Ali has written about this topic a bit, but it is about time I wrote about shoes. I could hardly claim to have an interest in fashion if I didn’t have some sort of relationship with shoes. I love shoes, and while I may limit my wardrobe to shades of gray, with shoes I have no qualms about red or yellow or neon. There is no bone to pick regarding unflattering colors when it comes to shoes. While I may find a blouse printed with birds and flowers too girly, one of my most prized pair of shoes are a pair of J.Crew ballerina flats printed with birds and flowers.
There is a scene from In Her Shoes, in which Cameron Diaz’s character has just discovered her sister’s closet full of unworn shoes. She looks at her sister and asks, “Why?” The response: “Because shoes always fit.” The statement implies a widely universal truth that unlike waistlines and bums, our feet reach their adult size and stay that way. Once we know our shoe size, it’s set: We can find a pair of shoes. Certainly not every style of shoe is going to be ideal for the quirks of our unique set of appendages; some of us have longer toes, high arches or flat feet. But once we find and buy a pair, they are going to fit: “Because shoes always fit.”
The author of that line was clearly not a runner, because let me tell you: runners’ feet change size. They blister and swell and bruise (sorry, I hope you are not reading this over lunch). They take a beating. They make it so that the shoe does not always fit. I didn’t realize how lucky I had been up to this point. Sure, shoes sometimes hurt. The shape of my toes isn’t exactly ideal for pointy-toed flats under the best of circumstances, but pointy-toed flats have never been impossible.
Well, my running has caught up with me, at least in terms of footwear. My feet are rebelling and refusing to find even my most reliable boots comfortable. I am not happy about it. Our feet are so basic, so necessary. We count on them always working—and always remaining the same size. I mean, we know they swell when it is humid or after a 10-hour flight (seriously, be careful about removing your shoes during a long flight unless you remember to stay very hydrated). In general though, our feet are dependable. Perhaps, I have taken mine for granted, assuming they will willingly slip into a pair of pointy-toed flats after letting me pound them through the mud for 15 miles. I thought I was pretty good to them by not forcing them into 5-inch platforms. It is ironic then, that one of the most fun parts of putting on an outfit for me is also now the most painful. I think this holds true for many women out there. We are willing to bare a little pain for the sake of a pretty, or a pretty over-the-top, shoe. —Katrina Ernst
Photo: From Sex and the City 2, by Craig Blankenhornplee.