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)