On the Subject of Shoes


I have a deep and abiding love for shoes. I often plan what I’m wearing around a pair of shoes rather than vice versa. Since being diagnosed with EDS and hitting a sudden decline (which seems very common…deterioration is not a gradual thing, rather it seems to periodically leap forward all of a sudden), I have had to stop wearing a lot of my shoes. Last summer I cleaned out my closet and evaluated all my shoes.

Note: I am a minor Imelda Marcos and no one “needs” as many shoes as I have but that’s not the discussion I’m having.

Of the maybe 45+ pairs of shoes (go read the note above again), I gave 17 pairs to Xena. The vast majority of them were not simply shoes I was tired of wearing, but wonderful, fabulous shoes that knew in my heart I could not wear without experiencing hip, knee and back pain as well as increasing the odds that I would fall down. I held back several more pairs that were like pieces of art and bargained that I could wear them on occasion. The good thing about giving them to Xena is that a) I like her and it makes her happy and b) I get to see those great shoes on someone’s feet instead of in a box in my closet and c) should I suddenly think that I need to wear one of them, I know where they are.

This past semester, I determined that not only are most heels over 1.5″ out, so are ballet-style flats. You know, the seemingly more sensible ones. Flats like that are just about as bad for me as heels, and hurt my feet and ankles significantly. I recall the physical therapist from last summer eyeing my shoes pretty critically–and that was when I thought I was wearing something reasonable. She asked if I had good sneakers, or some Earth Shoe clogs.

The answer to that is a firm NO. I do not own those things. I do own a pair of “Mom Sketchers”  but being recalcitrant in general I made a point of never wearing them to PT.

So, this summer, I’ve culled another 10-12 pairs of shoes, some of which are the most beautiful shoes I’ve ever owned, like this pair only in browns so it was higher contrast, more 1940s, Katherine Hepburn, editor looking. I’ve worn them once. I’ve also given her this pair that I don’t think I ever got to wear. I gave her a pair of Chelsea Crew shoes that I thought wouldn’t be too high but of course they are–they are siren red, 1930s-style and stunning. I have several pair of flats to follow up on that. Of the shoes I’ve kept, several are also no longer very wearable for me, but I cannot give them up and will break them out on occasion when I go somewhere that I can be dropped off at the door and then hang on to the arm of my date (who is almost always my husband, or sometimes Xena, who is very sweet to offer an arm as if we just like each other so much as opposed to making sure I don’t fall down [which is not to say we don’t like each other very much, know what I mean?]).

That leaves me with actually not that many options for actual daily shoes. I’ve picked up several pair of cheap oxford-style lady shoes but they don’t do much for summer wear. No matter what I am wearing in the world, when I get home I put on a pair of hideous Spenco flip-flops that are orthotic in nature. In winter it’s the mukluk style Earth boots. I am feeling bereft, and also like given that I’ve now dumped probably a thousand dollars or more worth of shoes, don’t I deserve replacements?

I have ordered a pair of these shoes in the vague hope that they are supportive and comfortable and not ugly.  They are recommended by http://www.walkshop.com. I have these two pair in my shopping cart at Zappos. Wolky boots that are outrageously priced on sale and a pair of Pikolinos. There is really no way that I can justify dropping over $500 on shoes unless I listen to the sulky lady who feels like she can’t let her appearance go.

Reasonable or not, I cannot let my appearance go. I can’t have people looking at me and thinking, Oh, poor thing, she’s had to give up. Getting dressed, for me, is a form of artistic expression (First World problem but guess where I live? In the First World) and I cannot abide velcro and wide footbeds and ugly shoes. Which puts me in a tough spot, since I also cannot abide shoes that hurt me to wear–no one will see my fabulous outfit if I am at home on the heating pad.

Most likely my cart will expire and the Woklys and Pikalinos will stay where they are. Maybe.


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