Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Me, My Shoes and My Major Pains in the....

Feet! Pains in the feet...what were you thinking? 

You know the stereotype about women? That we just love to shop, especially for shoes? That's not me. And never has been. Shopping for shoes or clothes has never been enjoyable to me. I just want to get what I need and get out. Imagine my despair when I had to throw out all my shoes and replace them. Oh no!!! 

Let me explain..I've suffered from foot pain for at least ten years. It had been on and off and, up until a year and a half ago, I could always do something to ease the pain. Put arch supports in my shoes, stop running for a while or just buy a new pair of shoes. I had to completely give up wearing flip flops about 5 years ago because they hurt my feet so badly. But about a year and half ago I was having serious and consistent foot pain for months that wouldn't go away no matter what I did. Many days I was on the verge of tears because the pain was so bad. I was to the point where I was running on my treadmill barefoot and I had a pair of flimsy canvas shoes I wore all the time because that was the closest to being barefoot. I didn't own one pair of shoes that didn't hurt and going barefoot was the only thing that could ease the pain. 

I finally went to a podiatrist who measured my feet and, lo and behold, I was wearing the wrong size shoes. I had been wearing size 9 since high school and the doctor said I needed a 8 1/2 wide shoe AND I had high rigid arches. I was wearing shoes that were too small, squeezing my feet and didn't have enough support. 

Great (insert sarcasm). I had to buy new shoes. 
I've went through a lot of shoes in the past year. Some worked (I bought men's cowboy boots because they are wider than women's and they feel great), some failed miserably (I still have to put arch supports in most of my shoes). But I just have to share the VERY BEST SHOES OF ALL TIME!!! 

4 Reasons this company is awesome! 

1. Made in the USA
2. These shoes are completely recyclable. 
When your shoes wear out, send them back to Okabashi and they'll make them into a new pair. 
3. My feet have NEVER hurt in Okabashi shoes. (They're endorsed by the American Chiropractic Society.)
4. VERY affordable. Prices range from $13 - $20 dollars a pair. 

I just received two new pairs last week. These are Clogs
The Okabashi shoes are rubber like, not soft and foamy like Crocs but sturdier. 

Each pair of Okabashi shoes have a built in arch support. I've been wearing these brown ones all over the house and I've forgotten that I'm even wearing them. They are that comfortable. 

Please ignore my ugly toes. 
I also got a new pair of Classic Flip Flops this week! 
Last summer I wore a green pair of Okabashi flip flops everyday. No joke. I wore them to church, in the garden, EVERY WHERE! They felt so very good on my feet. I hadn't been able to wear flip flops for 5 years! Okabashi has been a blessing for my feet. 

My green ones aren't worn out either; they really do last. 
I just wanted a second pair for the summer. (Guilty pleasure)

My favorite part of these Okabashi shoes are the little bumps. It's like getting a foot massage all day long! That's my idea of heaven right there. 

GREAT SHOE #2 -Vibram 

I run a lot; 20+ miles a week. I did end up getting new running shoes after I remeasured my feet but I enjoyed running barefoot so much that I kept doing it a few days a week on my treadmill for the past year. Although running barefoot feels good, with my high arches I can't do it everyday or my feet start really hurting again. I have found that my feet feel much stronger than they did a year ago. 

DR bought me a pair of Vibram FiveFinger shoes for Christmas!
I admit, I over did in these shoes the first week I had them and ran in them 4 days in a row and my feet hurt for a week. I'm smarter now; a couple days on and a couple days off. 

Basically the philosophy is that our bodies were never made to shoes and the shoes we do wear make the muscles in our feet and legs weak and throws off our alignment. Naturally, our feet are designed to work best barefoot but after decades of wearing shoes (on concrete, not natural), it takes time to adjust to wearing or running in these shoes on a daily basis. 

So even though my feet should be able to go barefoot, I've spent too much time in other shoes and I don't have the strength in my arches (yet) to wear these shoes everyday. 

Despite not being able to wear them everyday I do love these shoes. They are comfortable to run in and much warmer than I anticipated. I don't wear socks with them though you can buy toe socks off the Vibram website. There's plenty of traction so I don't have to worry about slipping in them. The bottom of these shoes are strong enough too that I don't have to worry about anything poking into my feet as I run. It's kind of difficult getting used to putting them on, I'm still working on getting the right toes in the right holes! And when you run in these you almost have to relearn your stride. I don't take as long of steps and my feet land more on the ball of my feet rather than the heel. I have found myself lately running at a faster pace in these shoes than traditional running shoes and that's encouraging! Vibram's aren't cheap though; $100+ per pair. However if they strengthen my feet I think the price is worth it. 

My feet problems are probably totally different than yours but if you are looking for a new pair of shoes I definitely recommend that you check out Okabashi and Vibram FiveFingers! That may have something just for you. 


  1. LOVE the flip-flops AND the fact that your polish matches your shoes. You are still a girly girl :-) Glad you found something that works. Foot pain is NOT fun! I'm totally checking out the flip-flops because that's the kind of girl I am, but I liked the clogs too!

  2. I am pinning those flip flops. I need a pair for summer time. Glad you figured out the problem!

  3. This is so interesting! My husband and I both have unique feet, but in different ways. We both run too, so I feel like we spend a ton of money on shoes that will stand up to what we do to them! I've never heard of Okabashi, but I'm going to have to check them out...especially at that price!

  4. Isn't it interesting what you find out when you let someone measure your feet. I will be sooooo glad when I can wear my boots again.


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