When I was in 7th grade, a bunch of my classmates and I walked to visit our 6th grade teacher, Mr. Peca, at his home near the airport outside Binghamton, NY. The trip was nearly ten miles (16 km) each way. By the time I got home, my shoes were ruined because my heel was worn down at a 30 degree angle.
I was 15 or 16 when I got mild frostbite on my feet while caroling. By mild, I mean I cried only a little when they thawed out.
I’ve gotten shoes that supposedly give better support, but all they do is hurt my feet, and eventually, my back.
Ultimately, my solution has been to wear sneakers as much as possible. Even at work, I wear some brand called Rockport, which is a quasi-dressy black sneaker, essentially.
I remember when I went on JEOPARDY! in 1998. During the rehearsal, I was wearing my red Chuck Taylor sneakers, but for the actual games, I yielded to convention and wore this hard-soled, nicely polished black shoes I was convinced to buy shortly before. To this day, I thought wearing them was detrimental to my play, standing there for thirty minutes at a time, and while I won the first game, my concentration was somewhat diminished for the second. (Which is taking away nothing from my worthy competitors.)
We went to visit my cousin for Thanksgiving and then went into the City (that’s New York City) and spent time with my niece, her husband and their friends. I didn’t wear my Chucks because I feared my feet would get cold, wet and possibly frostbitten, based on the forecast. The only other thing I had to wear were these work boots, hard soled things. We walked all over Manhattan, and I was miserable, in constant pain, including a blister that developed on the side of my left foot.
The next day, I wore my wife’s sneakers, which were tight, but a whole lot more comfortable than the work boots to walk in. Hey, I’m not proud.
When we got home, I dug out this coupon from L.L. Bean I had had since March 2013. I had bought soft-soled boots from them in March 1999 at the store in Maine, but the sole started separating from the heel, and they were not fixable. The coupon was for the full purchase price, though, of course, the ones I bought in December 2013 were WAY more expensive. But they are warm, and, as important, comfortable to walk in for distances.
That same week, The Wife got me a “better” pair of sneakers, one with greater support. I hate spending money on them, because they don’t seem to last much longer than my canvas Chuck Taylors, but we shall see.