When I was in the fourth grade, the doctor told my mother that I had flat feet and would need to wear corrective shoes to, um, correct them.
The fourth grade me adamantly refused to wear the ugly-fugly shoes that the doctor said I needed to get; the fourth grade me refused to even go to the shoe store to get fitted for the ugly-fugly shoes he said I needed to get. No. Nope. No sir, no way, no how.
Because I was (I’m pretty sure) a rather easy-going kid, my mother was quite taken aback by my, vociferousness, in my outright rejection of the
ugly-fugly footwear treatment. Realizing that she was in a monumental battle of wills from which she would not emerge the victor, she backed down, and I happily spent the rest of my childhood goofing around in sneakers and whatever else “all the other kids” wore.
When, as an adult, you have flat feet (pes planus, actually) life can be a pain in the…foot. And knee. And hip. And back. And everywhere else.
The arch in the foot puts the rest of the body parts in their proper places. The human body needs the arch in the foot. It’s expecting the arch in the foot. Everything above the arch—well, not clouds and trees and stuff, just physical humanity—has been, how you say, evolved with the expectation that both feet will have the aforementioned arches.
And when your feet don’t have those arches, ohmeyegawd everything hurts and you don’t know why and an arch is so small you might not even know it’s missing and you end up thinking you’re a weakling because you can’t stand up straight and you can’t walk a mile like everybody else can.
Flat feet can give you terrible posture (because your body gets…weary, so very very weary…of trying to keep things upright that aren’t stacked properly to begin with). It can make you want to sit down—a lot. Stuff just hurts. If you’ve been standing/walking for what would be a normal time for a normal person, you can’t sit down because your knees are so stiff from being, determined, to keep the body upright that they they refuse to bend (kind of a “Do your job” scenario taken to the extreme).
Getting those knees to bend takes a lot of fortitude (and some gritting of teeth). And once you HAVE bent them and ARE sitting down, the thought of straightening them back up (to go to the bathroom, say) fills you with, well, torpor.
(And deciding which takes precedence—the full bladder or the sore knees—creates a minutes-long quandary that only ends when the bladder says as it always does, “I win. You know I win. Every time.”)
And if you’ve had flat feet your entire life and don’t realize it’s a “thing,” you can end up thinking you’re a loser because Jesu GAWD why can everybody else have normal days while every one of your days feels like you’ve climbed Denali and your knees don’t bend and your hips don’t bend and you can’t stand up and you can’t sit down and what’s up with all of that?
Enough already. Seriously.
I had to write all of the above because my In the Wild review of the Upstep arch supports is, in its entirety, the following eleven words:
It’s like I don’t have flat feet when I wear them.
To expand the review (in case you did not find it all-encompassing):
- Wearing them, I totally forgot about my feet.
- I wore them in my athletic shoes when I went for a 3-mile walk this weekend, and was pain-free.
- I wore them for an exciting 4.1 mile scurry in Manhattan the week before, wearing stretchy slip-ons, and was pain-free
- I wore them in my no-way-she’s-really-a-libraran-isn’t-she faux biker boots while out on the town with a gal-pal, and was pain-free for the entire outing.
- I was surprised that I forgot about my feet. That never happens.
With my Upstep inserts in my shoes, I could stand up. I could sit down. I could stand up and then sit down. And—and I don’t know if I’m properly conveying the immensity of this—I was pain-free. My body just did what a body is supposed to do, comfortably, fluidly, and pain-free.
The opposite of pain is not happiness, its…nothingness. I had no pain. I had nothing. Except perhaps the thought: Ohhhh…this is what it’s like to have a body that does what it’s supposed to do.
Note that I did not add “as well as the Upsteps.” Because now that I know what actually works, I also know that all the other things didn’t work. Ix-nay on the ork-way.
Having worn the Upsteps every day (and in every shoe) since they arrived, I can tell you that THEY WORK. Seriously, they are the business.
Confession: I didn’t wear them one time, because I was spending the day in the house and who wanders around that much when they are just to-ing and fro-ing in their domicile? Well of course that was the day I decided to do a lot of…every domestic activity that exists, and everything described (above) came back and that was weird because how heavy can Winter scarves be, you know what I’m saying? And then I realized that I was not wearing my Upsteps and basically had been mean to myself for the whole day. If I ever had a “light dawns on Marblehead” moment it was that.
I do have an additional issue with my “terminal portions of the limbs that bear weight and allows locomotion” that others may not: I have very little padding on the underside of my feet (according to a physician). My feet are not as fleshy as the standard for whatever age I am/have been. So the cray-cray expensive specialty-store inserts were a nightmare for me because they were made of hard plastic ow ow ow. The Upsteps have a cushiony top layer that was perfect for my oh-so-imperfect feet.
It just feels like the good people at Upstep know—deep in their souls know—what it’s like to have feet that don’t do what they’re supposed to do, and worked very hard to figure out how to create a product (and a process) that actually, really-truly works. Thank you, you good people you.
Final (I swear) words.
If you’ve got “bad” feet, get yourself a pair of Upstep inserts.
I cannot describe how much of a positive difference they have made in my every day life.
Link: Upstep Custom Orthotics