The day I became a Masai warrior-in-training

What’s that you say? An author with pronated feet and lower back pain who sits too long at the computer, becoming a Masai warrior? Not quite.

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.


11 thoughts on “The day I became a Masai warrior-in-training

  1. What a giggle that final image brings, Sheryl.

    Hope the new shoes continue to impress. Hmmm… Adding a bit of height… Maybe I should get a pair. 🙂 (Kidding!)


  2. Carole, I hasten to add I’m not a representative for the company, lol. But like your friend, when one has back, hip, feet (whatever) problems, sometimes you have to search farther afield than orthotics.
    My physio wasn’t anti or pro them, because she didn’t know enough about them. But she had heard they were good for ‘bad feet’ and we both agreed, that sounds like me!
    So I’ll reserve my opinion on them for a few months yet – after the blisters clear up. Yes, unfortunately, I have blisters on both heel – going to see the shop manager this week as I might need a half size bigger. Shall add a picture to the blog.


  3. Loved the blog Sheryl. I just had to see these fascinating shoes so I looked them up. Well… an hour or so later… after watching numerous videos on MBT walking techinique and copying and pasting links to my friend with the hip problem who can’t jog anymore and who hates her orthotics…
    We expect updates, you realise, Sheryl. And a photo of your MBTs!
    Carole 🙂


  4. Hi Gabs – yes, you can write as much as you like in comments on a blog. The shoes look fine – mine are grey, silver and white – very tasteful, but they add another few cms to one’s height.


  5. Very funny Dee!! I love corny! Sheryl, I’m looking forward to seeing these shoes. They sound very interesting. But do they look nice?? Yes, yes I’m vain I know! What colours do they come in? ha ha.
    Looking forward to catching up soon, what are you doing Aust Day (or am I supposed to say Invasion Day?) I may be working at the nursery with Brad. Worked there today, and I’m exhausted! Don’t know how Brad does it!! Is a blog like facebook? Am i allowed to write this much?? Anyway, I’m on my facebook/blog ‘L’ plates!!!
    Love ya! Gab xxx


  6. Great post, Sheryl. I’m supposed to wear orthotics, but don’t like them. I prefer thongs. 🙂

    My adult son can’t walk without his expensive orthotics that he orders from a podiatrist in Brisbane. I’ll keep watching this post to see how your new shoes work out.


  7. I’ve seen these shoes and owndered what they’d be like. Good luck with them 🙂


  8. Yes, I know exactly what you mean about the ‘curse of summer’ – no orthotics! You should probably get advice first before trying these, Meredith – a good physio should know. I’m finding that because one has to keep a gliding, rolling movement, and having to control all the muscles in feet, ankles, legs, calves, hips, back – etc, it could mean that those areas get stronger. And hopefully lessen the need for orthotics. That’s my theory and I’ll keep you in the loop! Or the Masai glide across the desert! 🙂


  9. Let me know how these go, Sheryl. I too have extremely dodgy feet (courtesy of years of torn ligaments, shattered leg bones and ripped apart ankle joints) and need orthotics as well (though usually only wear them in winter because of the ‘shoe’ problem – they just don’t fit in sandals (or on bare feet!) However my chiropractor told me this type of shoe (I think the first lot on the market was the Yodgee brand) would not be suitable for me as the nature of my problems means I need a slight heel, and these go ‘up’ at the back. So he thinks they’d put even more strain on my lower back, leg muscles etc.


  10. Dollar a day? That’s cheap. I am curious to see these shoes. Perhaps all writers need them with all the sitting we do. Great post.



  11. I really enjoyed this post, Sheryl. I hate to be corny (no that’s a lie, you know I love to be corny) but….”if the shoe fits…..”

    Hope the dollar a day shoes are living up to their expectations lol.



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