Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sole Support

Not really sole support. Shoes are about sole protection from natural elements like sharp stones or goat heads which are found in the plains and mountains of the west. Comfort is no shoes at all -- barefoot. Inside Wandrin Wagon. Outside not so good.

The barefoot craze started with Christopher McDougall's Born To Run. (My mini review of the book.) With barefoot not an option and to get foot protection, I endure the ordeal of getting a good shoe fit. Foot pain and discomfort are great incentives to achieve a comfortable shoe.

Unfortunately, the inexpensive China Inc. manufactured shoes don't provide that comfort. Some people -- like Boonie -- can purchase those shoes and walk out the store with a new spring in their step. Not me. For me it is OUCH. Actually, the shoes don't get out the store with me.

My first hiking shoes were purchased in the early/mid 1980s. As the soles wore away due to hiking, the shoes required new soles and heels. Done several times until the mid 1990s. Unfortunately, after ten tears of poor shoe maintenance on my part, the uppers of the shoe were worn so the cobbler could not repair them -- or resole them.

In the 1990s, it was the throw away hiking shoe. No more resoling of a comfortable shoe. With REI's generous return policy, it was several false starts with other hiking shoe brands. Eventually, I ended up with Merrell. It is the one hiking shoe that is comfortable walking out the door.

Although my exploring shoes (known as tennies or gym shoes when I was a kid) may be made by China Inc., the 2E width is not a popular option. The sizes might include D and 4E. So over the past decade -- perhaps longer -- I have found that I can always get New Balance shoes (in the 2E size) to fit. Always about $100 a pair, at least I can walk in comfort.

Sandals.... Too much leather on most sandals. A sandal is a flip flop that would stay on my feet -- a strap across the heel and instep. Took two/three years to find the Teva Zilch. I can actually run (not done often) in the shoe. With little material compressing the ball of the foot, it is very comfortable. The shoe is pretty close to barefoot with a 3/8 inch sole and no raised heel or instep. Great shoe -- for summer -- or extended winter stays in Palm Springs. 

A normal foot would mean less expensive footwear purchased at Walmart -- like Boonie. However, Wandrin Lloyd has never been considered normal. Yup. Includes abnormal feet.


  1. HI Lloyd,

    If you like going barefoot inside the trailer, why not try Vibram 5 fingers (

    Or have you already done so and found them wanting?


  2. I've got bad feet too. Merrills were good for me for a long time but now, even they do not have enuf cushioning for the balls of my feet. It is really limiting my hiking ability. :-(

  3. Leah and Richard,
    It's been a couple of years, but I did try them. Couldn't get a fit that didn't hurt or compressed the ball in some way.


Anonymous comments are no longer allowed. Regardless, comments are appreciated. Sometimes there may be a response from Wandrin Lloyd. Sometimes not. Regardless. Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts. Leave a comment or send WandrinLloyd an email. Note: Ads disguised as comments will be deleted.