Why I Wear Altra Shoes

One evening after an easy three-mile walk, I began to limp. My left foot had developed a pain on the outside edge near the base of the little toe. This pain came out of nowhere. I was perplexed as I hadn't done anything noticeable. I typically went for a three mile walk each evening after work. Nothing spectacular, just a stroll around a flat, fine crushed limestone path. No hills, no challenging terrain at all.

The morning I could barely walk. My foot ached and walking was torture. I decided that a few days of rest were in order. Unfortunately, the pain barely subsided. I suspected a stress fracture. A trip to the doctor and an X-ray revealed no broken bones. My doctor recommended I see a podiatrist. When the highly recommended podiatrist looked at my X-rays he immediately said that I had high arches and needed orthotics. Two weeks later and several hundred dollars later I was walking around in even more tortuous and painful orthotics. Two weeks later, I had developed Achilles tendinitis. A follow up visit with the podiatrist left me in disbelief. This so-called doctor told me to lay off the orthotics for a few days and the Achilles would be fine. Really? Sorry, but I have had tendinitis before and am well aware that it takes months, not days, to recover from. I stopped wearing the orthotics that afternoon.

I made an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. I know this doctor from previous bouts of bad luck, gravity, and sudden impacts. Let's just say that I had good reason to trust my good friend the doctor. Another X-ray and a diagnosis of peroneal tendinitis. A prescription for meloxicam and physical therapy was in order.

Painful Os Peroneum Syndrome

My doctor prescribed more meloxicam and rest. The good news is that my Achilles' tendon was healed and happy. Bad news was that walking on uneven terrain resulted in terrible pain in my still unhappy foot.

After scouring the Internet for treatment options, it turns out that had my podiatrist had prescribed exactly the worst thing possible. It turns out that going barefoot as much as possible and wearing shoes with no motion control and no arch support is what is best for my condition.

I finally found shoes that fit the description but it wasn't easy. Most shoes are made with arch support, some degree of anti-pronation or motion control, and elevated heels. All of this are actually bad for your feet.

I was lucky to discover the Altra brand of shoes. Altra makes zero rise shoes with natural shaped toe boxes, and without the arch support or motion control that is so common.

The closest dealer however was an hour away. Considering that I had spent nearly a thousand dollars in medical bills and on useless orthotics, and nine month later I was still in pain, an hour drive was well within reason.

I arrived at 4th Avenue Birkenstock in Ann Arbor, Michigan and was greeted by Claire. It turns out that Claire and her husband Paul own the shop. I told Claire about my foot and she helped me select two pairs of Altras. They immediately felt great and I was very optimistic that I had finally found the right shoes.

My foot began to feel better after about a month. I also received three Rolfing treatments to help the peroneal muscle and its tendon. Within three months my foot was healed and I was once again able to resume my daily three-mile walk.

It has been two years now since I discovered Altra shoes and I now own four different models. The Superior, Lone Peak, Lone Peak Neo-Shell, and the Instinct Everyday.

Note: I have not received any compensation for this review. 

Shop for Altra shoes at REI.

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