The Freelance Life
Like most freelancers, my physical exertion varies wildly from day to day. When I’m at home working on my memoir or hammering out a big PR project, I won’t hit 1,000 steps. (Or change out of my pajamas!) On media event days at the parks in Orlando or while traveling in Europe especially, I’ll rack up 15,000 steps easily. The big difference is that on those mega-mile days, I end up limping back in my hotel room with excruciating pain from my heels to my hips to my back. String a week of those days together as I often do, and I’m looking at ice, rest and ibuprofen on repeat, plus multiple physical therapy sessions and chiropractic adjustments when I get back. Not a healthy pattern, nor a sustainable one.
Before my most recent trip to NYC for the Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship, I had this nagging fear that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the city like I used to as a spry twenty-something. Wandering around the Big Apple is one of my favorite things to do, and with my days scheduled from morning until late night with activities, networking and meetings, I knew I’d have to find a solution to my pain or suffer and potentially miss out.
The Search for Comfortable Travel Shoes
Before I left, I was shopping for new clothes for the trip when I noticed The Walking Company across the way. The Walking Company is the leading retailer of comfort footwear and home to the ABEO brand. I’d ordered a pair of their ABEO Balboa flip-flops online several years ago and realized that they were the most comfortable travel shoes in my arsenal. Perhaps I could find a cute, more dressed up pair for New York?
Normally, buying shoes for me is about:
- How they look
- How they feel at the moment
- How much they cost
And don’t all shoes feel pretty good in the store when you love how they look? I can justify any expenditure if I like how something looks. (Hence a closet full of uncomfortable shoes…)
I’ve never given much thought to how important it is to have a shoe that really fits properly. Ding-ding-ding… could this be my problem?!
After a 3-D scan of my feet to analyze length, width and arch type, the unbelievably friendly saleswoman at The Walking Company used my digital footprint to recommend the right fit for me. The scan confirmed what I suspected – my super high arches require metatarsal support, which redistributes weight from the ball of the foot and relieves pain and pressure.
The sales gal brought me all sorts of shoes to try with both built-in and removable orthotics. There are two options in ABEO shoes: the P.R.O.system style with an interchangeable 3D³ CORE Orthotic matched to each individual foot type and the B.I.O.system collection with built-in footbeds that support the arches, align the body and absorb impact.
It felt a bit weird at first, having that support under my arches like a cozy foot hug, but I was willing to try anything if it would buy me more time on my feet. I left with two pairs of cute, three-inch block heels and hoped for the best.
Let’s talk about how these shoes have been the biggest game changer in my travel life.
I wore my two new pairs for a week in New York City. To my great surprise, I did not suffer my usual pain at all. I went from barely being able to walk or stand for an hour to being able to frolic all day in NYC. Walking blocks at a time. Standing for hours at a gala. Going up and down Subway stairs. With no agonizing pain.
For me, this was miraculous.
I always thought my pain was just a part of getting older and switching between no physical activity to lots of it. As it turns out, my aches and pains weren’t from aging at all, but likely due to cheap-o shoes with no support. Eureka!
A New Era
After my trip to NYC, I did not stop talking about my new shoes. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I was wearing my ABEO shoes on the treadmill while I worked on my book. I dragged Rachel into The Walking Company store in Orlando to show her all the styles I wanted to try next. I‘d overhear someone in the grocery checkout line talking about sore feet, and I’d spout off about “customized comfort” like I owned company stock.
You would think I had some kind of partnership with The Walking Company – but I didn’t. I just loved their comfortable travel shoes. And then, very serendipitously, I met a rep from company and told them how obsessed I’d become. The rest is history. They set me up to try even more of the ABEO line and now I’m even more crazy about them.
I already had “Buy boots from The Walking Company” on my pre-Ireland to-do list before I partnered up with them, so this newfound obsession worked out perfectly. I went back to the store, met even more ridiculously friendly salespeople (you will not find more helpful employees anywhere else in the mall) and tried on several dozen styles. I left with two pairs of cute boots for Ireland and some espadrilles for our next tropical journey.
As you saw on Instagram, Rick and I (somewhat futilely) attempted to see everything in Ireland & Northern Ireland in seven short days. There’s a lot of walking and trekking and exploring to do, over hills and glades and hexagonal volcanic rock formations, and I wore my ABEO Nicole boots with metatarsal footbed in black ($189) and my ABEO Hilda boots with 3D³ Casual Orthotic in taupe ($199) the whole time, only switching to my old ones for Game of Thrones cosplay purposes.
We walked around 80,000 steps from Dublin to Belfast to Dingle to Killarney. That’s 40 miles with no days off to rest or soak my feet in ice. And you know what? It was FINE. I felt FANTASTIC.
My feet didn’t hurt, my knees didn’t ache. I felt like a normal, young-ish person on an adventure. It’s been so long since I felt that way, I didn’t even know if it was still possible.
If your feet, ankles, knees or low back are hurting, don’t give up on gallivanting!
Go to The Walking Company and get you some comfortable travel shoes! When you feel good, you can do more. So on top of looking cute and being comfortable on my feet, there’s been a change in my overall health and wellbeing. I can stand up for reasonable amounts of time and walk long distances with ease. I don’t have to load up on anti-inflammatories and schedule time in my day to ice my barking dogs. I can wear cute heels at a theme park media event, y’all. This is huge.
The website says they’re the most comfortable shoes on earth, and I tell you what, they are 100% the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. Yes, everyone’s feet are different, so I can’t promise the ABEO line will work for you or make a big difference.
All I can say is I was really discouraged about my future as a traveler for a while there, and now I’m not. I am a fan for life.
Want to win a pair of ABEO slippers from The Walking Company? Enter in my 2017 Holiday Travel Gift Guide!
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Special thanks to The Walking Company for providing ABEO boots for my Ireland trip. All other shoes were purchased by me. Though this post is sponsored by The Walking Company, all opinions are mine, and were solidified well before I partnered with the brand. I love sharing the products that make my life better, and these comfortable travel shoes absolutely have. Thank you for supporting the brands and destinations that keep Angie Away a free travel resource!