I am following in my mother's footsteps.
In the quest for comfortable footwear.
A struggle she had for most of her life.
She had her bunions removed in 1969, when she was just 36 years old.
The surgery left her with permanent pain in her feet.
She was forever left in search of the right pair of shoes that would take the pain away.
Allow her to walk comfortably, if even only to the mall and back for some groceries.
That day never came.
And now I am finding myself on the same search for comfortable footwear.
Not that I had ever had any other option.
Having inherited her big, bad, bold and not-so-beautiful bunions through her DNA, I have always had to wear extra wide shoes; nothing sexy comes in extra wide sizes.
But now, in my sixth decade on this planet, my feet are starting to show some wear and tear.
They are becoming tender and need some extra support.
It seems I can no longer wear a memory foam pair of sneakers that are on sale at WalMart.
I have to shell out some big bucks.
It all began some years ago when I was needing some new sandals.
I headed into a "specialty" store known for its comfortable footwear.
A new pair of "ecco" brand sandals seemed to fit the bill: velcro straps, firm but pliable footing, support in all the right places.
My feet didn't hurt when I tried them on.
There were no price tags on those ecco sandals.
When I went to pay for them, I was told "that will be $200 please!"
I nearly fainted right then and there.
But I guess one cannot put a price on comfort and security, and being able to walk without pain and discomfort.
Fast forward a few years to the present day.
I knew I needed help, and fast.
In my current running shoes, even with Dr. Scholl's comfort inserts, I couldn't walk for more than half an hour or so.
Something my lifestyle needs me to do.
And so, back to the specialty shoe store it was.
I tried on a pair of ecco sneakers this time; same colour as my current shoes, black with a white sole - they go with everything.
The support was there.  They were made of leather uppers.  With stretchy shoelaces so they could just be slipped on.  They checked all the boxes.  My other choices in colours were a fabulous pale blue or a white.  I knew I should choose the black, being the ever practical one who doesn't like too many choices when she is putting on her shoes to go out!
While I was there, I looked for a pair of slipper type ecco shoes that I could wear around the house too.  
My fluffy, flat ballet type slippers were causing me pain as well, and I thought I may need more support in the slipper department too.
The sales lady showed me a pair of dusty rose slip on sandals, really pretty, that would serve my needs as slippers around the house, I thought.
I am embarrassed to say how much these shoes were but here goes:  the sneakers were $220, and the slipper sandals were $120. 
With taxes, I walked out of there paying nearly $400 for two pairs of shoes.
(NB:  I have just discovered that the "ecco" brand is made in Denmark - another reason perhaps why those Danish folks are always at the top of the list of the Happiest People On The Planet - they have comfortable shoes!!!)
However, that is more money than I have ever paid on all the shoes I have ever bought in my life.
That store, Walking On A Cloud, is now walking on a pile of my money.
But I don't think I should complain.
I think I have to look at the cost as an investment; to help the future me be able to continue to walk.
For I want to walk for as long as I possibly can.
I know walking is the key to many, many things; quality of life, happiness, emotional and mental good health, fitness and physical good health, the ability to go places and explore and learn and see new things.
So, not being able to walk is not an option I am willing to accept right now, God willing, and touch wood, up, down, right, left and centre.
Short of going to a proper foot doctor and having my feet professionally assessed, and the subsequent orthotics or diagnosis or whatever, I will instead invest in these extremely expensive and supportive shoes and hope for the best.
So far the sandal slippers, as I like to call them, are amazing.
Extremely supportive in all the right places; like someone is putting their thumb on all the right pressure points and helping to alleviate some of the pain that is being caused by letting parts of my foot go flat or succumb to age.
I have walked a lot of steps in my life, and my little dogs are letting me know that if I want to continue to walk a lot of steps, I have to take care of them.
I remember going to a concert one summer recently where I wore my sneakers and no socks and we walked and stood around and walked and stood around for hours.
Well, the next day, an entire layer of skin came off from under the ball of my foot.
It seems I had just plum wore out an entire epithelial layer.
Perhaps that has something to do with the predicament my feet are in today.
Or perhaps they are just gently telling me they need more support, please!
And so, support they will have.
No matter the cost.
Because having feet that don't cause pain, as my mum never unfortunately was able to find out, is worth it.

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