"Your disciples are riddled with metaphors...", Rivals, Pearl Jam.
As a male of the species I’ve always made the purchase of shoes as short an event as possible. I see something I like the look of, perhaps (rarely) try one on, then throw the cash over the counter and exit explosively from the shop with my brand new footwear bagged and beloved.
Yes, I love new shoes, I just hate the trauma of buying them.
The First wear can be a difficult time for all involved. Often the feet are so stubborn they find it hard to adjust to the new and equally stubborn shoes. There is a conflict that occurs which can sometimes last an aeon, where foot and shoe try to reshape each other until a middle ground is achieved. We all dream of obtaining something that looks great on the outside and inside which your tootsies feel completely at home.
The problem is that no two pairs of shoes are alike. You will - at some point in your life - undoubtedly have lived in one pair for a long time and your feet will have become accustomed to them. Come the time to let go it can be devastating. Once the feet get comfortable and snug in that old faithful pair they can become hard to live with, often refusing to give in to new footwear without drawing blood. And whilst that old worn in pair may not be as exciting anymore, they are more often than not a great companion fit for almost any job, ie, grabbing something from the garage, walking the dog or mowing the lawn, but they fall short of being a "best" anymore. Oh the heartache.
So often I have bought shoes which I thought were fantastic only to find that I couldn’t wear them for long periods (or even short ones) without excruciating pain. Blisters the size of leeches (or is it lichees?) on the back of the heel or on top of the big toe is no fun at all, that upsets everyone involved. Even plasters or a good pair of socks couldn't mediate. It’s like cutting the nose off to spite the face. Except feet don’t have noses. Or faces for that matter. On tv once I saw a mouse with an ear on it’s back (in the name of science apparently) and that was disturbing.
All my life I’ve made the same mistake, rushing into a commitment of payment in exchange for eye candy footwear that looked like it’d be perfect for my size nine and a bit flippers. Whatever the season, whatever the need I’ve always been too hasty. I remember some holiday sandals I bought once which made me bleed for the first three days, ruining my vacation from the off and upsetting all who came into eye contact with the horrors at the end of my legs. No, the bottom end.
I always seem to get shoes that affect me in the same places on my feet too. Funny that no matter what I go for they always give me the same grief.
There is a lesson in all this though.
From now on I intend to try on - at length - every pair of shoes that I like the look of. I’m going in with an open mind and not just going for something because I think it will be a good fit. I’m going to consider my poor feet first and all that they’ve been through. I’m going to change my perspective and not go for the same thing over and over. There is a shoe made for me, my feet will slide effortlessly inside them and they will welcome my aching toes and heels with a soft and comforting embrace. I know that after walking a trench into the shop’s floor and frustrating the hell out of the poor assistant I will find my perfect match shoes and I will walk on a happy and contented man for the rest of my days.
Footnote: Like some of my friends I'm actually enjoying the sensation of bare feet at the moment!