Thursday, September 07, 2006

Shoes take consideration as well

Top left: Keens on the red sand of Sedona, Arizona.
Right: Simple Strappy Sandals with a formal evening dress.

Bottom left: Wearing TEVA leather sandals at the Jamaican market.

Since we were discussing poles let me share shoes. Shoes for the balance challenged take special consideration. Gone are the days of cheap shoes and high heels. You would not believe how hard it is to find a pair of comfortable shoes that look nice to wear with a formal dress!!!!! Fortunately I must have anticipated this struggle in my brain as a year ago I purchased some nice sandals on the REI outlet. The sandals are called "Strappy Sandals" by the brand "Simple" and are the absolute ONLY dress sandals I could find. I am SO glad that I bought them a year ago and never wore them until this June. The straps are velvet leather and the foot pads are a soft cushiony material with a form fitting sole. I went to SEVERAL stores trying to find something white to wear with an ivory dress to no avail! The shoes either had some type of heel, were a flip flop or open heeled shoe, or had a flat sole like a dang board! It REALLY was an impossible find. Since my ivory dress was long and covered my feet, I figured it would not matter to wear these black sandals.

When it is summer and hot, I really do LIVE in the sandals that you see me wearing in the Jamaica picture. I have been wearing them for 3 years and have found nothing else comparable. Unfortunately it looks as if the leather on the straps that fasten is starting to wear out (I have exposed them to salt water kayaking on a couple occassions). They are made by TEVA and I am waiting for them to make a similiar pair of equal comfort (no rubbing or iritation on parts of the feet), are light weight, and have a sole that literally conforms to and is shaped the same as the bottom of your foot.

If you look back in the blog posts to my earlier Arizona pictures you will see that I am pictured wearing them while posing with the skeleton of a Whooly Mammoth at the Mesa Southwest museum last October. I have not posted any yet, but I also wore these sandals exclusively while traveling in London and Italy prior to my treatment in 2004.

In the top photo are my trustly Keen Narhgee shoes. Aside from my REI backpacking boots (a gift in 2002), these are the most expensive shoes I own. It was quite a decision but when it boiled down to it there was no choice. Due to my balance issues I needed a lightweight trail shoe that conformed to my foot but in which I could also feel the contour of the ground through the bottom of my feet. Unfortunately the backpacking boots which I absolutely LOVED became difficult and a challenge for me to wear due to the thick sole and heavier weight. I could not feel the ground through the balls of my feet and thus sense changes in the terrain in order to adjust my footing for optimum balance and to prevent falls.

Now you may also wonder why I did not just by a pair of tennis shoes. Often regular athletic shoes do not have as good of a tread or grip the ground and terrain as well as a trail/hiking shoe. Those that do, run in the same price range as these shoes. Also, due to living in the Pacific NW where we get a good deal of rainfall I needed a shoe that was waterproof. That limits many options and the athletic shoes that have both good tread and waterproof ability sometimes cost more than these shoes.

My shoes I have all purchased at REI because I can taken them home and try them out and return them for a full refund if they do not work out. Most of the shoes I got at the outlet which has free shipping as long as I pick up the order.

Others I wear often:
Merril brown leather dress shoes (slip on but with a heel) for winter
Aididas Running Athletic Shoe (running and training to walk the marathon)

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