Saturday, April 12, 2014

Buying Shoes

Once called tennis shoes, they also may be known as: sneakers; gym shoes; walking shoes; running shoes, or athletic shoes. Whatever they are called, mine had to be replaced.

It's now four years since I developed a balance issue. Not sure why and the doctors (of many disciplines) have not been able to find a reason -- let alone any therapy or chemicals that might mitigate the problem.

One of the first doctor visits recommended walking barefoot to help with balance. It works. Walking barefoot at home is a habit. Beyond home I wear shoes. However, finding a shoe that is "almost bare foot" is difficult to find.

After Christopher McDougall's book Born To Run (published 2009) became a hit,  the shoe manufacturers went after the latest source of new profits. They started making light weight shoes with no raised heel and no arch support that was close to barefoot.

Unfortunately for me, my foot is wider than the standard that is made by the shoe industry. I searched for a shoe that was close to barefoot. Vibram Five Fingers didn't work. Too narrow and getting my toes to separate for "five fingers" just didn't work as easily as was claimed. The Luna sandal works for hot weather, but I would rather not have that thong that goes between the toes.

Finding a shoe for my wide foot for living every day and hiking became a challenge. The finalist in the search for a barefoot style shoe was the New Balance Minimus. My complaint is that they come in day glow colors or something that appears to have come from the clown supply store.  When I asked at a New Balance store why the wild colorful Minimus shoes. The response was that runners like colorful shoes. 

Really. The runner has his plain t-shirt and his dark running shorts. To compliment that "boring" combination, the runner is looking for racing stripes in day-glow colors on his shoes. I doubt it.

The colors of the recently purchased shoes for hiking were black and gray. More black than gray. How about a gray shoe that looks dirty from day one.

For the times when not hiking I have purchased a second pair which glows in the dark -- white on white. Soon they will be gray. It is only a matter of time.

A pox on shoe engineers/designers/color consultants/ and anyone else who had anything to do with making shoes that come in day glow colors. How about a gray shoe.


  1. This is interesting. I've always worried about Katie walking on all the rocks of different sizes during our walks. I know she's a dog, but still. Then when my kids visited at Hot Springs a few weeks ago, I was walking with grandsons, 5 and 9 years old, who were shoeless! No shoes on all those rocks and stickers and twigs, etc. No problems. So now I don't worry about Katie's pads at all.

    My son said there is a movement, some of his friends are doing it, to go back to barefoot running and walking. They are practicing with minimalist footwear to get their feet used to it, going thinner and thinner on the soles of the shoes and hopefully ending up with feet that are able to walk on any surface. I found that interesting.

    Maybe this will encourage footwear manufacturers to make more shoes with very thin soles.

    1. Barefoot running has taken off. The African runners that win races and marathon events grow up without shoes. Run very differently. Shorter strides and land on the whole foot taking advantage of the arch. Most runners hit the ground heel first and that is why most running shoes have lots of cushion for the heel. For a group that does barefoot:

      The almost barefoot approach works for me with little material between me and the ground. The longer I wear a pair of minimalist shoes there is even less material as I wear the sole even more. Unfortunately, the uppers fall apart about the same time so the shoe has to be trashed before I can wear a hole in the sole.

  2. The Asics running shoes I buy come in a variety of loud colors. Last time I bought the quiet color, silver with yellow and melon accents. This time I had to choose between grape with yellow or a metallic mint green with yellow. They also come in pepto bismol pink with teal. The mens shoe of the same name comes in quieter colors, be thankful you don't have to choose from the ladies' selection! While I don't want white or black I've often wondered myself why they don't come in a more subtle neutral color like hiking shoes do.

    1. It seems all manufacturers are in on this color craze. Let's hope it is just a fad. Perhaps there is a business out there. Come up with a permanent dye or stain for those shoes. That might be a future business for me.


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.