Ever ask yourself “why do my feet hurt at the end of the day?” Or wonder “why do I have back pain after a day on the job?“ Have you ever wondered why, even when your shoes feel soft and cushy you still aren’t comfortable after being on your feet for long periods of time? It’s a common misconception that good shoes or boots are soft and full of cushion. The truth is that in order to stay comfortable, your body needs support. With tennis shoes and cheaper, soft footwear, you don’t get the support your body needs. On top of that, many boot stores are lined with thick carpet (this makes anything feel better) and salespeople are more concerned about making a sale than making sure you are just as happy at the end of the day as you are at the beginning. I learned this the hard way.
A year ago now, I was in the market for some new shoes. I went shopping around, and as many people do, I was looking for the coolest looking boots, not even considering comfort too much. Now I am a younger man, but I already have a herniated disc in my back and Patellofemoral Syndrome in my knee. Despite this I never realized how much the right boots can reduce back pain. In any case, I purchased “X” shoes that appeared to be “comfortable” (in other words cushiony) from one of the stores I had been shopping around at. My back and knee pain only got worse after hours of time spent on them.
About a month later, I got some Timberland Pro Valor tactical boots from Harry’s Army Surplus, and this was the first time I learned something. First off these boots had a nylon shank in them, which I later learned is to better support your arch and calves. They also had a molded external heel cage to better hold your heel in place. All that aside, within the first hour of putting them on, I was in heaven. I instantly noticed that my posture was better: the heel support and the height of the boot caused me to stand up straighter. I also noticed that my back and knee were not hurting nearly as bad. The boot itself was not very stiff, so from tennis shoes to an 8 in boot was a little easier transition. At the end of the day was that I was so far less fatigued than normal from having this supportive footwear, that the day flew by! Before, I could tell how far into my shift I was by how sore and tired I was. This day, however, I had worked 10 hours and felt like I had only worked 3. It was amazing and changed my life. This is just one example of how support is more important that cushion when choosing your boots and how making sure the person helping you is knowledgeable of these factors that will help keep you comfortable and happy throughout your entire day.