"You're not a real runner if you wear those things," the guy running down the hill on my early morning training run a day ago said to me.
I just smiled, waved and said "watch the ice patch at the bottom."
I blame my mother.
I inherited my mother's feet -- small, wide, and prone to bone spurs sticking out at the base of my big toes as if they were a small country trying to claim freedom from the rest of my foot.
These giant bulbs of bone on the sides of my feet have always given me trouble: I can't shop for cute shoes without wanting to cry, and in my figure skating days I'd wear a thin spot in the place in my boot those spurs rubbed against.
Because of this, finding a pair of running shoes that don't give me problems was a huge chore when I first started out.
I tried every shoe under the sun: Ones for runners with wide feet with a lot of cushion, ones with less cushion but a wider toe box... you name it, I tired it.
Ultimately, I landed on Vibrams -- you know those Five Finger toe shoes people either love or hate or love to hate.
I get plenty of funny looks while running. I get asked questions about them all the time. And that nasty comment I mentioned above is not the only nasty comment I've gotten about my choice in footwear.
My shoes are a hot button topic.
So let me go on the record right now and say this: There are those who firmly believe in barefoot running, and those who firmly believe that barefoot running is a terrible idea.
I am one of those people who, instead of arguing one way or the other lives by the motto: If the shoe fits.
My shoes keep my feet happy, therefore, they make me happy.
I don't care if you run barefoot, or in the newest latest greatest gel-soled sneaker on the planet. I don't care if you run in a pink tutu and bow tie or in a singlet and shorts: Just do what makes you happy and keeps you active.
You're totally allowed to tease me about my choice of shoes and attire, just know that I will get to where I am going not because of my shoes or my feet.
My iron will is stronger than my bone spurs.