Frugal Footwear Failure

Posted on October 13, 2009


Hope this “quickpress” post makes sense. Its in the interest of having liveliness on this blog whilst it finds its feet.. so to speak.

Somehow ive managed to buy three pairs of shoes in the past 12 months. Whoops. Ok so I only paid retail for one of them but, well, let me explain: Ive had a history of destroying footwear and having bad foot posture for years. The sunken arches led to orthotics and somewhat special Brooks shoes. Later on I got rid of the orthotics (along with my glasses) in a move towards my body learning to correct itself rather than relying on external products to help me out.

This didn’t necessarily work so recently during my holistic phisio sessions (bartered through LETS) we’ve been working out a few things which would be good for my body – with such ailments as chronic back tightness, knee pain and various soreness at times. One of these strategies was more time barefoot and/or considering these strange shoes called five fingers. I did my thing (making barter connections) and managed to get them a bit cheaper but i still picked up a pair (shoe #3). They’re pretty interesting. Like the brooks saddle on bikes it takes a bit of ‘wearing in’. The main difference being that you’re wearing in your feet and your leg muscles instead of the item itself.

a bit like this, but brown like me

a bit like this

So Ive had them for about a week now and i can feel them starting to teach my foot how to support itself properly. It also quickly teaches you to stop doing all those stupid things with your feet (kicking things, dragging them at all, being hard on ‘your shoes’ – which means your feet/body)

But there’s been an unprecedented verbal response from all kinds of folk
“crazy shoes man!”
“oh you have those shoes”
“toe shoes” “cool shoes!” (get the drift?, a tad annoying).

I got the brown colour to try and blend in a match my skin, to not be a spectacle. Not so, it seems. Well now ive blogged about my bloody shoes, so please get over it. Just kidding. The KSO model does not do well in the rain or cold, theres another one called Flow which has wetsuit upper instead of meshy fabric. Maybe next time…

So what were the other two shoes you ask? Well, shoe #1 was the Ecos shoe from Simple: “A small shoe company from” blah blah in the US.. I saw it in camping stores and thought the recycled sole was kinda cool. It also had a hemp upper which completed the ‘vegan shoe’ criteria which i was pretty into as well. I needed a pair of shoes in a hurry so i lashed out $160 and bought them instead of the Vollys i had been kicking around the last few years. I have to say now that the truck tire tread on the sole looks like it has been hand/mechanically drawn in after the shoes are assembled ?? I don’t doubt

Simply crap. Arrgh !

Simply crap. Arrgh !

that it is re-used rubber but I think Simple are being fairly condenscending to the green consumer who expects their truck tire to look like a truck tire. Anyway, it seemed like a good shoe for a while. I didn’t even use it that much (due to shoe #2, see below) but then it started to fall apart. Less than 6 months old, not much use. Simple, I now have unfriendly feelings towards you.

Shoe #2
was Keen commuter sandal was a bike gear related purchase. I was finally diving into the realms of clipless pedals for bike touring as some good friends suggested it made all the difference when dealing with hills. I’d made friends with some bike crew in melb and one of them worked for a camping store which made the $230 (!!) price tag a bit more reasonable after a staff discount. Was still the most i’d ever spent on a piece of footwear, or anything non-electronics related which attaches to my body actually. I was pretty into them on my bike tour and I actually posted my ecos shoes home. But the Keen commuter is not like those other keens around. Its long and narrow –

keen commuter. a stiff one.

keen commuter. a stiff one.

which suits my feet, but it’s also firm and hard like all cleat shoes. This along with the metal cleat poking out a little makes it not a healthy option for your feet. Long periods walking in these shoes equalled massive leg and knee tightness for me and now im moving away from cleated pedals and shoes and only use these expensive sandals on some borrowed cargo bikes. Damn.

It feels a bit strange talking about products on frugal blog but yeah, like the post title this is detailing my frugal footwear failure. Was even sucked into the green-consumer target market with the ecos purchase. I think i have to go buy some bamboo toe-socks now.. oh god.

Follow-up post here: five-fingers-report-back

Posted in: frugal musings