Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Giving Up Heels

Back in early 2012, when I still subscribed to Runner's World, I read that they had awarded best debut to a company called Altra. At that time, I was on a hunt for running shoes that didn't make my toes go numb if I forgot to lace them correctly. I decided to investigate the shoes which had had such a stellar debut. The infographic on this page and the gender specific page won me over immediately. I purchased a pair of the original Intuition model directly from the Altra website and anxiously awaited their arrival.

I had spent some time researching the barefoot trend and I owned my a pair of Vibrams, which were mostly collecting dust in the closet. I'd tried them but I found the toes to be too stiff. They never felt comfortable during a run, even on a treadmill. I still use them occasionally, but only when I know I'm going to be walking on soft ground. Anyhow, back to the arrival of my highly anticipated Altra Intuitions. They arrived and as soon as I put them on, I knew I'd never go back to my New Balance 790s. As evidenced by this old picture of my feet, I took them for a treadmill test run immediately:

Why do runners always take pictures of their feet...?
These shoes were so comfortable that I quickly broke my "Running shoes are for running" rule and wore them to work. I wore them to Zumba, and then I wore (and peed on) them while hiking in Arizona. I loved them to death. It's all good though because I snagged two pairs at a steep discount from Left Lane Sports when the Intuition 1.5 released.  After such dedicated love and wear, I realized the shoes were changing my feet. One day as I was putting on my pretty red patent flats, I noticed how painfully squished my forefoot felt. I figured I could tough it out, but after just two hours at work, I gave up. I couldn't do it; they hurt my feet way too much.

I researched, and researched, and researched shoes that were designed not to squish the crap out of my forefoot. (P.S. I'm totally a Katy fangirl.) Eventually I found Vivobarefoot and have subsequently purchased not one but four pairs of their shoes:
Fourth pair not featured here because it's summer and they're a pair of snow boots.
I've worn a pair of Vivos nearly every day since I purchased my first pair. I've also started packing a pair of them in my handbag whenever I go to formal events that require dressy shoes (read: heels).

It's been almost two years since I gave up wearing any shoes with elevated heels. I don't miss the squished forefoot pain. I don't miss blisters on my heels from slippage that came from wearing traditional shoes. I don't miss it at all.