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from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

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Saturday, March 08, 2003  

Gotta Get the Shoes

I don't know why I have such trouble spending money on athletic shoes.

Oh wait. I do. It's because they don't make strappy ones with heels, and they rarely make me much taller. There are few styles with peek-a-boo toe-cleavage. No grosgrain ribbon anywhere. Nary a rhinestone. You can't even get them in plain vanilla. Or a discrete black. No. They have to look like an accident in a paint store. They have to make your feet into giant phosphorescent glow balls, transforming any body into an exclamation point.

I'm saying, aesthetically speaking, they bug me. Though they've been designed and tweaked and studied and improved toward ever more ergonomic perfection, they tend to be aesthetic monstrosities, to my taste. So it's hard to lay out the $60 to $100 a pair for good ones that you really do need to protect your body when you walk and run. I keep thinking how those dollars could have been invested in a nice pair of gold Ernesto Espositos.

Meantime, we must bite: You gotta have good shoes.

Especially if you're heavy.

When we're carrying a lot of extra weight, we're making our joints and muscles work harder every single day. (The up side to being heavier is that you tend to develop fabulous leg musculature.) The wear and tear begins to show as you pass 35 or so.

And yet walking and running continue to be among the most accessible and efficient exercises there are for finding and maintaining good health.

New, bouncy shoes help by reducing the wear and tear on your joints, protecting the complex structures in your feet, making the whole experience of walking and running a lot more pleasant, and one you can enjoy for much longer than you can without good shoes.

If you're just starting out, then start by walking. A good walking shoe is not the same as a good running shoe.


A good walking shoe will give your foot much more support, far more protection than a running shoe, which will focus on allowing foot flexibility and providing cushioning.

If you've ever wrecked your feet as a tourist while wearing a running shoe, you'll understand. The walking shoe's ability to stabilize your foot is what saves you on those long treks.

It's a good idea to head to a specialty athletic shoe store to have your first shoes fitted. Keep trying on pairs until you find the style/brand that fits you perfectly. Keep trying on salespeople and stores until you find the person who takes you and your needs seriously. Once you know your brand and style, online shopping to replace your shoes every 500 miles is easy and necessary.

Okay, I know, it's intimidating to go into these stores if you're big. I know this, because I just couldn't do it myself. I just couldn't walk into that store. Actually I tried a couple of times, then turned back around as if I'd forgotten something. I had forgotten that I had every right to ask for the same help as anyone else.

Nope. I shopped online, using the very helpful fitting guidelines at They have great return policies, too. If you're going to fit yourself, the most important thing to understand is that you may need a bigger shoe than you think you do, and your shoe should be the most comfortable shoe you own straight out of the box. No "breaking in" walking and running shoes. If they rub you funny anywhere, send them back and try another style. This can take awhile. Be patient. It's worth it.

And the day Isaac Mizrahi decides to give Nike a clue, will you let me know?

Have fun shopping,


Guide for buying Walking Shoes
Guide for buying Running Shoes
Source for running and walking shoes
Source for walking shoes

posted by Julie |
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