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Be My Valentine...Get Me Good Shoes That Fit.

 

Is it a sign that I am getting older? When my sweetheart asked what I would like for Valentines Day, I responded "Shoes." Can an AARP membership be far behind?

Not just any shoes, but good shoes that fit well.

This brings up two questions:

1. What constitutes a good shoe? And

2. How do I know if it fits correctly?

To give the first question historical perspective, footgear has been made out of just about everything imaginable. Archeologists have found that early humans covered their feet with the hides of animals.

The Dutch were famous for making shoes out of wood. They weren't known for being able to sneak up on people. Ancient Chinese used to bind young girls' feet in an attempt to keep them smaller because they thought tiny feet were more attractive. From literature we know that Dorothy wore ruby slippers on her journey to OZ. Now, I am not an expert on gems but I think that shoes made out of precious metals or gems would probably not be flexible enough to maintain a normal walking gate, to say nothing of the fact that unless you were accompanied by an armed guard, you would probably make the acquaintance of some unsavory character who would want to take them from you.

Speaking of unsavory characters, if you believe urban lore, mob hit men made custom fitted shoes out of cement that recipients found were difficult to swim in.

Those of us who lived through the sixties remember when hippies even made sandals out of used tire tread. If you were one of those hippies and consumed the hallucinogenic drugs of that era you will just have to take our word for it because you may not remember. Try to visualize your feet during your next "acid flash back."

Recently some children's shoes were made out of plastic of one form or another. This is about as healthy as putting your feet in Zip Lock bags.

Then of course there was the Arab fundamentalist who went by the name of Richard Reed. Mr. Reed seemed to think that shoes made out of plastic explosive would be an interesting fashion statement. As a member of the podiatric medical profession I find this professionally offensive. Why abuse feet? The last time feet were insulted this badly was when they tried to change everything over to the metric system, and do away with feet all together.

So who had the best material? That's right, the cave dwellers that used skins of animals. In today's vernacular we call them leather shoes. A leather shoe actually has pores. It is far and away the best material to use to make footgear.

Let me respond to question number two, regarding proper fitting shoes with a portion of an open letter to Cinderella's evil stepsister. (As you read this you must think of the voice and accent that Joan Rivers would use):

Girl!!!

Please! (Pronounced Pah leeeezz)

I know you are trying to fit that fat ugly foot of yours into that glass slipper...to get the kingdom and the castle with the Jacuzzi and all. Don't do it. He's Not Worth It.

Listen honey, there are other princes and other kingdoms but you have only two feet and unless you have some ancestors who were starfish, you aren't going to grow any new ones.

Ms. Rivers is correct. The potential negative side effects of wearing ill fitting shoes supersede any perceived positive, even if the shoes look really good with your outfit. (Sorry ladies).

Rules for Fitting Shoes: Please feel free to cut this out and tape it to your refrigerator.

1.Feet Swell. Always try new shoes on late in the day. Late afternoon or evening is best, as our feet swell a full size during the course of the day.

2.Forget the Size. As hard as shoe manufactures try to be consistent it is virtually impossible. Every shoe has to be evaluated on it's own feel.

3.Check the Length. Feel for the bunion joint (the prominent joint behind the big toe). It is the widest part of the foot. It should be at the widest part of the shoe. Do not try to feel for the tips of the toes.

4.Check the Width. Using your thumb and index finger, from side to side squeeze and try to pucker up the extra material. You should be able to is pucker up one half inch. If it tight as a drum, the shoe is too tight. If you can pucker up one inch it is too loose.

5.Trace Your Foot. If you have any doubt of proper fit using the above criteria, place your bare foot on a piece of paper and outline it with a pen. Cut it out and place your paper foot against the bottom of any shoe you are considering. It should be very close to the same size.

So remember, get your sweetheart good shoes for Valentine's Day instead of chocolate or other sweets and you will simultaneously reduce your need to visit your Dentist or your Podiatrist.


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