We were on our way the Asia-Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery and having the usual conversation:
Me: We won’t be able to stay too long. I can’t walk far in these sandals.
Ross: Why didn’t you wear your runners with the orthotics?
Me: I can’t wear my daggy runners with this nice dress!
Ross: Why not?
You get the picture? In the end, Ross insists we forget the Art Gallery and use his day off to buy me a pair of ‘nice’ shoes I can wear with a dress. I suspect it is because he has reached his patience limit with my peculiar feet.
Me, thinking to myself: He has no idea how long this will take and what a hassle it will be!
So we head to the best shoe shops in the city centre that say they cater for people with ‘peculiar’ feet. Two and a half hours later after limping through several shops, facing exasperated shop-assistants and piles of opened boxes with shoes and tissue paper in an ever-spreading clutter across the floor, we find a shoe shop manager who really does know shoes and feet. She is desperate to help me.
But by then I have had enough. Ross accepts this is one challenge he is not going to win. We give up. Recovering over coffee, I read a leaflet from the shoe shop about the new MBT shoes … Masai Barefoot Technology shoes.
There is a silver-grey and white pair that would go with good shorts and casual dresses, although, sadly, not that très-chic dress hanging in my wardrobe. I’m interested. So back to the shoe shop we go.
The manager insists she and I go for a walk around the Myers Centre (she’s wearing MBTs as well) to get used to them.
No wonder she thinks I need practice! The shoes are nothing like normal shoes – MBTs are curved. Imagine walking, like the Masai apparently do, in a gliding, rocking, smooth movement across the desert sands. I feel like a dill!
Thirty minutes later I walk out with new MBTs, and poorer than if we had gone to the Art Gallery. But Ross insists they make me walk taller. That night, the muscles in my ankles, calves, hips, bum and back all say I had a ‘work-out’, even after twenty minutes.
Some podiatrists say MBTs are ‘snake-oil’ treatment. But if these shoes help build up muscles to support pronation and weak ankles, and maybe even stop my endless replacement of orthotics, I’m willing to try them.
Here’s a link to one Sports Injury bulletin on Masai Barefoot Technology.
Today, I head out in my ‘Masai shoes’. If you see a non-spear carrying, unfit author walking tall down the street, with a look of fierce concentration on her face, she’s not thinking about plot changes or character development – more likely she is trying not to fall off her shoes.