Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I hesitate to call my enjoyment of shoes either a fetish or a mania, I just love shoes. It must be genetic and I’m no exception. Like most women, I have more shoes than one needs or can ever get around to wearing. Storing my favorites makes me envy the closets of Imelda Marcos. I used to have two requirements of shoes, pretty and affordable. I love that euphemism “affordable”. I bought the prettiest, cheapest shoes I could find with the philosophy that more was better since they would change styles quickly. I had never heard of Manolo Blahniks until the OJ trial hit TV. All women love beautiful shoes and no matter the cost, we buy as many as we can afford and sometimes more.

My parents took me shopping when I was four and the idea was to buy a practical pair of brown leather lace-up saddle shoes to wear with socks. I fell in love with a beautiful little pair of low-heeled, powder blue, leather flats that I wanted to wear without socks. We compromised and bought both pairs of shoes, but I had to wear socks with both pairs. I agreed, but soon “forgot” to wear the socks with the blue pumps which I was only allowed to wear to church on Sunday. The brown shoes were for school, or everything else. Since I was allowed to buy that pretty little pair of blue shoes when I was four years old, I have loved beautiful shoes.

After attending the latest movie known for its fashion focus, my friends and I had a lively discussion centered around, “Who wears stuff like that, except for a movie?” I was assured that people in New York dress like that. I suppose it has been longer than I remembered since I last visited New York, or maybe I didn’t cross paths with any “fashion conscious” people.

Over the years, I have made many unwise shoe purchases and learned that I don’t wear them anyway and I stopped buying the ones I know I won’t wear, no matter how beautiful they are. I used to buy shoes that were too small just because they were beautiful. I moved to shoes a size and a half larger and my feet are happier. After three foot surgeries, and Morton’s Neuroma, my requirements have evolved beyond beauty in a pair of shoes. I still require that they look acceptable and attractive, but I would drive a shoe designer crazy. I would love to have a long discussion with a shoe designer and explain what I require for my abused feet.

My number one requirement now is comfort, with a capital C. I haven’t given up on the idea that comfortable shoes can also be beautiful. I never bought into the “Frankenstein” look that was popular years ago. Combat boots aren’t in my closet either. I require that I be able to actually walk in shoes or even run without breaking a leg or getting blisters. I used to wear high heels every day to work, but I wore out my feet before the shoes. I like a reasonable heel on most shoes, but the stilettos only exist in my "high school, can't bear to throw it away" closet now. I don’t wear shoes with heels higher than two inches even in dress-up shoes. Shoes with pointed toes aren’t in my future, but they played a prominent role in my current foot problems.

I buy lots of sandals every summer and I wear sandals most of the summer. I love dressy sandals for night time, but even if they are backless, they have to have enough leather across the top of the foot that I can keep them on my feet even if I ran while wearing them. No flip flops for me. I require that my little toes have containment on the sides of the shoes and I wear no sandals with leather between my big toe and second toe. I love sandals with suede bottoms where the sole of my foot contacts the shoe. Anything else sticks to the bottom of my feet and makes sucking sounds when I walk. I love all leather sandals because leather behaves well after many wearings and it gets softer with foot oils. They don’t start to smell like feet either. Leather is a wonderful product in any form but I like to avoid man-made materials like plastics. I like cool feet and plastics make smelly, sweaty, hot feet. Many shoe designers have a clue and design wonderful sandals so when I find one, I buy several in different colors or several in the same color. Sandals stay in style longer than other types of shoes. It is hard to wear out a good pair of sandals, but I have managed to do just that. I’m still looking for the perfect little, beautiful pair of powder blue sandals to add to my closet. I still love little blue shoes.

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