Friday, April 6, 2012

The Importance of Proper Footwear

My husband has, I believe, four pairs of shoes.  Dress shoes, work shoes, sneakers and sandals.  One pair of each.  He figures he's covered all of his footwear needs and he's pretty content.  When a pair wear out - and it takes a long time for them to do so, because when you're buying such a small quantity of shoes you generally go for quality - he replaces just that pair with another pair that will serve just that purpose.  His whole dress code is simple.  Suit?  Dress shoes.  Khakis?  Work shoes.  Jeans?  Sneakers.  Shorts?  Sandals.

It boggles my mind.

In my late teens and twenties I had shoes.  I stuck to pretty basic styles, but I had no fear of color.  When the shoe salesman tried to convince me that orange was the new neutral when I was looking at a pair of spectators with a moderate heel in that hue I knew he was full of shit, but I bought them anyway.  Not because they were neutral - they so, so, weren't - but because they were awesome.  They were more rust than ORANGE, just in case you're trying to conjure up a visual.  But that is not to say that I didn't have shoes that were ORANGE or PINK or BLUE. I had a full rainbow of pumps in varying heights.  Keds, too.  Of course I wore the pumps with my jeans and the Keds with my dresses.  The late 80's and early 90's were a mixed up muddled up shook up time.  Chucks (in every color - mostly high tops) were for shorts.  Hmmmm.  Maybe I DID have a dress code as simple as my husband's current one.  The difference being that I had each of those styles in every color known to man.

This was not the case when I was growing up.  I was ridiculously knock-kneed.  I wore corrective shoes. They were crazy expensive and crazy ugly.  One boy on the bus teased me about them every morning and I arrived at school crying or fighting tears every morning.  I hated those damn shoes.  But they were what I wore.  For dress, for school, for play, every season, all the time.  I got two pairs a year because I wore them out.  I did always have a pair of sneakers, too, but it was made infinitely clear that they were for gym class and gym class only.  I hated gym class, but I loved changing out of those ugly shoes.

Maybe that's why my teens and twenties had me looking for quantity over quality.

I could wear cheap shoes painlessly, too, because my knees no longer knocked.

So the corrective shoes were a good thing.  An ugly, socially devastating good thing.

Recently I find myself, more often than not, in a quandary over what to wear on my feet.  I still want to be  cute, but heels at my age and weight are just not a reasonable option.  I have a pair of Chucks.  They're purple.  

These shoes weren't made for walking.  But they are most excellent for propping up on a railing to watch the tide roll in.
I love them.  But I can't wear them for long because they offer no support.  All of my flats make me feel like an old lady (shut up) or a suburban hausfrau (I SAID SHUT UP!).  I am self conscious about my shoes ALL the time - and I always feel like I've made the wrong choice - either because my feet hurt or because I'm making a statement I don't want to make.  And then there are my Danskos.  They feel wonderful.  I can go all day when I wear them.  My feet feel good, my legs feel good - a clear win, right?


Because they look like this:

What, pray tell, does THAT look cute with?  I've worn them all winter with very long skirts and black socks.  I won't say it works.  I guess I could say I think I get away with it.

Then, last week, Tom and I went to see the Tedeschi Trucks Band.  It was not a nostalgia act, yet we were very close to the mean age in the venue.  And my shoes felt not only physically comfortable but completely socially appropriate.  What a wonderful way to feel.  (Tremendous show, by the way.  I should've done a squealy fangirl post but things got a little busy last weekend.  Also?  We ran into Derek Trucks trying to get to his bus.  Tom said, "Good show, man" and he said "Thanks".  I tried to take a picture but fumbled. It was such a quick moment.  But we both know it happened.  So there's that.)

What does it all mean?

I don't know.  Maybe that I need to get real.

I hear Dansko has a pretty so-ugly-they're-cute spring line...


StarTraci said...

I am a shoe lover, as well. But I understand! I have boxes and boxes of cute shoes that I hardly wear because they are "Sitting" shoes now. And by that I mean, that's the only thing I can do in them for more than five minutes that doesn't hurt. Alas...


P.S. I'll go to the concert with you

Joanna Jenkins said...

You have no idea how timely your post is....

I'm having major foot problems thanks to my arthritis and way too many years wearing way too high of heels. The end result is I purchased my first pair of gawd awful ugly shoes today-- Merrill clogs-- OMG- they are ugly. And these are only my first pair. I'm waiting for the custom made insoles to arrive before I can buy some more... because I can't even wear my Nikes anymore-- Just really ugly shoes.

I'm depressed but hopeful since your corrective shoes helped you back in the day. I have my fingers crossed that my ugly shoes will only be necessary for about a year.

xoxo jj