Shoe Drama (I never promised to only write intelligent or important blog posts...)

I'm having shoe drama. Shoe angst. Shoe obsession. This happens to me every once in a while. It's probably not good. Yet another example, as a matter of fact, of a small way in which it would benefit me to just CHILL OUT. But, being me, that's not likely to happen, so I'll blog about it, instead.

You see before you every single pair of shoes I own, for every season of the year:

Not such a big pile, compared to what many people own, but ridiculous from my perspective. (I always think of the people in Haiti, for instance. Meh.) Back in High School I developed the philosophy that I only needed a pair of black flats, blue flats, white flats, and sneakers (as cheap as possible, too. My husband and I used to argue over whether one should spend good money on quality shoes. He's won the argument and my bad back helped him win). Over the years my "simple shoes philosophy" has grown a little bit, but I've been thinking a lot about it these days, and would like to get even more basic. You see, I have this dream...I dream of the perfect utilitarian pair of shoes that will somehow suit every single occasion of my life (even if making me appear somewhat eccentric or mismatched) and that I would be OK with that. I imagine myself blissfully donning black sneakers and black tights on all occasions, with all my outfits. Sort of a bland, shoe uniform. And I imagine myself being OK with that. But then there's reality. I would fret. I would feel OK about such a choice sometimes, but then at other times I would worry about being weird. See above on the comment about chilling out. Yes, I know.

So, having lined up all my shoes as you see above, I had some hard choices to make. So many of those shoes, especially my beloved birkenstock sandals and my adorable chako sandals simply don't work anymore since I got prescription custom orthotics for my shoes. And yes, my back is MUCH better with the orthotics, so the sacrifice is worth it. But it makes me sad. Those sandals, each and every pair, sort of represent an evolution of my learning to take care of my body's needs, even when those needs are somewhat expensive. They were the best shoes I could wear. But the custom orthotics are better. I wish a company existed that made custom orthotic sandals. I would SO be a customer! But I digress.

It's time to let those shoes go. So here's what's left after I eliminate the shoes that don't work with the orthotics:

Now, not all of these shoes are wonderfully supportive, but they are all sufficiently flat to accomodate the inserts. But truthfully, I've not done myself ANY favors by slouching around in flip flops (even with orthotics velcroed in) all summer long. And those black canvas cheapos are not very cushiony. Also a problem. So, if I set aside to only wear very occasionally for short amounts of time the shoes that aren't all that good for my back, here's what's left: I really should have eliminated the black shoes in the front row as well, in the last purge, because I would only wear them like twice a year on a Sunday morning, and they are only so-so for my back, since they have a tiny heel. But I digress.

And I discovered that the sneakers are worn out and have a huge crack in the sole.

So I guess I'm going to be shoe shopping for sneakers soon, after all. With my small selection of "church shoes", I'm thinking those sneakers are going to be black. Mostly so that they aren't as glaring as white athletic shoes would be if I wear them with my normal clothes (99.9% of the time I wear skirts) as every day shoes. I notice that with supportive shoes on my feet I get up and move more, take more steps each day. I've been tracking with a pedometer lately, and it does make a difference. So, I'm back to the point I was making at the beginning of my post: Bring on the black sneakers! But I'll have a very few pairs of decent shoes in reserve for dress-up occasions. Perhaps that will suit me best.

What are your favorite shoes?


elizabeth said…
I only wear Birkenstocks, other than my winter boots. I have birk sandles, clogs and shoes. My feet need really wide toe boot area (to the point that I had to do TONS of shopping to find boots with this).

I can't wear heels at all - I instantly feel my back feeling out of alignment!

So when I am in groups professionally where the women are all wearing the cute heels I am in flat birk shoes or clogs and refuse to bow to the pressure of 'fitting in'!

That said, I can feel your pain at not being able to wear the sandles. Glad though that you have found shoes that make your body and back feel better.
Veiled Glory said…
Ha! I have way more shoes! You inspired me to dig them out (I have half in a box). I suggest New Balance, which do come in a basic black walking shoe for less than $50. You can remove the inner liner for orthodics placement. Lasts a long time.
Anonymous said…
I have a pair of black ballet pumps, a pair of white Chucks and a pair of proper black leather 'church shoes', which I wear almost everywhere except church. And a pair of rubber flip-flops. Not much in so-called 'normal' Western terms, but does me fine.

Rebecca said…
I have one pair of very low heeled pumps, a pair of black SASS tie walking shoes, and a pair of black flat sandals (that will go to the dump when the weather turns). My snowboots went to the dump when Spring arrived (the soles separated, and the toes were leaking) so I'll get a new pair of those, God willing, in another month or so. I would like perhaps another pair or two of pumps to wear with nice dresses, but the last ones I bought were pre-pregnancy and I had to give them away because they no longer fit.
Mimi said…
About the time I got into my mid-thirties, I learned to pay more to get good shoes.

My recent love has been Sofft shoes, but I love, love, love Clarks.
Laura said…
My favorite shoes right now are my Dansko clogs. I have a black pair and a brown pair and they are my "every day" shoes, even in the summer. I discovered that Target sells these cool nylon "socks" that only your cover your foot and don't go up to your I can wear these with the clogs in the summer and they aren't too comfortable. Plus, I really need my toes covered with my job.

I have a pair of Sofft shoes with a heel for church. Believe it or not, I can't wear flats anymore with the plantar fasciitis. Obviously, I wear tennis shoes to the gym, but I'm getting orthotics myself soon and am hoping to use those in the maybe I can try the elliptical machine. I use the bikes now in order to keep putting any extra pressure on my feet.

I recently purged as well. No more payless shoes. I own 5 pairs of shoes...the Danskos (2 comfortable, I can't recommend them enough), the one pair of heels for church, sneaks for the gym and the flip flops to wear in the shower afterwards.

That's a long answer to your question...sorry!
Alana said…
Sigh! Those sofft shoes really do look lovely, and I know high heels are so "in" right now.

If I were to even think of wearing high heels, my chiropractor would hunt me down and scold me roundly. Sigh.

And I have heard so many good things about Dansko clogs, but they have good arch support in them, don't they? No go with the orthotics, and unless it's custom, I'm not to be walking on it...because my feet don't hit the floor right, otherise, so says the chiro, and my entire body is out of whack in an instant. He doesn't even want me going barefoot at home.

But hey, I'm pain free, so who am I to argue? I was never pain free before the orthotics.
Amber said…
Oh, I like the brown shoes in the top row in the last picture. They look very comfortable.

I second the New Balance vote. The best pair of sneakers I ever had, and they lasted forever!
Charis Delatte said…

My favorite shoes ever - Born "Pandora". I've had my pair for more than 2 years, and I'm taking them to get the insoles re-done. Great support, not too "granny-shoe" and also comes in fun colors. I got the black pair because they were my work shoes.
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Anonymous said…
I blogged my shoes! :D

x M.
thegeekywife said…
Alana, instead of writing a giant comment, I just did a post.

:) here's to happy feet and happy bodies!
Brigid said…
Born, Dansko, and Flexible Footwear are my favorites. So comfy!

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