When you plan to walk over 200 miles in 14 days, your feet all of the sudden start getting a lot of attention.
Last week Griffin and I went to buy a pair of sturdy walking shoes. We knew they had to be ventilated, we knew they had to be relatively lightweight, and we knew they had to have tons of support. After trying on a few styles, we both (literally) walked away from the shoe store wearing Merrell hiking shoes.
Griffin loves his shoes (although, because he is prone to flat feet he will be using an insert.) Me? Not so much. I have a narrow heel and a wide toe area. When I get shoes wide enough for my toes, my heel swims in it. And of course when I get shoes to fit my heel, then my toes rub.
After walking all weekend in my hiking shoes, my feet hurt. A lot.
You see along with my Lyme arthritis, I’ve had a total of 22 orthopedic operations on my body as a result of being hit by a car when I was a youth. I compensate for my left side – the side most damaged by the accident (and which is why my right foot always hurts more) and I pronate something fierce. I’m beginning to think that this walk may not be as comfortable as I thought it would be.
So it was back to the shoe store to talk to the (very helpful) shoe clerk. She suggested an even lighter shoe that was made for shock – a runner’s shoe. Problem is that along with all my other problems I have some balance issues (people always think I’m drunk when I’m just trying to walk.) I can’t use any narrow based running shoes as they end up being too “tippy.”
Saucony came to the rescue with a wide based running shoe (actually it looks like a cross trainer to me.) I had to get a wide shoe size which of course meant that my heel is loose, but I’ve just ordered inserts which should help the problem.
After walking around in them for a few days, while I do have some foot pain, it is not nearly at the level I had with the hiking shoes (which I’m not getting rid of, just modifying them with inserts and will save them for later.)
So it looks like I’ll be wearing my Saucony and Griffin will be wearing his Merrell. (And I’ll also be packing lots of Motrin – not stupid.)
Oh and about that little balance problem of mine? I’ve started walking with hiking poles and THEY MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE. Poles take a little getting used to (a few walks that’s all) but I can’t tell you how much they’ve already helped with my balance, form and even pace. So many times they have helped me keep my balance on uneven ground. You don’t need to buy the most expensive ones (mine are LIFE IN MOTION and they are mid-range) you just need to get a pair that work for you. And these work for me.
As far as this walk is concerned, I won’t be leaving home without my Saucony shoes and my hiking poles (and Motrin.)
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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One response to “Lesson 1407 – What shoes to wear on a Border-to-Border walk”
Surprised you can use Motrin. Maya and I are both sensitive to Ibupropren: it gives us mouth sores and headaches. Excedrin has been my go-to for years. But, can’t use that for more than 4 days straight without withdrawal. Gosh, what to do?
I think Catherine also wears Saucony shoes. I might have to look them up.
Good luck on this adventure!