***WARNING: Pictures of feet! VERY BAD! Get out while you can!***
For most of my twenties I held firm to the idea that fashion comes over function when it comes to my shoes. It's not that I spent a lot of money on shoes (most came from Target), but I wasn't going to wear running shoes with my jeans or sensible sandals with a skirt just because I had to walk a lot in my daily routine. During my college years, I was a slave to foot fashion for the most part, in spite of attending a college with an enormous, sprawling campus. To me, wintertime meant heeled black boots and you can just imagine how well that worked out on icy Minnesota sidewalks. Summertime meant strappy, straw, wedge-heeled Steve Madden sandals (oh, college friends - remember those?) and therefore summertime also meant a constant state of blisters and bleeding feet, which caused my mom no amount of grief. She would call me from Fargo just to find out about the state of my feet and would try to warn me about the dangers of not wearing proper shoes. Great intentions, but I was 21 and more interested in my next fruity cocktail than about permanent damage to my feet.
Besides, after spending hundreds of hours in these puppies during my teen years, permanent damage to my feet was kind of a given.
Then, when I graduated from college and started my dietetic internship at a large hospital, I switched over to classic heels. The clickier the better. I attribute my love of the hallway-heel-click to the beautiful and exotic secretary, Ms. Tennyson, at my elementary school. I don't remember much about Ms. Tennyson besides her appearance. She wore her long, dark hair in a bun with a pencil stuck through it, which was just too awesome for words. Her style included long skirts, fancy blouses, and always, always, always high heels. Her sound was her signature and even from inside a classroom, you could hear her coming down the tiled hallway. [Edited to add: My fellow Washington Elementary alum, Angie, pointed out that she also wore white tennis shoes on a daily post-lunch walk. How could I forget that?] I knew I wanted that heel-clicking sound to be my signature some day and between the ages of 23 and 28, I tried my best to live up to that dream. Again, bleeding feet and blisters were just a part of life.
Outside of my professional life, I generally still bought shoes solely for their looks. Sometimes the shoes were so ridiculous that I've never actually wore them in public, like these beauties.That's a 5-inch heel, my friends, and I am over 6'1" in them. I like to think there are strippers in Spain wearing the exact same shoes.
When I needed comfortable shoes, I wore cheap flip-flops. I picked up these in the clearance bin at Target in 2003 and they have since taken me around the world. Literally. They have been to India, Honduras, Mexico, Austria, and Ukraine, not to mention to several U.S. states. I can and have walked miles and miles in these $8 flip-flops. They have been my go-to flip-flop for years.
It only really occurred to me this summer - their SEVENTH summer in existence - that they are no longer acceptable in any way. Sure, I still get the occasional compliment on their sparkly pink appearance, but I don't think the admiring look of an 11-year-old girl is really something to be proud of when you will soon turn 30. Plus, it's really embarrassing to take off your shoes at someone's house when the insides look like this...
So today, I finally caved and admitted to myself what my mom has told me all along. I need to wear sensible shoes if I'm going to be walking several miles a day.
This morning I went to REI and bought these.
I'm still sort of in shock about the whole thing. I mean, after YEARS of making fun of Husband's fugly Chacos, I went and bought my own pair. I know I'm not fooling anyone with the pseudo-strappy-sandal-look, but it does make me feel a little better. You want to hear the crazy part? I think I spent more on these shoes than I've ever spent on a pair of shoes before.
So good for me. I'm growing up and becoming sensible. That's great(ish). But if I ever start to think that a pair of Grandma shoes are acceptable in the years before I turn 85, simply because they are comfortable, then somebody must stop me. This is your duty as my reader. Don't let me fall down the slippery slope to ugly shoe-dom.
Now to find a use for all those band-aids that were just waiting for their high season to start...