The Importance of Shoes

The right shoe makes a big difference
Right now, I'm doing an 8 week challenge to lose 5% of my body weight and I just finished week 2 of the challenge being 4 lbs down. I'm feeling great, but it isn't without it's challenges. Especially when it comes to my feet.

First I tweaked my knee working out. I had just purchased a pair of Nike Musique IVs to do Zumba in and didn't think it was the twists and turns of Zumba, but still found myself avoiding the classes that had me doing much with my knees. But I also was doing the Biggest Loser Ultimate workout video while wearing my old ASICs running shoes, and there were a lot of squats and lunges that could wear on a knee, too. 

But I started to notice that not only my knees were bothering me, but my ankles, too. And it wasn't while doing the Zumba, it was while walking or doing the BL Ultimate. It was just getting harder and harder to workout without hurting in some way or another. I was starting to dread my workouts. 

Then one day recently, I received an email from Oh, I get lots of emails from her daily and usually all testimonials to her great plan, but the month of March's new habit is getting dressed to the shoes...lace up shoes. So in one of her morning musings (as she calls them), she talked about the importance of the shoes, and how they get us going and keep us going throughout the day. But the thing that stood out the most was that our shoes don't last forever, and that they do break down and cause us more pain and injury than one would imagine. 

Shoes have a lifespan, and according to, when you wear them everyday that lifespan is actually only 3 to 4 months. While it did surprise me, it didn't. You see a coworker who is a runner had actually stated once that you should replace your running shoes every 300 to 400 miles. As a non-runner, I thought that I wouldn't reach that many miles anytime soon. I thought that my measly 1 to 2 mile walks a day would allow me to stretch out that shoe wear another 9 months. 

But, I don't just walk for fitness in my trainers. I walk at work. I walk at the store. I walk the dogs. I do aerobics and circuit training in them. I basically live in them when I don't have to wear dress shoes to work (which is about half the work week). My shoes were getting more of a workout than I had originally given them credit. And my knees and ankles were trying to tell me that the shoes I bought this time last year were no longer viable to a healthy workout. In fact, they were impeding my workout. 

I had noticed last workout that I wasn't able to balance myself very well while doing lunges. Running shoes and cross trainers should offer enough stability to help keep your balance during crucial steps, moves, and turns. They should offer enough arch support for your type of foot. 

Several years ago, as I would walk my dog, I found myself having to plant my feet more often than not due to the constant pull of the dog on the leash (we were leash training at the time). One morning, I woke up unable to put weight on one of my feet. I had not done anything to hurt myself. It was the same old routine day in and day out. But, one thing stood out: I was putting constant undue pressure on my feet when trying to guard myself from getting yanked into a face plant by the dog. This caused Achilles Tendinitis in my ankle, and it is something that just doesn't go away. 

After resting it for awhile, I finally had to have orthotics made to fit my foot, because the tendinitis wasn't the only thing wrong with my feet. I'm flat footed, too. When I found that out, I started doing some research and found that ASICS makes running shoes made specifically for people who over pronate, or better known as flat footed. 

My first pair felt like butter on my feet! Oh, they felt so good and made walking so much easier. My tendinitis didn't flare up as often and my knees didn't ache so much after walking the dog. Even having to constantly plant my feet to keep him from pulling me down didn't hurt. 

But, I only bought new trainers every year, usually in the spring, which means sometime in the middle of that year, my ankles would start to ache and swell after walking and my knees would start to hurt again. I would get discouraged and cut back on my walking, if not cutting it out completely. 

So, here I am a year into the same pair of ASICS and finding myself back in the same shoes, no pun intended, with achy, swollen ankles, tired and sore feet, and knees that tell me it's time to quit. Then I receive that email from the Flylady. I should have reacted that day, but I didn't. I kept working out in the same old, tired shoes, with the same old results of aches and pains. 

Well, last night I said enough was enough and took the Flylady's advice and bought a new pair of running shoes. Yes, they are ASICS again. At first, after my heart recovered from being overcome by the prices, I wanted to just buy the cheapest pair they had. But I didn't, they were not shoes made for stability and were made for a neutral foot. I finally decided on a mid-range pair that when I first slipped my feet into felt like nothing my feet had ever stepped into. I could tell immediately what my feet had been missing out on for months: proper support. 

Needless to say I purchased that pair on the spot. Sure I wanted to cry as the cashier rung up my sale, but I reminded myself that the cost of medical care for my feet was even more costly. They were well worth the price. 

Today, my knees don't hurt, my ankles are not swollen and achy, and my feet are thanking me. Sure, my 44 year old feet are still telling me that I had been bad for way too long and are aching a little. But, today I plan on taking the dog out for a long walk to break in my new trainers. Then to test them with the BL Ultimate and the constant need for lunges and squats. 

All I know is that I won't go a year without buying a new pair of running shoes again. My feet are way too important to me to not keep them well pampered and supported. My whole body relies way too much on them.