter spluttering over the prospect of them running in their native kit. They couldn't understand the fuss and ran like the wind, completing the course, shrugging at the shocked Nikes looking on.
I reckon your cute shoes are fine. Do what you want, Robyn and trust your comfort I say. I wear old trainers (ok they're Nike) which I've had for years. Sports people would recoil in horror.

lynn said...

RICH! :0

Shan said...

It sounds to me like you've been blessed with some pretty good feet if you have gotten by all this time without an extra comfy tennie.

This is indeed controversial!

Of course, I AM a shoe gal and have been through times of sportiness (though never in earnest since puberty.) I DO baby my little(read: ample)diabetic hoofers and try not to challenge them with the wrong shoe during exercise.

You would probably be pleasantly surprised by a running shoe or even just a cross trainer type when it comes to exercise. Those Airwalk type shoes don't really provide the proper support for your body's alignment. Plus they tend to be too heavy-weighted to hold you on a skateboard. You might really benefit from some arch support and extra cushion. I don't suggest going whole hog and having a special fitting or anything. Just try on some that look good to you and get a feel for which brand works with your little (read: little) foot.

This is no place to exercise your inner rebel Robyn. It's just not worth it. ;) A proper shoe could be the only thing standing between you and the next olympic competition!

Scout said...

Rich, you're all talk.

Dive, my point exactly.

Lynn, by "native kit," do you mean in their bare feet or truly native?

Shan, you may have a point as my friends do. But you needn't suggest I have little feet. I proudly walk on planks.

Mark said...

(Harumph!) I remember back when I was a young'n we wore them Converse sneakers with all the support of a worn out door mat. (wheeze) Wore 'em for softball, basketball, soccer, mushroom hunting and biking. But never to church. Kids these days, it's ridiculous. They'll spend on shoes what I did on my first car. (Hack, cough, grumble, toddle off with my cane)