If the Shoe Fits

Shoe-Closet-2In preparation for the trip I am now on, I bought five pairs of shoes this week. One pair I realized did not fit, and another I didn’t really like, so they both went back the next day. But as I sit here, I have on one of the pairs with one other in my suitcase.

One pair was to go with a new dress that I will wear to two weddings that are two weeks apart and in two states on separate sides of the US.

Let me see now. How many pairs of shoes do I have? I am embarrassed to count. On my last flight I heard a seatmate exclaim to her daughter that she has a cousin with a closet full of shoes, and that she has never seen her wear any of them.

That got me thinking. Why do some of us seem to love shoes so? Even as a kid I was fascinated with shoes. Growing up in a family of five girls, there were always hand-me-down shoes, but rarely new ones. My first meager babysitting earnings of 50 cents an hour went to clothing, perhaps in an effort to counter the abundance of cast off clothing. And then there was the elusive glittering call of The Shoe.

The year I was 14 I had earned enough to buy holiday presents for each of my four sisters, my two brothers, our parents, and then to buy a pair of green shoes for me. Yes, I had already purchased a two-piece dress that called for that specific hue of footwear.

As I look back through the years, I have always been enchanted with shoes. The styles and height of heels have been moderated by my age. I don’t really go for the 4 inch ones anymore. And in all these years, I haven’t even considered why I love shoes. Not everyone does, but I still have the bug.

It might seem like I have lots of places to go, but not so. Even though this summer includes three airplane trips, travel is a rare occurrence. I do think that sometimes the shoe defines the person, or at least defines them as they want others to see them. Maybe the shoes reflect a time gone by, as in the case of the cowboy-clad type I spoke to who hasn’t been on a horse since he was a kid.

Then there’s a close friend who dearly wants to be what he perceives a cowboy to be. He wears nothing but cowboy boots and wouldn’t be caught dead in shorts. Have you ever seen a cowboy in shorts? Exactly! Bare legs don’t fare well against the leather saddles. But again, he doesn’t ride even though he aspires to. He is dressing for his future.

One of my sons loves to wear “Chucks.” He works at being an athlete in spite of the heavy demands on his life holding two jobs in addition to being a husband and father of four. He has to fight to get time to exercise or shoot a few hoops, but his shoes define who he wants to be. He just took some Father’s Day gift money to get a new pair of Chucks that are in camouflage. I hope he doesn’t also see himself as a soldier!

We can only wonder at what demographic the pointy toe high heels are shooting for. I don’t want to venture a guess, but one thing I can say for sure, from the vantage point of having lived through enough years to see shoe styles come back around more than once, there is one constant. If they are uncomfortable, or in any way hurt your feet, they’re not worth it. Damaged toes will take their toll. If you cramp up those feet or put too much pressure on various parts of the foot, aging and arthritis may render you unable to wear the shoes you want to define you. Grandmas don’t wear clunky shoes because they like the look. Usually it’s all their feet will tolerate.

So, I still go for cute, but they are much lower and have to be “uber” comfortable, not to mention be able to accommodate my hammer toes and aching arches. Word to the wise. There is footwear out there than can help you shape your image while not distorting your feet. No matter how much you love a shoe, if it doesn’t fit, leave it on the shelf.


– Shari

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