This is Part Two of a two-part post on why I gravitate toward certain shoes and completely eschew others. Even if you know me well, this will explain a great deal!
As I said at the end of the last entry: The way I walk and the shoes I wear because of it are so much a part of who I am that I can’t imagine being any other way. I have caught myself many times looking at a woman walking in flats or scuffs or sneakers and thinking to myself “how does she walk in those?” before I recall that I’m the abnormal one.
Shoe shopping is a pain in the butt for me. I can’t wear slingbacks at all; the strap just slides off. I also have a lot of trouble with pumps that don’t have an ankle or Mary Jane strap; especially when I wear stockings, they just flop off. I didn’t realize it until someone pointed it out to me, but this is probably due to the fact that my heels are quite narrow and smooth from lack of pressure/wear over my lifetime. Additionally, I have to consider the length of the toe-box. The way I walk on the ball of my foot can cause my foot to slide forward in shoes. If the toe box is snubbed off or too round (as is the current trend) the shoes will pinch my toes. Oh, and did I mention that I’m allergic to patent? Yeah.
I prefer platforms, of course, because they provide a bit of padding between the ball of my foot (where all the weight is) and the hard floor. But I do have to be mindful of the height. If a shoe has a three inch heel and has a two and a half inch platform in front, it doesn’t help me. Trying to wear boots like these are just as uncomfortable for me as wearing flats! Think of my feet like Monster High or Barbie feet – it’s the angle that’s important.
Boots are my downfall, though. I don’t have to worry about straps or allergies with boots as long as the toe box is right. They can be patent or velvet or leather or lace, stiletto or chunky, patent or leather or velvet…I have so many more choices with boots so of course I enjoy shopping for them most of all!
I’m hard on shoes. The number one issue is straps breaking. Fortunately, there’s a fantastic shoe repair shop across the street from my office (another perk of living here). If you look inside a pair of my shoes you can see exactly where they take the stress from the way I walk. It doesn’t help that I will not hesitate to run in them if I have to. I don’t recommend that, as it’s really bad for the heels. But it’s not like I don’t have a ton of experience at it. I try to buy good quality shoes, but I buy them at places like T.J. Maxx, Marshals, or DSW because I know I’m going to destroy them in a few months. I do buy some shoes online (Snaz 75 and Amazon both have good deals) but it’s more difficult for me, especially if the site doesn’t give you a 360 view. I try to be mindful to not wear the same pair every day, over and over, to work as well, because doing so only hastens their demise.
My favorite pair of shoes, ever, were a pair of “grown up” Mary Janes with a platform and a pointed toe from Colin Stuart/Victoria’s secret. I bought them in 2004, but didn’t wear them much until maybe 2008-2009, when I got some heel cups for them (they were half a size too large). I literally wore those shoes until they fell apart. Colin Stuart only made them for the one season, but I was incredibly fortunate enough to find another pair on eBay last year (in the correct size, this time) and have since worn that pair to death. I’m tempted to take them to my new shoe repair guru to see if he can save them…
In Part One, I mentioned my wedge heeled flip flops and workout shoes, and promised I’d show them off (in all their hideous glory). So here they are.
These are my wedge flip-flops, which I wear around the house and on short walks into the Village. They’re Colin Stuart by Victoria’s Secret, and they’re generally available (in some form or another) at two for $35.00 or something along those lines. They’re extremely soft and comfortable, and make a great “house slipper” for someone like me. I do take advantage of the two-fer offer, though, because as you can imagine the way I walk puts a lot of stress on the front part of the shoe. I was glad to find these at Victoria’s Secret to be honest; finding a good, comfy-yet-sturdy around the house shoe that worked for me was becoming a hassle. I don’t like to walk around barefoot because carpeting dries out and irritates my skin.
You cannot imagine how happy I was to find these wedge-heeled Sketchers. It was several years ago, and I had just started seriously working out regularly using an elliptical. Using the machine barefoot or in my house shoes wasn’t smart and I knew it, but I didn’t have a lot of options. Then I saw these in a Victoria’s Secret catalog (sense a theme?) and it was like an answer to a prayer. They’re not perfect by any means; I’d actually love them if they were about half an inch higher in the wedge, but they served me very well on my elliptical back in the day. Today I keep them around mostly to use on the stationary bike, though I think they’ll be perfect for Tai Chi.
Now these…these are perfect. They’re by a brand called Voltage. I found them on Amazon while searching for a Bebe wedge sneaker. These are the right height, the right weight, and they give me great ankle support on the treadmill. They’re too bulky to fit in the bike pedals, but oh well, I still have my Sketchers. This pair is also super comfy, so the fact that they’re extremely hideous hardly matters.
I didn’t find out until I was an adult that the surgery suggested by my pediatrician all those years ago would have rendered me unable to wear heels at all. I was completely horrified; no one mentioned this at the time, as the two other people I knew with this issue had overcome it with physical therapy. So while some people might judge my parents for giving in to my crying and not forcing the therapy, or for not making me have surgery, I’m grateful! Given the choice, you can keep your flats, your sneakers, your gladiator sandals – I’ll take my heels and platforms and wedgies any day.
It goes a bit beyond my deformity and the limitations it places on me. I just don’t like the way flats look. Maybe things would be different had I not been born this way. Maybe not. But I just plain don’t like them. When a heel gives the leg such a wonderful line, I can’t imagine why anyone would choose a flat give the option. Especially with a dress or skirt. But that’s a personal opinion – I firmly believe that you should wear what makes you happy. If that’s a nice pair of dress flats (or flip-flops, or sneakers) then more power to you. It just wouldn’t be my preference even if I had the option.
So there you have it – my shoe closet explained!