My father one time told me, "Take care of your feet. They are the only ones you get." Unfortunately, he did not take his own advice. In his later years, he had a toe amputated and needed negative-pressure wound therapy treatment due to complications from type 2 diabetes.
A few months ago I was having issues with my calves tightening up, which culminated in muscle spasms during a massage. My massage therapist asked me if I changed shoes often. I said I do. I wear sandals or tennis shoes at home, but I wear dress shoes on the road. She mentioned shoe inserts as a potential option. Apparently if you change shoes but keep the same inserts, it is better for your feet and overall posture.
So, off I went to Walmart, which has a handy dandy Dr. Scholl's test station. You stand on the platform and perform various tests including standing on one foot and leaning in certain directions. Once the evaluation is complete, the machine provides you with a recommendation for a specific design of a pair of gel/rubber shoe inserts at about $60/pair. These are not the same thing as the cheap thin white inserts with the tiny holes. I was willing to try these inserts if it meant avoiding another round of muscle spasms in the calves.
I tried the inserts and they actually worked. I wore them in my tennis shoes at home, and then I put them in my dress shoes for travel. No more spasms.
Fast forward to this week, and I forgot to put the inserts in my dress shoes. I have not had any muscle spasms, but I can feel my calves getting tight again.
I think now is a good time to evaluate my footwear. I have zero interest in the fashion aspect. I don't care if it looks like I'm wearing two shoe boxes on my feet as long as the shoes are comfortable and there are no issues with muscle spasms or proper posture. At this point it appears to be a combination of foot inserts and proper shoes as the winning formula.
Choosing shoes is similar to choosing a mattress. You can't just put them on, walk around the store, and assume you are good. Shoes have to be "broken in" and used for awhile to determine whether they are ultimately going to serve your needs. I dread the process the same way I dread clothes shopping.
How to decide which shoes are the most comfortable? Someone told me one strategy is to look at what old people are wearing. You know they will definitely be wearing comfortable shoes, right @mikebyrnes ? Sorry couldn't resist!