Recently, I wrote a blog post in which I went on about my arduous quest to find a pair of shoes to wear on the Camino de Santiago. I had high hopes and an empty wallet after buying a pair of Vasque hiking shoes from REI. Would the 8th pair do the trick? Alas, they rubbed my heel raw and they have been summarily rejected.
However, I have triumphed at last! Nine is the magic number! These Teva Kimtah Waterproof Mesh Hiking Shoes are the winners. And they are less than $60 on Amazon – a much nicer price than the Vasque’s. Thankfully, REI’s return policy is unparalleled so I will be able to recoup my money. The Teva Kimtah’s won because they are wider than the other shoes I tried and have just enough arch support. Still, they do require a little adjustment to be perfect. One of my feet is smaller than the other, like many people’s, so in addition to high quality socks I put a heel insert in that I bought at CVS. I tried another heel insert but it was too flimsy and small and curled up the first time I used it. The ones at CVS are bigger and more sturdy. I also need a piece of moleskin over my heel for the perfect amount of snugness.
Today I did a 7 mile hike in them and my feet feel great – no problems. Woo hoo!
I realize that this shoe quest (surely the most unglamorous of all quests, yes?) could have been cut shorter if I had been less concerned with proper fit and other amenities like waterproofing. However, I worried that blisters and general discomfort would make my Camino experience miserable so I was willing to take the time to prevent that from happening, at least as much as is possible beforehand. It was so time-consuming and difficult because I never really paid much attention to my feet before – as long as they didn’t hurt and got me where I wanted to go I just ignored them. In order to do what I could to avoid future problems that wasn’t good enough this time, though. So I had to really pay attention to examining my feet after hikes and becoming aware of the fit and feel of the shoes while I walked.
It’s amazing what focused, concentrated attention can do, in this and other endeavors. I took a course in mindfulness training a few years back, and it has really changed my life. There’s so much that we do in everyday life that we don’t think about, that we do by rote. Mindfulness helps us to become aware of our actions and to pay attention in a focused, yet objective manner. It is so simple, but so profound. This video goes over the first mindfulness exercise I performed. It really demonstrates how something as tiny and seemingly insignificant as eating a raisin can be infused with meaning and richness. We can learn to embrace that richness in many aspects of our lives, making them fuller and more sacred.