Shoes… For some they are addiction, for others useless.
I started studying shoes and their history, by pure accident. I’ve been reading running related books the past 6 months, and usually there is something about shoes. But once I got injured I really wanted to know more, and with good luck I happened to buy a book that is more than amazing and really goes from only preventing injuries and knowing how to this or that, to more about where shoes came from and why you use this or that shoe, the history, a lot of very good info. Also while being sick the past weeks, I have been watching many documentaries about shoes and their history (gotta love Netflix).
All this new information has made me think, really, what I put on my feet and why. For me this all started from an injury but now it’s a lot more. I feel that I just want to get rid of all those shoes that are pure evil to my feet and by wearing them, I’m also hurting my body without realizing it.
I was thinking about what kind of shoes I have been wearing in my past, childhood, teenage years and so on. The main thing that I, to my sadness, realized that I used usually too small shoes, like really small. It was more about how they looked than the fact that they just didn’t fit. And maybe it’s part of being a girl, but I liked to look down and see small feet… I know that some other girls do that too. I also remember this thing that I had when I was younger and mostly used skate shoes, that they always got bigger with use, so I bought a little too small pair and then after some, painful, time they would get “perfect”. There was also times when through my work I got sample shoes, and I took them, but they were sooo small. But they were free! So I did use them, pain and all.
I remember hating if shoes felt loose, for me it had to be snug, snugger the better… But that is just plain stupid! And now I’m paying the prize for those awesome decisions. My other heel looks like some dinosaurthing and I’ve only lost one toenail during my last years running in too small shoes. Those are the “small” problems, the bigger ones are inside my body.
I first injured my knees back when I was running track, around 13 years old. That and the lack of interest in recovery training made my whole back go all wonky, and that in the end made my hips hurt and had to get some orthopedics. But my use of too small shoes did not end there, why would it?
At the moment, after few other injuries, my left side is way weaker than my right. When I last time injured my knee few years ago in my bike messenger days, my orthopedist said that because I’ve been walking all wrong for so many years, the problem with my knee is going to go up to my hips and lower back at some point, and did it! Hell yeah, all out and pulling all the stunts while at it!
Running has been the first thing that actually has really helped with my lower back problems and with that hips too. But I’m still really lopsided.
But the questions that I have been asking myself is that why would you do something like that to yourself? I would say that 100% vanity. There is no other reason that comes to my mind when I think about it. And that is sad!
After learning more and more about what is good and what is bad for your feet and through them to your whole body, I’ve really wanted to change that. I love how my toes are free to move, sideways, in my shoes that are the right size. I love that the shoes don’t feel uncomfortable but actually nice. With time I would love to start using less and less supported shoes, and I don’t mean only running shoes, but all. By supported here I mean overly thick soles, not so much running shoes related support. I also kind of want to ditch any high heels, the idea of doing that to my feet make me grin.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really want to start wearing some weird looking “health” shoes either, but I will start actually think what I put on my feet. I might even sometimes put high heels on, but also think about their size first.
Most of all I want to get my body at least little bit more in balance, not be this lopsided anymore. It’s not even that hard, I just have to do the training…
I also know now that what I should think and not think when choosing shoes. I am extremely grateful to my Mom, who always said that you should walk as much as you can without shoes and socks. With that in the back of my head, I have always hated using shoes inside and as soon as I can, I will take them and my socks off :).
Below is the book that has opened my eyes, and is also really good read, not only for runners. I recommend!