Thursday, November 19, 2009

Foot Survival

What you wear on your feet can either make or break you when a crisis happens. It doesn't matter whether you're at home, at the grocery store, at the office, or somewhere in between, when disaster strikes you need to be able to walk your way out of it. And if you are wearing unsuitable shoes, you're in trouble.

You know what unsuitable shoes are. In the business world, both men and women are, unfortunately, stuck with bad footwear for survival. They might look great with your business clothes, but they're horrible if you have to walk any distance.

I remember a few years ago when there was a massive power outage in the Northeast. An editor I work with was stuck in New York City as night fell and traffic lights failed, bringing traffic to a standstill, and subways stopped running. When the building security people where he worked cleared the building, sending people out into the dark and dangerous city, he ended up having to walk a long distance to get to an overnight shelter.

You never know when something is going to happen. It might be a flat tire, or you run out of gas, or something else about the vehicle breaks. If you're within reasonable distance to civilization, you might end up on foot going for help. You might be somewhere on vacation when a flood, earthquake, mudslide, tornado, or hurricane happens and you end up having to evacuate on foot.

Even if you're at home, a fire might cause you to have to flee immediately, an earthquake might shatter windows and mirrors and toss stuff off shelves onto the floor, creating a minefield to walk through.

No matter what the circumstances are, if you damage your feet, you cut your chances of survival by a huge margin. So the rule is, whenever you leave your home or your office, always wear good walking shoes. I'm talking about shoes you could easily walk 5 miles in without discomfort or blisters. If the constraints of your business wardrobe don't allow you to wear walking shoes, at least have a pair tucked under your desk. If it were me, I'd leave the dress shoes under the desk every night, and wear the walking shoes to and from the office. And around the house, be able to immediately put on protective footwear in an emergency.

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