November 2009

Out on a limb: Knowing better

Jordana Second Headshot LERBy, Jordana Bieze Foster, editor

I have a confession to make: I’m one of those women. The kind of woman who is the subject of this month’s cover story on high heels.

No, I’ve never worn a pair of four-inch stiletto heels. But when it comes to footwear, too often I know what’s good for me and still choose to ignore it. Especially when the weather gets colder.

In clinical news this month, we report on a survey of teenage cross-country athletes who were asked about running shoe selection. Nearly three quarters of these kids knew that arch type was an important factor in choosing a running shoe. But only about half knew their own arch type. Which means a significant number of them choose their shoes based on something other than arch type, even though they know better.

When it comes to footwear in winter, I’m as bad as a teenager.

I live in New England. In the winter, it snows. Always. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But it always snows.

I have one pair of snow boots that were a gift from my husband. They’re very nice boots, but they’re too big. I have always known this. In fact, I specifically wanted boots that were bigger than my normal size so that there would be room for extra-thick socks. And really, it wasn’t like I was planning to do a lot of walking in the snow. Boots that were a little big would still be fine for going to the mailbox and back, or standing around waiting for the dog to do his business.

The problem is, my husband didn’t buy me boots for getting the mail. He bought me boots so that we could go snowshoeing together. Needless to say, snowshoeing in boots that are too big isn’t a great idea, biomechanically speaking. I know this. But I just can’t bring myself to buy new boots just for snowshoeing. So I’m a little sore. I’ll get over it.

See what I mean?

Then there’s the cold. Even when it’s not snowing, New England winters are cold. Always. Some days are colder than others. But always there is the cold. And compounding the chill outside are the ultra-frugal New Englanders who keep their thermostats set at 55º, which to transplants like me makes it cold indoors as well.

My footwear issues with the cold are the opposite of my issues with the snow. Specifically, even though my snow boots have more than enough room for my extra-thick socks, my indoor shoes don’t. I know this, and I know that overfilling a shoe is not only biomechanically inadvisable but also will leave no room for trapped heat, effectively negating the effect of the thick socks. But I just can’t bring myself to buy new, slightly-larger versions of all my shoes just for wearing in the winter. So my feet are cold. I’ll get over it.

Come to think of it, if I’m going to be sore and cold anyway, I might as well just wear the four-inch stilettos. At least I’ll look amazing.

Told you I was one of them.

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