From Where I Sit – If The Shoe Fits

Is there a woman alive, over the age of say 25 or 30 who doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with shoes? Is there a woman alive, of any age, who hasn’t bought the wrong shoes for the wrong reasons? Is there a woman alive who hasn’t suffered excruciating pain as a result of wearing poorly designed shoes?

We know the girls of Sex in the City fame loved their Manolo Blahniks. At a cost of several hundred dollars a pair, and their sky-high heels, next-to-nothing straps, and embellishments of all sorts, these shoes are cruel. They also happen to be verrrry sexy. Fashionistas have long maintained that high heels elongate the leg and thrust the pelvis forward as the body tries to remain upright in these shoes, making for a very sexy gait.

Sexy, that is, until you hobble into the podiatrist’s office. If I had a nickel for everyone I know who either has or needs an orthotic device, I’d be one rich woman. At $325 and up per pair, this is not a cheap fix! But without mine, I would be unable to walk. With flat feet and plantar fasciitis, I need both arch and metatarsal support. Like every other woman I know, I squeezed my foot into shoes that were too small, too pointy, and too high, all in the name of fashion. I believed, incorrectly, that they would stretch to fit.

Neil Banheghi of Sole Experience on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue has saved my life. As a certified pedorthist and certified pedorthic master craftsman, he’s the man. He custom makes orthotics and has a wide selection of shoes with removable footbeds to accommodate the orthotic. He’s talked to me about feet, shoes, correct fit, and the dying art of custom shoemakers. This is a man who loves his work! He even made me a thinner version of my orthotic to wear in dress shoes for a wedding a few years ago.

I’m not sure Neil would approve of my recent purchase of some dress shoes, but I do know he’d understand that sometimes a girl just has to wear something that isn’t good for her, all in the name of fashion. With wedding season here, I found I needed shoes that were dressier than the sensible shoes I normally wear. As a marriage commissioner, I only need to be able to stand for an hour or so. My new gold, open-toed mules will be great for summery, outdoor weddings. The square-toed pumps with three-inch heels look more formal and will more easily accommodate the shape of a human foot than the pointed, ski-like shoes that are available. The fact that all of these beauties were all on sale is a bonus.

Experts suggest shoe shopping at the end of the day when your feet are generally their largest. Don’t buy by size, but rather buy what fits. Stand up in the shoes, and walk in them. Make sure there’s about a half an inch of space beyond the length of your longest toe. Don’t allow your heel to slip. That’s a good fit, from where I sit.

*Reprinted with permission

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