For years I wore a comfortable pair of sneakers. My feet would slide into them and often sigh with contentment because they felt like they had been custom made for me. My toes knew the grooves and my arches were supportive. The insides covered with memory foam kept my feet comfortable as I took each step. They were a soft blue color with white laces, and the soles were a thick white rubber that protected the bottom of my feet from the hard pavement.

I’d slip into them in the mornings and head out the door, secure that my shoes would take me places and keep my feet protected.

It’s funny when we get so comfortable with shoes that we forget what it was like when we first bought them and wore them for the first time. I forgot what it was like when my sneakers were brand new.

Comfy or not

Recently, I bought a new pair of shoes. These aren’t the comfortable ones that my feet know. These have stiff soles and are not covered with memory foam on the inside. They rub my toes in different places that make me aware that I have pinky toes. If I don’t wear the right thickness of socks, my heals rub a bit. When I wear these shoes, I’m aware of every step my feet take. I know that they are new!

Before when I wore my comfy shoes, I observed people wearing new shoes. I’d see those obviously super clean shoes and think, “What’s up? Why is your stride halting as you step? You obviously are wearing a perfectly good pair of shoes!” I never gave it a thought that it might have been those NEW shoes slowing them down.

You see, I had forgotten what new shoes did to a person’s feet. I forgot that the shoes hadn’t yet made the comfortable grooves their toes would fit in. That they had soles that were still stiff. Possibly, the shoes were so new that they hadn’t even been dirty enough yet to be washed, still factory new.

Now, I’m wearing my clean pair of shoes that the soles haven’t learned to flex comfortably yet. They are a new color and have bright color laces. These shoes aren’t a familiar blue, but are a bright flamming red.

They’re a different color, but the same style of shoes. A sneaker that reminds me of my old pair, but they aren’t the same at all.

As I walk, I pass shoes that look like mine. Except that they have been worn a little, with not quite the newness of mine, but they still need breaking in. Others, are all new and sparkly, like they’ve just been taken out of the box and put on that day.

I like to pass the comfortable looking ones that fit like a dream and the person’s stride is purposeful and know where they’re going. I want my new shoes to replicate theirs.

I’m meeting new shoes in hallways, paths, and pavements. I’m trying to remember all the different brands of shoes I pass and it gets confusing. Some look nothing like I’m used to seeing because stores sell a variety of footwear. Not everyone has the same taste in footwear.

Some are boots, clonking as they walk their paths. Heavy, as if they are weighing the feet down. Some are sandals, letting toes breathe and nails shine. Then there are the heels that click, clack in a steady rhythm as they move about on their path.

Overall, I prefer the sneakers encasing the toes, and tied with laces to keep them firmly in place. I’m ready for my new sneakers to become comfortable, so I forget I have pinky toes and heals as I walk. I’m ready for my toes to slip into grooves and for the memory foam inserts that slip in to surround my feet in softness.

The only way to make new shoes old…is to wear them one day at a time. To take the steps and walk in the dirt until they need washed. To put my feet in time and time again, until they feel like an old friend when feet and shoe meet. Until then, I’m walking in them every chance I get!