Advice Needed

As you know, I work in the back room of a busy retail store.  I’m also somewhat overweight.  And I’m old.  Which all adds up to me not being best of friends with my feet.

I need recommendations for a good pair of footwear that will last at least six months, although a year would be preferrable.  I’ve been wearing New Balance athletic shoes, and although I tend to wear them way past their effective date, any support or cushioning features are long gone in a couple months, max.  I don’t mind paying a fair price for a durable, quality product. I prefer black, but that is not a requirement.  I’m not opposed to boots, and in fact a light, comfortable duty-type boot would offer certain advantages.  I do require a wide width, but otherwise no specialized size, style, material, etc.  There is no official requirement other than a closed toe, and it’s not like I’d be fool enough to wear hippy Birkenstocks under any circumstances, especially not for work.

Also, any suggestions on socks and/or inserts, insoles, or other items that either help in the comfort department or extend the service life of the shoes would be appreciated.

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20 Responses to Advice Needed

  1. Erin Palette says:

    I swear by those Dr. Schools orthopedic insoles — you know, the ones where you go to the electronic kiosk in the pharmacy section, and take off your shoes, and the computer analyzes how you stand and tells you what kind you need. I’ve worn them in combat boots and hiking boots and even tennis shoes, so all you need do is find a pair of shoes you like and then put the insoles in them.

    I recall they aren’t cheap — about $50 — but they last for a good long while. Mine go for about a year before needing to be replaced, but you’re on your feet longer than I am. Maybe you’d need to replace them every 6 months. Still, short of a customized orthopedic shoe, these are the most comfortable insoles I’ve ever worn.

    • alaskan454 says:

      I figured they were just a gimmick that Dr. Scholls came up with to make more money, what with the nifty kiosk and everything. However, since you’ve had good luck with them, I might have to give it a shot. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

      • Erin Palette says:

        Well, they’re both. Yes, they’re a marketing gimmick, but they also work better than anything else I’ve tried. I have no arch on my left foot at all and these are the only things which not only support but feel comfortable. I guess it helps that you aren’t just taking a shot in the dark but are sorta-kinda getting something prescribed for your feet.

  2. Jin Chiang says:

    Determine your particular wear pattern by staring at the bottom of your shoes. Or use “the step onto newspaper with wet feet” trick. Then check out the insoles from Sof Sole, http://www.sofsole.com and Superfeet, http://www.superfeet.com.

    I’m using insoles from the former. About $20, I think. The latter is suppose to be quite good too, but I haven’t tried them yet.

  3. Anon says:

    Agree with Erin on the Scholls soles. Wallymart has the scales in every one I’ve been in. The inserts work well.

    • alaskan454 says:

      Thanks! I checked last time I shopped there, and my local WM has one. It was in use and I was in a hurry, so I didn’t get my feet evaluated that day. But I will, soon.

      Sorry for the delay to the posting of your comment – it got caught in the wordpress spam filter.

  4. Critter says:

    Danner boots are expensive and heavy, but will last 20 years and have ecellent support.

    • alaskan454 says:

      I used to wear combat boots daily, and once broken in, they were comfortable. However, that was twenty years and forty pounds ago. I worry that the weight of any boots that I get that aren’t ultralight by design will kill be before I get past the break-in. I’ll certainly check them out, though. I appreciate the advice. Do you have any particular models that you recommend within the Danner line?

      • Critter says:

        i wear the Acadia, uniform wear donchaknow, and these have lasted about thirteen years. i’ve resoled them three times, i think and the uppers are nowhere near worn out. Acadias are also water proof which is not unimportant whenone works out of doors. anyway, here is a linky:

        http://www.danner.com/boots/

      • alaskan454 says:

        I did a little research on Danner after you made your original recommendation, and I found that many of the models I liked were made in China. I figured they had outsourced it all, and had started to lean away from them, but the Acadias appear to still be US made, and probably a few other models also. That’s a significant consideration for me, so Danner is back on the table. Thanks, again.

  5. Jin Chiang says:

    Magnum Boots offer several “Ultra Lite” products that might be worth investigating. God, you blast through shoe support pretty quick. Consider Thorlos socks with cushions ranging from thin, through moderate, to “holy cow” thick.

    • alaskan454 says:

      I’ve heard about Magnum Boots, and Ambulance Driver speaks well of them. I’d completely forgotten about that until you mentioned them. Like me, he’s not exactly a lightweight, and he probably takes pretty close to the same number of steps per shift as me. He may not spend the entirety of every shift on his feet like I do, but at least I don’t do rodeo with combative patients playing the part of the bull. Thanks for the reminder, and the sock suggestion. They certainly look promising as well.

  6. Brigid says:

    I agree with Erin. Try insoles first. I find that if the shoe is snug to start with the insoles make them uncomfortable, so I wear with the shoes that are a little loose already, not brand new. I often stand for hours and its sometimes on hard ground so I understand the pain thing. I did break down post knee surgery and get some shoes designed for arthritis. (extra cushion and some flex to the sides) They were a bit pricey and are as sexy as wearing two muscrats on my feet, but they’re comfortable as hell on a daily basis.Six months in them and they still look brand new and I’ve worn then almost every day at work.

    • alaskan454 says:

      Uh, hi. Thank you for taking the time to reply. Your comment caught me off guard. Not so much the content, but the fact that you know I exist and even occasionally read my constant whining. I’ve hinted at it in the past, but I openly admit to having had the biggest crush on you for years. Sorry, I’ll try to stop drooling all over myself now.

      I’ve definitely decided to try insoles first, if nothing else, to figure out which ones work best for me, so I can use them in whatever I buy to replace the current pair of New Balance. Were the arthritis shoes custom made, or were they an off the shelf option? If they are commercially available, and the company makes mens sizes, I’d appreciate more info on them. I may decide to go that route at some point in the future, and you’ve certainly had success with yours.

      Thanks again.

  7. Bill says:

    I wear Columbia hiking shoes that I buy from Gander Mountain.They are ankle high ,look like sneakers,very comfortable,and last a long time(even if you spend a lot of time on your feet).

    And who is this Erin Palette chick,and how come she knows about so many different things?

    • alaskan454 says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I have a GM one city over, so I’ll certainly check the Columbias out the next time I go that way.

      Erin is a blogger and regular commenter here, so much so that I like to think of her as a friend, at least on some level, although we’ve never met. She is knowledgeable on many subjects, and is very generous when it comes to sharing said knowledge.

      • Erin Palette says:

        Of course I’m your friend, Grumpy! 😀

        Bill, I like to think of myself as a multi-discipline geek. I have lots and lots of nerdy interests!

  8. hilljohnny says:

    check out Sears Wonderlite shoes. they give good support and feel like you’re wearing a thick pair of socks. my latest pair is five years old and i wear them every day.

    • alaskan454 says:

      Hmmm. Never heard of them. I’ll certainly give them a look. I’m still evaluating the different suggestions, and have quite a few more to go before I make a final decision. Thank you for the recommendation.

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