I have written about our feet and their needs, I have written about the types of good shoes. (Past articles available at http://ashland.oregon.localsguide.com ) This month I am going to explain why it is worth the extra money to buy custom handmade shoes.
Why live with discomfort which could lead to foot issues? A 1991 study showed that 70% of us live with foot discomfort due to ill-fitting, poorly made shoes. The worst part was that the study showed this discomfort was easily manageable. Why go to a discount shoe store and pay good money for shoes that end up causing discomfort, when for a relatively small amount more you can own quality custom shoes? Custom quality shoes not only can alleviate problems, but they look great.
We are not born wearing shoes. Yet shoes are equipment that we use to both protect our feet and make a fashion statement. Like all equipment, shoes have to be correctly made and fitted to fit our feet correctly. Properly measured and manufactured shoes support the foot, and with the proper fitting of inserts, the arches are supported. Custom shoes come in many styles: dress, casual, sport, dress boots, western and work boots.
Do you think traditional golf shoes have gone the way of the Dodo? Not so, traditional golf shoes, with leather soles, and replaceable modern plastic spikes are available as custom shoes, in an incredible variety of styles and colors.
Service in the Footwear industry has almost disappeared. Some consumers manage to purchase shoes with minimal assistance. The majority of people, however, pay the price for the lack of professional responsibility and service in the industry. The price can be foot/ankle discomfort, discomfort in other parts of the body due to shoes “fighting their feet”. You can pay a little more now, for well fitted, good looking, supportive shoes or pay the price later in discomfort or possible disfigurement. If you are paying $75- $150.00 for shoes, it may surprise you, that for another hundred or two, you could own custom-designed, handmade shoes or boots. Shoes that with proper care and maintenance could last 3 to 4 times as long as the ones you buy now. Another study states that quality shoes which have formed to our feet and then are repaired are even better for us than buying new shoes over and over again. When it comes to our feet, it pays to be pound wise, not penny foolish.
In addition to finding quality shoes, find a quality dealer and service before, during and after the sale is as important as the fit of the shoe. Remember, if you care about your teeth or what you eat, you should care about your feet.
Dan has been in and around shoe repair and retail shoes for over 40 years. His parents owned both a shoe repair/retail shoe store and operated a licensed vocational school teaching shoe repair. The Shulters family has been repairing shoes since 1947.