A couple weeks ago at our Monday night writers’ group, Tanya and Laura told me about Earth shoes. And by “told me” I really mean “told each other whilst I listened on intently.”The concept of the Earth shoes intrigued me. They feature KALSO Negative Heel Technology, that is, when you wear Earth shoes your heel is lower than your toes. This helps the body align more naturally. Head, straight. Shoulders, rolled back. Breathing, effortless. Spine and pelvis, aligned. Well, at least these are the claims that their Web site boasts. What’s more, there’s the story of how Anne Kalso dreamed up and implemented her radical technology.After reading Anne’s story and hearing Tanya and Laura’s accolade and doing a bit of perusing for myself on the Internet, I was convinced. These Earth shoes sounded like magic shoes. And my body alignment yearned for magic.So I spent a few hours shopping on Froogle. I fell in love with the Earth Classic style but was not wooed by its price. Then I found a pair of Earth Aspens for half price and free shipping, and, after careful consideration for no less than two hours, I decided to get them.The next four to six business days were filled with the anticipation of knowing that my magic shoes were acoming for to carry my feet through many blissfully aligned years. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I clicked the link for the UPS tracking number in my confirmation e-mail. I watched my magic shoes travel from Philadelphia to Horsham, Pennsylvania, to Hodgkins, Illinois, to Omaha, Nebraska, and finally to Lincoln and my doorstep. It was almost as addictive as checking blogs.I received them during my lunch hour last Wednesday. When I opened their box I found each shoe packed in its own individual drawstring baggy with the Earth logo on the side. Classy, I thought as I drew the strings and pulled the bags away.There was no drumroll or swelling orchestral music as I hastened to sit down, remove my old death-traps, and slip my feet in the new magic shoes. Yet the moment still felt climactic. I felt like singing “tra la la!” and raising my right arm triumphant in the air. And I would’ve done it, too, had I not all at once felt the need to clutch the kitchen counter lest I crumple and fall to the floor.What Earth forgot to adequately describe is what adding KALSO Negative Heel Technology to your shoes will do to your feet. To begin with, it feels funky. I felt like I had shoved my feet inside some kind of cavern, and then they were stuck and I had to lug the dang cavern with me wherever I went. The front of the shoe, where the toes go, felt huge. I wanted to measure it to prove its hugeness, but when I compared it to the front of my other normal shoes it seemed to be the same dimensions. Why then did it feel as though I was wearing clown shoes? For the first time ever before, I understood what it must be like to have Michael Shofner’s feet.Walking in the shoes made me feel like a horse clippity clopping on the cobblestones in a city park, carrying tourists in carriages and wearing a fancy blanket. Every step sounded thunderous, my toes seemed to point weirdly upwards, and I was having difficulty not toppling over. It took me long enough to learn to walk the first time around, and, even now, I still stumble into things all the time (like my bed and doors and walls). If wearing these shoes means learning to walk anew, will I be able to manage it?Lucky thing I’m stubborn. My hopes for the shoes were significantly crushed, yes it’s true. But I had just spent perfectly good money on them, and I was going to wear them. So I wore them to work that afternoon. And I wore them to work the rest of the week and then to church on Sabbath.Slowly my feet grew accustomed to the support. It began to feel comfortable, even.And I might be imagining it, but my back hasn’t been hurting as much.When we left for Iowa on Sabbath afternoon, I put on my familiar brown Cats and was met with a decidedly empty, uncomfortably flat feeling beneath my toes. I missed my Earth Aspens.