The other day I wrote about going for walks through my neighborhood. I didn’t mention the fact that my footwear was not up to the pace I was walking. When I first started walking, I kept a moderate pace trying to work up to a more exerting stride. The sandals I wore were fine for the slower speed. Sandals are all about easy going. These are not Spartan combat sandals, mind you, so a leisurely pace fit them perfectly. When I kicked up the pace, I started rubbing a blister right on the ball of my foot. I figured I needed better footwear if I was going to keep up the workout, so I looked for my running shoes. No, I’m not ready to start running again. Maybe soon, but not today. Not this week. Maybe not even this month. But the shoes would do good for a brisk walk. If I could find them. Which I couldn’t.
I did find my Chucks.
Now, my Converse All-Star high top sneakers, commonly referred to as “Chucks” are supposedly good sneakers for general wear. When I was a kid, they were all the rage. All of my “friends” (not really friends, but basically any kids whose parents sprung for them) wore Converse All-Stars. The trademark circle on the ankle, the checkerboard sole tread, the canvass construction were all needed to be included in the “in crowd,” the click, the cool kids. Oh, how I wanted them. I wore Keds. Plain old Keds. My mom loved shopping at Sears, and Sears sold Keds. I wore them for school, for play and pretty much everything except church. At school, I was ostracized for my fashion faux-pax. Keds were what children wore, not the cool kids. I seem to remember mom breaking down and buying me a pair of Converse sneakers once, but not the high tops with the circle on the ankle, but the regular low profile sneakers. No those wouldn’t do. I don’t remember wearing them; at least not with any satisfaction.
Fast forward some forty years. My son and daughter in law are over celebrating my (mumble mumble) birthday. After the obligatory cake and singing of the song, I read the birthday cards everyone brought. Then I picked my way through the gifts. I opened the gift they brought and inside the bag there was a pair of black Converse All-Star high tops. Just like I had always wanted. I was happy. I was thrilled. I was excited. And then I tried them on.
It had been a long time since I wore proper sneakers. Perhaps I forgot what they felt like. When I was in the Army, our PT gear consisted of running shoes, not sneakers. Running shoes support the whole foot, at least good shoes do. Arch support, ankle support, cushioned insoles all make for a comfortable platform for running. These Converse shoes offer none of that. I tried them on and I was surprised by the level of difficulty in just pulling them on. Once I had my foot in them, it felt like I was wearing a sock with a cardboard sole. It had no arch or ankle support and no cushioned insole. Well, since I knew my sandals would not work, I thought perhaps these would do better. I was wrong. These shoes are not meant for walking.
I almost turned around twice to get them off my feet. Only my sense of duty, my refusal to surrender kept my feet moving. I got my 10,000 steps in and very happily removed the Chucks from my whimpering feet. Fortunately, while I was walking, between the crying of my feet, I remembered where my running shoes were, so for tonight’s constitutional, I will be in proper footwear. It will be good to wear some shoes that are meant for walking.