A few years ago I joined a Yoga class led by the amazing Rose Thorn who, at the time, was thinking a lot about feet. Every week we began with exercises to ‘wake them up’ and although I was a bit slow on the uptake (Sorry Rose!) I gradually began to understand what she was trying to tell me; I have knock knees and weak ankles. Said ankles roll inwards if I let them resulting in flat feet. I also had little toes which curled in and under whilst the big ones were debating whether to form bunions.
Whilst I have a memory of being taken to the GP as a small child about my knock knees and having to have Startright shoes and sandals – fine in primary school but not so great as I entered my teens – the squashed toes were entirely self-inflicted. As soon as I was able to choose for myself I wore high heels with pointy toes all the time. I even had a pair of heeled mule-type slippers for a time! To make matters worse my left foot is bigger than my right so inevitably one shoe was tight and the other slightly loose.
By this time I was doing a lot of walking and owned 3 types of footwear – wellies for the garden, a pair of steel toe-cap boots for the woods and the aforementioned high heel and pointy toe shoes for going out. The wellies made my feet sweat, the heels hurt (the yoga was encouraging my toes to spread making the shoes too narrow) and the boots were heavy.
Having finally seen the error of my ways I eventually decided to invest in a pair of shoes that would fit properly and care for my feet. I went to see Ruth Emily Davis of Machynlleth who measured my feet and told me that the left was size 6 1/4 in length whilst the right was 5 3/4 but both needed a width of 5 1/2. She could make me a pair to those measurements in any colour I chose from her huge range. A sensible person would have chosen black or brown or navy so that scuffs could be covered with polish. But I am batty and I wanted them to make me smile so I chose daffodil yellow with purple linings. That made Ruth smile too since making sensible shoes is not as much fun as making colourful ones! A few weeks later I went back to collect them and discovered how comfy shoes can be. And I still smile every time I put them on.
But lovely shoes deserve lovely socks. Hand knitted socks in interesting colours rather then boring socks in synthetic yarn sold in packs. So out came the knitting needles and a pattern from a book bought on a whim years ago. The first pair went into holes almost as soon as I put them on but advice from Mrs Snail and another knitting friend, Susan, led to trips to Cardigan market and to Jane’s in Fishguard, both of which stock good sock wool. I have found that although the patterns look fearsomely complicated it is just a matter of following them steadily – they make sense when you have the needles in your hands.
So now I have lovely comfy, smile inducing shoes and cosy, interesting socks to wear inside them plus some welly socks to keep my feet warm when walking the dogs in the rain and cold. My feet are suitably grateful!