Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Woman in her Thirties Wears Comfortable Shoes

Disclaimer: This is likely to be my most controversial post to date, but it has been a long time coming.

The other day, while running on the treadmill, I tuned in to the last half hour of Oprah. She was having a 'shoe intervention'. In true Oprah style, unsuspecting women in practical (though unattractive) shoes were pulled off the street, taken into a dressing room with a bunch of male fashion designers, and told that their choice of footwear was 'hideous', 'embarrassing', and etcetera. The women were treated to a new pair of 3-inch heels and pranced around the stage saying things like, 'Gee golly, I didn't know I could be attractive and comfortable at the same time!'

Oprah, while sitting down in her Christian Louboutan's, laughed. The designers laughed. The women laughed at the silliness of their ugly, practical shoes. Everyone in the audience laughed.

Everyone except me.

My proclivity toward comfortable shoes started somewhere in my mid-twenties. I was working at a high tech company and sat down for the majority of the day. Among the many poor decisions I made during this time of my life, wearing heels to work most days was one of them. Was it motivated by a desire to look less ridiculous next to my good friend who was (seemed) eight inches taller than me? Did I think that my 4-inch wedge sandals would make my job seem less mundane? These are questions that haunt the woman in her thirties I've become.

My first pair of comfortable shoes was a pair of black pleather slip-ons from Aerosoles. 'They're like bedroom slippers!' my friend J said, and they were. I slipped them on and off under my desk, I took walks to the cafeteria just because it was comfortable to do so, and they were hidden well under my boot-cut jeans. As long as everything else I had on was cute, there was no need for anyone to know my plushy little secret.

As time went on and I moved into a career that required that I actually get off my fat butt multiple times during the day, I became less concerned about hiding my foot apparel. I wore my Naturalizers proudly during the day, willing to take on anyone who scoffed at my fashion choice.

'You don't like my shoes?' I said more than once. 'Well you know what I don't like? Your face.'

Yes, I have become extremely sensitive in this matter. It is not just a matter of pride. It's a matter of hygiene. When I see women walking around at weddings in bare feet because they have abandoned their stilettos under their table I can feel the bile churning in my stomach. Is there not another woman in the world who understands just how gross that is? And please, spare me the 'These heels are sooo comfortable' nonsense. Just admit your feet hurt and get on with it.

I am the first to admit that my comfort shoes are not what one would call... attractive. If I could bottle up the looks L, H, and K have given me over the years when it comes to my choice in shoes in a bottle of perfume, I would call it Eau de Snotface. But there is something I seek more than their approval, something I value even more than their affection, and that is the ability to walk.

High heels have their place. Places like symphonies, birthday parties where ample seating is provided, and the occasional bridal shower. Even I will be a slave to fashion once in awhile. But if you expect to see me walking Daniel in anything other than my $30 Costco brand Uggs (thanks again, L's Mom), and if you (L) are hoping that I will not be purchasing my new Dansko clogs in every color and pattern they make, then I'm sorry to say you are bound to be disappointed.

A woman in her thirties follows the golden rule of life: pick your battles. My battle with high heels is over, the white flag has been raised, and I remain the happiest (and most comfortable) loser you've ever seen.


  1. Yay! I totally agree. I will never understand the reasoning behind buying pretty shoes that feel like tiny toe torture devices. No thank you.

  2. Ummmmm...moon shoes?

  3. You want to talk about hygiene? Look at your hands. Those have touched EVERYTHING. Do you wear gloves all day, though? No...

    Going barefoot is perfectly fine. Shoes are overrated.

  4. Barefooter, you are totally right about how many germs our hands carry. But I will tell you that if I WALKED on my hands, I'd wear the most comfortable gloves known to (wo)man.

  5. Oh the shoe war! I'm in my fourth week of this new job, and buying shoes has been the hardest part of acquiring a "work wardrobe." I recently worked all day in heels and nursed my tootsies all night.

    My limit now is 2-3 inches. No more. Preferable much less...

    (... and thanks for another wonderful post - as always hitting the nail right on the head. :))

  6. Seriously, laughing out loud. I'll never forget the day we went shopping when you were home from China - you bought a pair of heels and were SO PROUD OF YOURSELF. Hilarious!

    But Dansko? Really? ;)