Thursday, January 10, 2013

A shoe-less wonder.



When your feet hurt, and most of our feet hurt from time to time, do you ever wonder about your shoes?   I have a very good pair of shoes, a very technically advanced pair by New Balance (this is not an endorsement, but they are comfortable), a cross trainer made of mixed materials, light but sturdy and supportive, so why were my feet hurting?
It can’t be because I’m working too hard or my age, it can’t be because I’m lifting too much weight or placing all that weight on the spindly rungs of an aluminum ladder while muscling roofing tiles , I sound like a herculean god here but trust me , nothing could be further from truth.  My shoes, it must be the shoes, but I paid so much for them how could they be hurting my feet?  Shoes are supposed to support and protect our feet not cause them pain and discomfort.  

Shoes are really an amazing invention and yes they were invented by someone, somewhere, way back in time by a guy name shoeman, or shoeson or sunshoe (no wait that was a general  in China, I think.) any way who ever invented the shoe did not start off with a soft leather Gucci moccasin but fabricated a rudimentary sandal, probably for his wife or girlfriend who complained about hurting her feet while gathering berries.  Actually  the earliest known shoes were sandals and they were discovered way back somewhere between 7,000 or 8,000 B.C., found in the Fort Rock Cave in the US state of Oregon in 1938. The world's oldest leather shoe, made from a single piece of cowhide laced with a leather cord along its seams at the front and back, was found in a cave in Armenia in 2008 and is believed to date to 3,500 B.C.

So we can see that shoes have been around for a long time.  I think some of the shoes in my closet might be close in age to those found in Armenia, they look that old anyway.  The point is we’ve had shoes for a throughout history and in all that time our feet still hurt.  You’d think after all that time, all the billions of pairs of shoes cobbled, designed and sold we would have figured out how to make a perfect shoe.

I think one of the problems is that somewhere in the past someone decided that it was better to have a shoe that looked nice rather than felt nice.  It was at this drastic point in history that our feet began to hurt, that point when fashion took the place of function and ever sense we’ve been plagued with high heels, pointed toes, hard unforgiving soles, and an industry that is hell bent on creating bunions, hammer toes and plantar fasciitis.  But our feet look good don’t they?

Believe it or not there is a psychology to the shoes we wear.  All foot, ankle and back pain aside the type of shoe you wear says a lot about the person you really want to be.  Forget about looking into one’s eyes for that picture perfect revelation look at their shoes it is the true widow to the soul. 
A person who wears slip-on style is more likely to be laid back, while high heels indicate the desire toward sophistication and flair. Flamboyant colors might show a person who is fighting against convention or the plane flat showing a person of practicality.  With each shoe observed the inner man (woman) is revealed suggesting that whatever we wear on our feet is really an advertisement of who we are.

Without the shoe we would most likely be stuck in the recesses of time, still hunting and gathering, never venturing too far from our cave or grass hut.  The shoe helped us to travel, explore and generally improve our lives but a fundamental question still exists: Why can’t we produce a perfect shoe?  “Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic shoe.”  Why can’t we build a shoe that never hurts and is both functional and stylish?  We’re not talking about going to Mars were talking about a shoe for heaven’s sake.  Until then I will continue to complain about my shoes or my feet or my age or a number of other salient points that garner the sympathy of all those that have compassion for my pitiful plight of pedestrian and prosaic problems but all I really want is a comfortable pair of shoes.