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Guest opinion: Shoes for EVERY Occasion

By Anneli Byrd - | Jun 4, 2024
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The author's pair of electric blue Nike Shox shoes — popular among podiatrists and 6-year-old boys.
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Anneli Byrd

Sometimes, now that I’m getting old, I have some trouble with my feet. Last week, I went to the doctor. He X-rayed my right foot and then sent me this interesting follow-up note: “Right foot x-ray shows arthritic changes of the left foot.” I decided that I was happy with this remarkable diagnosis because at least he didn’t suggest I wear horrible shoes.

The first time I went to a doctor with a similar problem, I was given some cream, some exercises and an uncomfortable boot to wear at night. Fine. But then the doctor gave me instructions to buy a pair of what turned out to be, hands-down, the ugliest pair of walking/running shoes in the history of shoes, Nike Shox. In fact, I looked them up and they rank No. 8 on a website titled “Ridiculous shoes that Nike tried to sell us.” I admit the shoes did have a lot of “support,” as in they were not at all flexible. Whenever I wore them, I felt like Frankenstein clomping around, only less subtle. His shoes were a tasteful brown. Mine were electric blue.

My family tried hard to make me feel better about them. They reminded me that once the shoes caused a little boy about 6 years old to shriek, “MOM! Look at that lady’s SHOES!! Those are so COOL!” Nice try, family, but 6-year-old boys aren’t exactly the demographic I’m usually trying to impress.

So, did they work? I guess. Things healed up and I didn’t have any more problems until about four years later. This time around, a different doctor gave me similar exercises, advised ice and sternly warned me that if I took even one unsupported step, it could undo all the good healing my body did overnight. “You need to wear good shoes even in the shower,” he warned. “Huh?” I knew from sad experience that water did not tame down the electric blue of my one pair of supportive shoes; plus, they took forever to dry. “They make shower shoes,” he assured me.

Sure enough, Amazon has shower shoes. They’re not beautiful, but at least I get to wear them behind closed doors. Still, that left me with nothing I’d want to wear outdoors. My husband came to the rescue. Flirting with being old himself, his doctor suggested some inserts that he got at a running store. Inserts didn’t sound too bad. The next time I was at Walmart, I saw Dr. Scholl’s inserts for about $14. “Do you think I should get these?” I texted. He told me no, hold out for the good ones.

I did, and a few hours later, we were at an official running shoe store. I was grudgingly prepared to pay a crazy price in the $25 range. I was fitted, then nearly had a heart attack at the register when they rang up at more than $60!! No wonder there wasn’t a price on the box. Sixty dollars, and I didn’t even have a new pair of shoes??! No wonder old people have a reputation for being grumpy. They’re either hurting or they’re broke — probably both.

But there are an awful lot of us old people. More than enough, I think, to join forces and require by law that all you young whippersnappers give us free foot rubs.

Anneli Byrd is an academic adviser in Weber State University’s Student Success Center.

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