Feet. Shoes. What in the world do footwear and dogs have in common? Plenty, when you’re a dog walker.

Local dog walker  Nikki, of The Monster Minders, reports that she can walk anywhere from 10 to 12 miles per day. Last year I trekked plenty of miles walking dogs as a walker on Rover.com. In mud, on sidewalks, on sweltering hot days, and through a nasty slew of Pennsylvania snowstorms. But I never paid much attention to my shoes. Until I started having pain in the top of my foot.

I’ll spare you the details – suffice to say it’s a year later and I’m still trying to get a diagnosis. So, when local shoe store Benjamin Lovell Shoes reached out to see if I’d be willing to come in and write about them in exchange for a pair of shoes, I jumped at the chance. Who doesn’t love shoes?

Benjamin Lovell Shoes first impressions…

I walked into Benjamin Lovell Shoes and was quickly greeted by a gentleman at the front desk. I wandered around while he fetched the manager, Dave. The store was exceptionally clean.  I immediately found myself drawn to some fabulous looking heels (which, I can no longer wear due to my foot pain). As I waited, a customer came in and I noticed that she was immediately greeted as well.

Dave gave me a quick tour around the store and talk excitedly about the new store opening on 1728 Chestnut Street. As we chatted, around, I noticed customers come in and be tended to appropriately (a good sign in my book). No pushy sales people here!

I warned Dave about the pain in my left foot and asked him to avoid touching there. He immediately asked some follow-up questions and suggested he re-size my feet. Turns out I’m wearing the wrong shoe size! My one foot is a 7, but the foot (with the pain)? 7 1/2! David explained that wearing the 7 on that foot may be exacerbating the pain (not necessarily the cause of it). We talked a bit more about shoe sizing, pronation, and what to look for in different soles. I was really impressed. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve had my foot measured since I was in Buster Browns. I can certainly say I’ve never met a shoe salesperson who was so knowledgeable about shoe selection!

Find me the perfect match…

For my review, I gave Dave a tall order: Find me a pair of shoes that will hold up for a dog walker. The shoe should be:

  • Comfy but stable
  • Well made, durable materials
  • Waterproof or water-resistant
  • Wearable for 8 hours straight
  • Able to be worn on any surface (concrete, grass, pavement)
  • Suitable for fall/winter months (since that’s the season we’re currently in)
  • Be stylish enough to wear to a client meet and greet

I thought for sure he’d be stumped. I was wrong. Really wrong. I was presented with over 10 shoes to try on. Almost two hours of trying on different shoes and learning about the pros and cons of each pair. Here are the highlights:

benjamin-lovell-shoe-display

I narrowed it down to three top brands: On-Running, Cloud Footwear, and Taos.  We discussed the plusses and minuses of each – and for me, it came down to wanting to be a little more fashionable so I chose the Cave Taos boot in Bordeaux (size 7 1/2 thank you very much). I liked that it had strong tread, water-resistant, and went over the ankles (I hate when my ankles get wet from snow). I also thought they stylish enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed wearing them at a “Meet & Greet.” Since my visit, I’m happy to say that I have been able to wear them straight for 6 hours and can comfortably walk about 6 miles a day in them.

I encourage you to check out Benjamin Lovell Shoes at their new location on 1728 Chestnut Street. This Friday night, October 27, 2017, will be a “Friends and Followers” celebration at their new, bigger store in Rittenhouse Square. Be sure to appreciate all of the final touches – the custom fixtures are made by The Challenge Program, which benefits the underserved youth of Philly by teaching them trades and construction. Also, Philly native woodworking artist, Joe Perks, created custom wood pieces. Even better – Benjamin Lovell Shoes will be donating 5% of all proceeds the entire weekend to the Philly chapter of Back on My Feet. Hope to see you there!