Tag Archives: walking

My life in low heels

A couple weeks ago I went to a rummage sale and did splendidly in the shoe corner. The thing about buying second-hand, be it clothes or shoes, is you can’t usually get your heart set on an exact item in advance and then just walk in and find it. No, it’s more a matter of going & seeing what’s there. I do sort of have a mental list at any given time of things I might like to find, but truth be told, items can stay on that “list” quite a long time when shopping thrift & second-hand.

So anyway, since I unloaded my car over a dozen years ago, I’ve done a lot of walking. I walk for exercise and pleasure, yes, but the motherload is practical in nature, or actually, I’d say that practical and exercise are often combined. Like, I’ll walk to a shopping center two miles away rather than take a bus. My point, going back to the business of shoes is twofold: 1) I need practical, low-heeled footwear for all the walking year-round and 2) I wear down the soles and need more shoes. I think of shoes as what tire treads used to be! At present, I own more shoes than I ever have in my life, although it took me awhile to realize that was both okay and practical, the latter given my lifestyle. Most are second-hand.

At the rummage sale all shoes were $3. I settled right in and could not believe my good fortune in finding six pairs (in a fairly small display) that I liked, that fit me, and were, for the most part, in decent shape. I always check the “treads” to make sure there’s lots of wear left in them.

If you wondering about cleanliness, a thorough examination of the shoe helps, as does washing if possible. One of my tricks is to use an old toothbrush to scrub surfaces, especially inside. If the shoes aren’t washable, such as leather, I polish them. I routinely put inexpensive shoe inserts in most of my shoes anyway, so that also makes them feel “newer.” I hope I don’t have to tell you if they look funky-bad in any way, I pass them by. Most shoes at thrift stores or rummage sales are pretty good. (I’m more likely to see shoes at yard sales that should have been tossed in the trash.)

I pounced on these hiking boots – TimberlandĀ©! I’ve gotten into a habit of wearing hiking boots a lot in winter because they’re warm – I hate cold feet – reasonably attractive with jeans, and can handle snowy/icy conditions. I already have a pair of (what else but second-hand) REIĀ© hiking boots but the heels are showing wear and I have to use “Shoe Goo” on the front of one where it’s pulling apart. If you are a hiking boot person, you know these babies are pricey. I couldn’t quite decide if the TimberlandĀ© boots are Mens or Womens, but since they’ll fit me with winter socks, it really doesn’t matter.
Last winter I found myself perusing Amazon in hopes of finding an inexpensive “driving shoe.” Not because I’m driving anywhere, but so far as I could tell, it’s a casual, moccasin-style, low-heeled shoe that might be nice to wear at home in Fall/Winter. (I could be wrong so far as what a “driving shoe” is.) I never found the cute, inexpensive shoes in my mind’s eye on Amazon, so I was intrigued to find a close enough possibility at the rummage sale. The oh so very nice thing about $3 shoes is that it’s not such a big risk to try something new or different from what you’ve considered in the past. And – these still had their store tag!

I always need tennis shoes, athletic shoes, sneakers – whatever we want to call them. These don’t have much wear left but I was feeling pinched for such shoes so I got ’em. I didn’t notice – probably courtesy dim lighting (it’s rummage not Neiman Marcus) – that one of the shoes was pulling apart at the toe. I hand-stitched that.
Red slippers! Cozy as heck! Unused looking! (You find me the woman who could wear these and still leave the white so clean, ’cause I’d like to meet her.)
I’ve never had shoes like these either. They seemed like summer walking shoes. When I got home I Googled the brand – Merrell – and discovered it’s a pricey shoe; the website says “Womenā€˜s footwear for running, hiking, and everyday adventures.” Sounds good to me. (Side note: they make Men’s shoes too.) These are really comfortable. Neutral color = goes with all.
Red. Can you tell I like red? Red shoes just make me happy. (Back in the day, I had a pair of bright red pumps. My sister called them “Minnie Mouse” shoes.) Red shoes aren’t easily found second-hand, so I was delighted to land these. They’re made in Mexico – something else I rarely see.

Short Thought 116 (mail carriers)

A mail carrier told me he wears out a pair of shoes in 6 months. He said the standard issue shoes from the post office weren’t all that great so he buys his own. He showed me the soles of his shoes and they were indeed about worn through. I would have never thought of this; i.e. wearing out shoes delivering mail. How many miles must a carrier walk? A lot I guess! And then I thought about how I’ve never seen an overweight mail carrier – usually they are lean muscle.

Walk this way

I don’t belong to a gym or fitness club. There’s no room for home gym equipment where I live, even if I was moved to spend money on something like a treadmill, stationary bike, or rowing machine, which friends, I am not. These items make up my home exercise equipment:

Five-pound handweights and push-up bars

Five-pound handweights and push-up bars

A hoola hoop - because anything is better than sit-ups or "crunches"

A hoola hoop – because anything is better than sit-ups or “crunches”

I’ve got a jump rope too but nowhere all that practical to be jumping rope. Sometimes I jump inside and try not to smack anything.

All that being said, fitness and staying in shape are important to me, a central part of my life philosophy, so I get outside a lot. That’s a good bit easier when the weather’s decent but I realized a long time back, you can’t sit around 3 months out of the year waiting for weather conditions to improve. (Things can really go South in that time if you do. I’ve never forgotten what a fitness teacher said in an exercise class I took many years ago: that it takes six weeks to get in shape but just two to fall out. It ain’t fair but there it is.)

I walk. I’ve walked for years. I make myself walk.  I recently read that the Amish have an obesity rate of less than 5% AND they walk 14,000 steps a day. (Curious about their life expectancy, I just checked and found it the same as the rest of the population.) I am fortunate to live in a community where it’s possible to do a fair amount of walking while generally staying out of the flow of traffic. And besides, I don’t have a car which certainly lends itself to more walking.

However, I think people feel sorry for me! Sometimes I get offered rides when I’m walking on purpose. One time, I was in the adjacent town, several miles from home, where admittedly it was kinda hairy be walking, at least in some areas along the road, where there was no public sidewalk. Three people offered me rides and I started to feel guilty! I realized, in retrospect, that I was dressed too nicely, as if my car had broken down or I was stuck out walking along the road for an unfortunate reason. (I dressed a lot more casually, scruffier, the next time I walked the same route and was offered no rides, lending credibility to my theory.)

I think what has happened culturally, at least in this semi-urban area, is that walking on purpose has become weird, particularly for a “nice, middle-aged lady” like me. What is she doing out there? She should get a car and drive to the gym – I really think, whether they’re conscious of it or not, that that is what people believe. They don’t see the point in walking. I know that’s not true for everyone – thousands of people belong to local hiking groups – but that’s more about driving somewhere scenic and then walking around, as opposed to walking in your everyday life (which ain’t always so scenic and involves dodging cars).

The longest trek I’ve done locally – and not too recently – is two miles out to a big park which has a 5.5 mile trail through the woods, and then 2 miles back home. I’ve even biked over and locked up the bike while I walked the trail. I’d rather do that than say, go over to the high school’s outdoor track and walk around in dull circles with a boring view of a housing development and a road.

The thing that is worth saying, is that I almost always feel better after I walk, especially if I get in a couple miles. Probably need that many in order to have endorphins kick in. A walk to the corner mailbox does not endorphins make.

When the weather is bad and wicked cold, I go out so I’ll appreciate how nice it is to come home and get all warm-and-cozy. Although, it occurred to me recently, in a spate of cold, snowy, low-temps weeks, that my thinking might be a little like the old joke about a guy who hits himself in the head because it feels so good when he stops.

I want to walk because I can. While I can. For as long as I can.