Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Betts Shoes for Old Feet

What has a pair of old shoes got to do with a blog about travels, visitors and the like? Stay tuned and I'll tell you.

Over a decade ago while working at the Commonwealth Building in Alice Springs, I walked to and from work every day except on the rare days when it rained and occasionally when I woke up tired and cranky and just couldn't be bothered. It was a 20 minute walk each way, all the exercise an aging body needed.

Because I've had gout in my two large toes, first diagnosed when I left the Air Force at 24 years of age, it was always a struggle to find a shoe that provided both optimum comfort and a business style. At my elevated level, I couldn't really wear coloured sneakers to work. Not good for the corporate image.

The first pair of "walking" shoes I found that were black leather were Reebok sneakers. They just passed the business appearance test but lasted about 20 months before they were worn through on the bottom. Out they went.

Next came the Rockports and then another pair of so-called walking shoes, neither of which was really satisfactory. In desperation, I searched the (then) four shops in Alice Springs looking for something I felt didn't actually exist. I found the above pair of Airflex shoes at Betts ... The Best Shoes for Old Feet. I'm still wearing them probably a decade later.

They were wide enough to relieve my gout problems (exacerbated by lateral compression) and the inner sole was well cushioned. Not only that, they looked nice enough to wear to work.

The boots shown above have walked in most capital cities in Australia. They spent three years walking the corridors of the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, they've been to Germany, Scotland, Canada, Hong Kong, Cyprus, and these days pound the long concrete walkways of the Alice Springs Correctional Centre (If they had a memory they could tell a tale or two!). They cost me $75 AU and were without doubt, the best value for money I've ever experienced. Look at the sole shown in the photo ... hardly any wear. Outside, they shine brightly when polished. Inside's a different story. The Airflex innersole has died and although still relatively comfortable, I very much wanted a replacement.

Saturday I found it. The Betts Hawk, $170 AU and hopefully my new friends for the next decade. The Hawk also is lighter and has no metal parts to set off metal detectors when you walk through airport security scanners. Now how's that for two pairs of shoes and maybe many thousands of kilometres travelled?

Have you got a favourite product you'd like to share with us? Write a comment between now and end of November and have a chance to win a baseball cap or a beer cooler from Alice Springs. (Only two prizes. Robin is judge and his opinion is final)



Skechers UK said...

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Robin said...

Thanks for your comment. Your shoes are probably pretty good too, but I can't go to the UK to buy a pair.

Jerry said...

G'day Robin,

I am a 100% believer in Crocs.

I too have foot issues. For most of my life, I have suffered from pedal discomfort. Not pain, just discomfort but man! discomfort can be uncomfortable! by the end of the day, my weary dogs would have dragged me to the edge of immobility!

Four years ago (the year before everybody had them) I bought my first pair of Crocs - bright orange. Wore them at the lake in the summer. They're still going strong.

Two years ago, I bought a pair of respectable black Crocs and brought them to the Oasis. And started to wear them to work! Since then, I've bought another four pairs, two black with no holes (for formal occasions), a grey one with holes (for when wearing chinos) and another black with holes for general use.

Reaction in the Faculty has been mostly ho-hum. Buzzell's being wierd again! Linda has rolled her eyes and sighed loudly but put her foot down when we were dressing up in monkey-suit and ball gown for a Chaine dinner. (But last spring, while she was out of the country, I wore them to a Chaine dinner. If anyone was offended, he/she was too polite to mention it. Linda's reaction when I told her was predictable, though).

I understand that Crocs is going through some hard times. The shoes don't wear out. There are lots of knock-offs. Etc. I'm doing my bit to help them. Hopefully, they'll keep my in comfort beyond retirement until a pair melts on me on my passage to the crematorium, sometime far in the future.

Best wishes and love to Christina,

Robin said...

I've never been able to bring myself to buy a pair of Crocs Jerry but two of my work colleagues wear them to work as you do, so I may have to experiment.

Orange would be a bit outlandish, but perhaps a calming green or brown. I'll rush off and get a pair over the weekend.

When an anatomy specialist tells you Crocs are good, one has to listen. (Have you asked for a spotter's fee?)

Stay well and love to Linda.


nurse on call said...

Hi Robin. Just dropping by.

I am using Crocs for almost 2 years. My 12-hour-shift is always pain free, most of us, nurses are using Crocs because it is very comfortable and gentle on our feet especially with the long hours of standing and walking.

Robin said...

Hi NOC, as I write, my wife Christina has just left for an afternoon shift at the Alice Springs Hospital. She's in charge of today's shift at the Midwifery Unit. She doesn't have to do 12h shifts, they are 8h here ... hard enough.

I doubt if her hospital admin would let nurses wear Crocs, but I've no doubt they are comfortable, especially when you are on your feet and running around all day.

Thanks for your post NOC. It's lovely to hear from you after so long.

nurse on call said...

Good thing that the hospital admin allowed us to wear Crocs. It is really comfy. No sore feet at all.

Been busy lately as a forum moderator for Overseas Filipino Workers. So glad that I'm back to the blogsphere.

Cheers! Regards to your wife.

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shoe shop said...

Another tip will be to find an internet based shop since they typically have cost on the shoe that are lower than what you would normally see. By searching for an internet shop you will notice that they have a large selection of shoe, but also the shoe are at a cost that is very reasonable compared to the other shops.