Monday, March 20, 2017

Gimme Three Steps...

I was jogging this morning (well, walking with a few short intervals of jogging thrown in, if you need precision there) and thanking the powers that be that I spotted my neighbor's new sneakers the other day. You see, a few months ago, I bought a pair of sneakers at Costco, because I thought MAYBE I would try using them to, oh I don't know, EXERCISE in. Then I put them in my closet and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Because, hey - I do yoga. In bare feet. I do my core exercises. In bare feet. I've hiked mountains at Acadia in my Teva sandals (drives Larry crazy, but hey, it worked). I don't need sneakers to exercise.

And then I went into the city with my son the other day. We saw the Metro train pulling in to the station and decided to run for it. So there I was, feeling every one of my 53 years as I panted toward the escalator at a run (read, slow jog), while my 16-year-old son loped easily along beside me, not breaking a sweat.

It was demoralizing, to say the least.

So I decided that I would work up to running a mile. That's all. No desire here to do marathons (so much wasted knitting time!). I just wanted the ability to run for a train without causing passersby to wonder if they should call 911. Is that too much to ask?

Most mornings this month, after I get up IN THE DARK (I hate you, Daylight Saving Time) to let in the handyman (whose cat gets him up at 4 AM), I've smooshed myself into my power pants and my Wacoal sport bra, laced up my Costco sneakers, and headed out to jog (a little), walk (a lot), and generally just get my heart rate up for a couple of minutes at a time.

It's been hard, I won't lie. I hate it. But I do feel better afterwards, and I am already able to jog a teeny bit further. And no one has called the EMTs on me yet, so that's a plus.

OMG, I'm long-winded today. All this to explain why, when I saw my friend's running sneakers, I realized that I needed their obviously superior support. I mean, I LOVE Costco, but the sneakers I had were not doing it. So I splurged and spent $80 (and that was on SALE) for these special Brooks running sneakers at Amazon. I hated to do it. I had to keep reminding myself that $80 was less than the (at least) 3 doctor appointment co-pays that would be in my future, should I ruin my knees and feet in cheap shoes.

Do you see the mental machinations I have to go through every time I spend money? We HAVE the money now, but years of needed frugality and penny-pinching die hard.

I can't stop talking today. Oh, well...

So, yeah, these sneakers were worth every penny. I can run further. My knees don't hurt. The support is great. Which got me to thinking that it would be a useful PSA to tell women under 45 or 50 that they need to save extra money for when they are older. I mean, maybe you think, "Yeah, I know - retirement, medical bills, trips to see the grandkids..."

Note drywall dust caked onto the floor, upper right 
But that's not what the money is for. The money is for shoes, so you can walk. Seriously. We're talking support. We're talking wide toe boxes. We're talking expensive. I have spent more money on shoes since I turned 47 or so than I had spent in my entire life up to that point. I have to assume I'll be spending $80 to $100 a pair (unless I chance on some FitFlops in my size at Nordstrom Rack, priced at $45 - helloooo, bargain!)

This is a lifestyle change that has been hard for my frugal soul to accept. But without my FitFlops and my Dansko/Sanita clogs and (now) my spiffy Brooks sneakers, I can't get around. My legs get tired, my knees hurt, my right foot goes numb.

Good Lord, I am not even 60 yet. Listen to me, I sound 85. Or, at least, without my price-y shoes, I sound 85. So don't think of them as shoes - think of them as a budget version of the Fountain of Youth. Looking at it that way, the expensive footwear is a downright bargain.

Or that's what I tell myself, anyway...

And today's title is courtesy of this earworm emanating from our handyman's radio at 7:30 this morning:


  1. Those of us older than you are, but with foot problems, have what we call "arrival" or "appearance" shoes. Pretty ones that we love that will get us from the sidewalk right in front of the door to the restaurant we are going to, and where our husband drops us off, to our table in the restaurant. Very few steps in our fancy shoes involved. And then we sit. Reverse process after meal is completed.

  2. I hate paying big bucks for sneakers, but I do it every two years anyway. And the old ones go to my girls, so at least they aren't wasted....

  3. Hey, I went there on shoes with real support some years ago, and I think we're pretty near the same age. Worth every penny.

  4. As a 50 something person who spent my 20s in heels and other bad for my back and feet shoes, I'm with you. Now its Birkenstocks and very expensive trainers.

  5. This is so true! All my youth I went barefoot and wore cheap shoes, but then I got plantar fasciitis and my feet hurt for years before I finally took care of them. I discovered that when my feet hurt I get really snippy at everybody. Now I really pay for good shoes, they make a huge difference! (Both in pain level and my ability to be polite to others).

  6. I'm with you on the shoe thing. It's worth spending money to get good shoes and good underwear. I'm not so sure about Lynyrd Skynyrd at 7:30 AM.

  7. I have those exact same shoes! Love them ��
    Also, last week I went to Payless because I needed a new pair of dress shoes to wear to a wedding reception that evening (and I didn't want to spend much $$) I found a pair I didn't hate and as I was walking to the check stand, the cashier told me that all of the clearance shoes were half off today.
    I put pack the original pair and bought myself 6 pairs of shoes (at $5-$7.50 a pair!) plus another two pairs for my sons who have large feet (large=expensive shoes) (and where else am I going to find two pairs of size 14 men's shoes for $10 each?)
    It's amazing how much more I like the shoes when I don't have to pay as much, even though I could hardly walk back to our car after the wedding reception because they were hurting my feet.

  8. Ugh. I hate that I have to wear supportive shoes everywhere now -except my arrival shoes! Great term! But I consider running (even a slow jog) as a gift. So many of my friends can't do it anymore. It is often... not fun while you are doing it, but the high afterwards! Nothing like it. Enjoy.

  9. Suburban -- I can't figure out how to answer your question via Facebook. My email is You want to be in the Uptown area in Minneapolis or Grand Avenue in St. Paul I can totally fill you in! I just saw your message right now. So please do shoot me an email.

  10. Yes, yes, yes, I wanted to be pain free and went ugly shoe route unless I need dress shoes for an event I tossed the flip flops and went support. This Carolina girl hates wearing shoes all day but I can now do it without screaming inside....

  11. I recently bought a pair of Fly London shoes. On sale, but still crazy pricey. They are amazing!!! I can't deal with the low back pain, soar leg, and achy feet that come with wearing 'cute' shoes, but I've discovered some awesome supportive shoes. I like Naot, Mephisto, Ecco, and some Donald Pliner too. I guess I do other things to screw up my back, because I'm always asking my physical therapist husband to fix me.

  12. On the plus side, the pricey shoes last longer, too. I cannot imagine running in junk shoes. You have to ante up for those tootsies.

  13. Yes, it's important to support your feet properly. After all, think of everything they do for you!
    (Mine hate me, but that's a different story.)