With my upcoming trip to Israel in mind and knowing that I’ll be doing a lot of walking, I’ve been thinking about what shoes I have that would be suitable. This usually wouldn’t be a difficult question to answer. However, in the last few months I’ve stopped wearing black (which was very major for me since for years the staple of my wardrobe has been black) and instead have been wearing brown as a replacement base color, which means that almost all of my shoes and boots no longer are a good match. Due to the nature of how I like to shop (very frugally) and the kind of shoes I like to buy (good quality), it can take me months to find shoes that I want at the thrift store that are the right size, style, color, and in excellent condition.
This was never an issue until I suddenly decided that none of the shoes I’ve accumulated over time were going to be worn by me anymore. I was fortunately able to find one nice and comfortable pair of brown dress shoes (Naturalizer) but wanted to keep them for Shabbos use, so I really needed something else for daily wear.
I solved this several weeks ago by buying three more pairs of shoes even though they didn’t meet all of my criteria; I got one pair daily casual, one pair for daily or dress (Clarks), and one pair of sneakers to accomodate the needs of my trip (Land’s End). They all look good, are decent quality, and were in like-new condition. But none of them are super comfortable for lots of walking, though they’re fine for my regular needs. If you’re wondering why I bought them, it was because I was in a situation of something pretty good being better than a perfect pair of nothing. (Lest you think that I was burning dollar bills up, I paid less than $20 for the three pairs combined.)
Every time I think about what to pack for my trip, I start wondering if I should wear my comfy Clarks black flats or wear one of the newer brown pairs that is less comfortable, and since I don’t like not matching and I don’t like being uncomfortable, neither choice was appealing. I know that may sound petty or superficial, but I’m just being honest.
So you can imagine how glad I was to end my dilemma today! Today when I did my monthly shopping, dd14 and I stopped into a couple of thrift stores. We both were pleased with how we did, but I was most happy about a pair of shoes I bought – just what I needed! I got a pair of brand-new Earth shoes that will be perfect for lots of walking. It was on the expensive side for shoes at a thrift store, but since they usually cost about $100, I didn’t think 10.97 was unreasonable. 😛
The reason I knew what Earth shoes were when I saw these was that my mother used to wear them back in the late seventies/early eighties. The idea behind them is the heel is a few degrees lower than the front of the foot, which stretches muscles in the leg and improves posture since it forces you to stand at a better angle.
They’re supposed to be extremely comfortable as well as being good for your foot, but I wasn’t sure when I tried them on that I liked how they felt. I walked back and forth for a bit, and after deciding I’d buy them, did something I never have done before – I kept wearing them as I did the rest of my shopping (the cashier was fine with it). My feet felt strange – not comfortable, but not in pain – I couldn’t tell if it was a good thing or not, but I didn’t feel like taking them off. I wore them for the rest of the day, and after I got home, I checked their website and found they recommend that you only wear them for an hour the first day, then build up over the next few days by wearing them an hour more each day, to give your muscles a chance to acclimate. (This is the same advice about Vibrams, which I don’t own but researched extensively, so I’m familiar with this idea.)
Even though they don’t yet feel perfect, I’m confident that within the week they will, and I’m so glad to have them them! You know, an advantage of thrift store shopping that I’ve never seen mentioned but often experienced is that you can really feel how providentially you are sent just what you need just when you need it!