Movement has been very slow here at SirBenfro Towers these last few weeks. I bought a new pair of walking boots, much like the old pair of walking boots only less worn out at the heels. At least that's what I thought, until I tried them out for the first time and found them to be very different indeed. Where my old pair had been supple and comfortable from the off, these new ones were stiff, with strange plastic protuberances designed to rub away the flesh of my feet after anything more than a few dozen paces.

My normal daily dogstroll is three miles, encompassing roads and forestry tracks, the occasional stream crossing and plenty of hill. Tackling that in a pair of boots designed by Tomas De Torquemada is perhaps not wise, but then wisdom has never featured high on my list of winning attributes. Pig-headed obstinacy, tenacity beyond the bounds of reason and blind optimism, yes, but wisdom, no.

So I headed out with Haggis the Lucky Labrador and Mackerel the SausageDog for a gentle stroll about a fortnight ago, wearing my nice new boots. 

There was a certain amount of discomfort on the outward, uphill leg, but not so much that I couldn't soldier on. Over the years I've had a couple of pairs of boots that didn't need any breaking in whatsoever (my previous pair included), but mostly it takes a week or so of blisters, chafing and sore knees before they're whipped into shape. It's all downhill from thereon, of course - I seem to wear out the heels of all my footwear within six months of getting them. So I strolled my three miles, splashed through brooks and tackled hills. In some mild discomfort, but nothing I'd not suffered before, and soon, I promised myself, the boots would be broken. All would be well.

It was a relief to take them off when I got home, and I padded around the house in socks for the rest of the day, slipped on a very old and loose pair of Cotton Traders moccasins to take the dogs out last thing. Dim problwm as they say around these parts.

The next day dawned as it does, without my noticing. Later, once the Horse Doctor had set off for work and I could no longer bear the pestering, I pulled on my boots to take the dogs for their daily stroll. And took then straight back off again.

It felt like someone was applying a red hot branding iron to the tendons in the top of my foot. Close inspection revealed absolutely no bruising at all, but a gentle prod with a finger was enough to get me wincing. I tried my old boots, worn and weary but as soft as a baby's bum bum. No good. The laces pulled tight exactly over that spot. Each footfall was an excruciating jab of burning pain. 

The only footwear I could bear was the old worn out moccasins, but they are too loose, and too worn in the heels for long distances, too welcoming of all elements to be used on any but the most tarmac of surfaces. For a week I struggled up a much shorter daily stroll, to the old reservoir and back, dogs on leads for most of the way. Haggis wasn't impressed, and continues to let me know just how much more exercise he really wants.

Last weekend I tried the new boots on again, in the hope that a fortnight's rest had let the injury heal. One step and took I them straight off again. The soft old boots were just about bearable, so I've been wearing them for strolling ever since.

There is a problem with this, of course. Well, many problems if I'm being precise. Once waterproof, my old boots have now developed the ability to trap water inside, but not keep it out, so I can't easily ford streams. Or indeed wade through the boggy bits that are such a feature of this landscape. I am thus limited in the scope and extent of my strolling, and so continue to be pestered by a Labrador all the day. Mind you, Haggis wasn't phased by an evening's mountain biking, covering many miles and sometimes at speeds in excess of twenty miles an hour. I suspect I could walk him all day and he'd still want more. Especially if sticks were involved. He loves to carry sticks.

They are so old, my soft elderly boots, that they have worn right through at the outer edge of the heels. This leads to me walking in a somewhat bow-legged fashion, which puts stress on joints that never used to complain but are now starting to acquire the habit. I'm not listening to them, of course. I'm not getting old. I am young and sprightly and lithe and fit. But could you just put the ground back where it used to be, please. It seems to be farther away every day. I've noticed before how wearing heavily worn boots leads to hip and back aches that magically disappear as soon as I buy new footwear. That was partly what prompted me to by the new boots in the first place, and I really ought to get rid of the comfortable old moccasins too.

The aches are getting worse again, and I can only blame DIY and the weather for so long. Tomorrow I shall once more brave the new boots. The bruised tendon is almost healed now, though it still burns from time to time. A bit of padding should deal with that, and I can once more begin the task of breaking in my footwear.

I'm not going to walk three miles in them though. The bloody Labrador can learn a little patience.


swallowtail said…
Dear Dear Dear Friend (I know, I am taking liberties),
Please Please Please throw those new boots away. Now. I do not care how much they cost: no amount of "breaking in" will do anything but break you. They are worthless. You are way too young to give yourself a lifetime of foot problems. Here is a brilliant idea: Go to (the Horse Dr. will love this site, too!), and get a pair of boots that work for you! Personally the 'Keene's' are just amazingly great and do not need breaking-in! I discovered them about 7 years ago when I needed footwear suitable for Labrador-walking! xoxoLC
norby said…

I agree with swallowtail. If those new boots caused you that much pain with that little wear, they are not the boots for you, maybe not for anyone. Ideally, depending on where you bought them, you should be able to take them back. If not, it is not worth the foot problems to keep wearing them. As you've learned, your body compensates for foot pain by adjusting other parts of your body. You're just setting yourself up for foot, knee and back pain.

Get new boots, preferably ones you've had success with before and have an option of returning if there is a problem.

Lecture over...
JamesO said…
Thanks for the advice, both of you. I'm well aware of the problems that can start in your feet and end up destroying hips, back and neck. These boots are fine for posture, I was just stupid enough to let them bruise the tendon in my foot, making all shoes and boots uncomfortable for a while. My bigger problem is that I wear out the outer edge of my heels on any and all footwear in just a few months. Once they've started to go, and my feet are falling outwards with each step, then the real problems begin and I know it's time to get a new pair of boots. The problem is, that's usually when the one's I've got are just getting comfortable.

I'll check out Zappos, Swallowtail, but I'm also going to book an appointment with a chiropodist. Meanwhile, the bruising has healed, and with an extra pair of socks, the boots are feeling just fine now.
swallowtail said…
Oh YES! A chiropodist... though I have never heard of this (my husband is a chiropractor), it sounds perfect, and makes sense. (chiros= hands+podi=feet equals happy, blissed-out and healthy feet (-: )
JamesO said…
Perhaps you would be more familiar with the term Podiatrist? I think it was Winston Churchill who described Britain and America as two countries divided by a common language...
JamesO said…
I have to say though, that a Podiatrist sounds like someone who would make my feet better by persuading them to accept their own limitations and move on.

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