Skip to content

A New Year, A New Footbed

The first week of the new year, I stopped into the local outfitters to check out some new trail boots. A knowledgable boot fitter helped me determine that it wasn’t so much a new boot I needed, but a better footbed. I knew she was right when she slipped a test pair of insoles into my years-old-well-worn boots, in which I have logged hundreds of miles—they also happen to be my favorite walking shoes. Suddenly, I could feel arch support where there previously was none, and my feet no longer slid around inside. $40 didn’t feel like too much to spend for rejuvenating my old friends.

Dani (we were now on a first name basis) used my dilapidated insoles as a pattern to cut the new insoles. I’m given to having second thoughts about most things. So I winced, as she trimmed and re-trimmed the new insoles to fit snuggly inside my boots, knowing there was no changing my mind. She worked her hands inside my old shoes, her fingers probing all the way to the toes. I felt oddly uncomfortable witnessing such an intimate scene.

By the time I tightened the laces, I knew I was back in love with my old trail boots. I went on about the snug fit in my heel and the way I could actually feel the arch. On the way to the register, Dani said it might take some getting used to and that they needed breaking-in the same way you would a new pair of boots. While I hunted for my debit card she recommended that I wear them for a couple of hours and then go barefoot for a while—just until my feet adjusted to the new fit.

‘That makes sense,’ I agreed. ‘The insole needs to shape to my foot.’

Just then another associate who was already standing behind the counter turned and said, ‘No. your foot has to shape to the insole.’ She added that some customers bring them back the next day, saying they hurt their feet and requesting a refund. ‘Give them two weeks,’ she said.

‘Pfft.’ Who needs two weeks, I love them already. When Dani asked what to do with my old insoles, I said, ‘Toss ’em.’ On the way to the door, she reminded me to ease into wearing them all day.

‘Definitely,’ I say. ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ I think.

Since it was late afternoon, I probably did only wear them for a few hours before donning my slippers. I told Mr. Lee how clever I was, even though he thought $40 was a bit extravagant for insoles I could have had for $8 if I’d gone to CVS instead. But he could see that I was in love.

The next day marked a marathon of errands that started at ten in the morning and didn’t end until I rushed bags of groceries inside to start dinner, all of which I do standing up. Needless to say I was on my footbeds for hours. When I kicked off my boots that evening my feet ached. I complained to Mr. Lee, who I coerced into giving me a foot massage, about the pain. They really hurt, mostly my heels. My first thought was Dani’s advice, which I evidently considered more of a suggestion.

That night I went to bed early. We slept like babies—my feet and me. But in the morning when I tried to get out of bed, I couldn’t walk. I was in unbelievable pain. Of course I blamed the footbeds, and if I could have marched back to the outfitters to demand a full refund I most certainly would have—except for the fact that I knew I would have to face Dani and her associate, who already told me not to do exactly what I did.

I hobbled around for days. I refused to look at my boots. Mr. Lee finally asked me if I was ever going to wear them again. I said I would think about it.

A few weeks later I tried them on and walked around the house but threw them off after thirty minutes. I have since eased back into wearing them for a couple of hours at a time. I’m still a little apprehensive about hiking or taking long walks in my favorite old boots. Even now, if I really think about it, my heels still hurt.

I haven’t yet figured out why sage advice doesn’t apply to me.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *