I don't think I mentioned this last year, but I had one huge problem with my feet. I walked around Italy for almost nine weeks with sausages for feet and ankles (See disgusting photo above.). Aside from the fact that my feet and legs hurt constantly, I was quite embarrassed because I tend to be a bit vain and thought everyone was looking at my over-stuffed appendages.
Having never experienced something like that before, I hit the doctor as soon as I got home. There was no physiological cause, which was good, so we assumed the problem was with the support in my Easy Spirit shoes. I donated those to Goodwill and brought my Skechers, Merrill, and Aerosoles—all with memory foam support—with me this trip. I have had and worn all three for more than a year and never had a problem, so I thought I was safe. Wrong. Way wrong.
By the time my group arrived the day after I did, my left foot was already ballooning beyond the limits of the Skechers. I switched to the Merrills, and for a few hours I was okay. The sausages and pain returned. For 10 days, I switched shoes and tried to stay off of my feet in the afternoon as much as possible. Going to Firenze on Tuesday, however, was the breaking point.
We left early in the morning (6:50) and arrived in Florence by 7:30. By the time we had walked from the Santa Maria Novella station to the mercato (about 10 minutes), my feet were already stretching the Skechers. By the time we left at 3:30, the elastic from the band was cutting into my left foot.
Two of the gals wear the same size I do, and they both let me try their sandals. I liked both the Ecco and the MBTs, and in the two days that I wore them, I actually had ankles. (Photo below of me wearing the borrowed MBTs.)
Long story short, I bought a pair of MBTs this morning. MBTs, if you haven't heard of them, are the original "rocking" shoe. Unlike the Skechers Firm-ups which promised to tone your legs, the MBTs are supposed to aid in walking and posture thus helping with pain and swelling. The Swiss designers patterned the shoes on what they call the "Masai Barefoot Technology" (walking like the Masai in Africa). All I can tell you is that after walking on Doreen's MBTs for a few days, the swelling was minimal. They are expensive (but worth it), but I got them on sale (making them more worth it).
Everyone in my first group left today, so I'll give my feet a bit of a rest until the second group arrives. Because I've been up since 3 am Bologna time and it's now 3 pm Bologna time, I'm tired. Please keep your voices down as I'm going to take a nap. If I get up later, I'll write another post and try to catch up.