Love, Hate, Beauty, Pain, and Endless, Groundless Optimism

Witness: the beautiful shoe.  It is a wonderful thing to behold.  In itself it is a design marvel: elegant lines, quality materials, modern details, and my god, that colour.  On you, it brings out who you want to be: a little taller, a little thinner, a little more pulled together.  You walk straighter and feel a little more confident.  In these shoes, you feel like you have the potential to be the best possible version of yourself.

From Edward Monkton's great little book, "The Shoes of Salvation"

It’s no wonder that shoes are so beloved by women.  But I think it’s all got a bit out of hand.  In recent decades, fictional characters from the likes of Sex and the City and Shopaholic have made an obsession with shoes the obsession to have.  It is supposed to be a quintessentially feminine and somehow empowering obsession.  And that’s the message that makes me a little queasy.  Because what we’re actually seeing is people spending more than they can afford on a luxury item that is increasing their vulnerability.

The money thing – presumably these shoes were invented for the rich.  And fine – if you have money to throw around, do what you like.  But not only the rich buy them anymore.  Apparently, treating yourself to a $300 pair of shoes when you make $30K a year is acceptable.  Apparently, you can spend a lot more, even if you are not, in fact, the Sultan of Brunei.  It’s too much.

I’ve heard these purchases described as an investment.  I’m sorry, but no.  Yes, you need to pay for quality.  But there are limits.  Fancy shoes are not an investment.  Unless they are limited edition by some famous designer and you are going to vacuum seal them, never wear them, and eventually sell them, they are not going to appreciate.  They might give you more confidence, but if you need this kind of shoe to be confident, maybe you should be spending that money on therapy instead.  No shoe will make you successful.  That takes, you know, work.

Money aside – the high heel – now there is an invention.  Yup, they look fantastic.  No one will ever deny it.  But they are really rather diabolical.

  1. Balance.  These things get higher and higher every year.  It reaches a point where it’s pretty dangerous.  If you trip, you will probably fall, because regaining your footing in these shoes is almost impossible.  Walking in high heels is a hard-won skill with no other real-life application.
  2. Emergencies.  I work on the 16th floor of an office building.  If there is a fire, we evacuate via stairs.  16 flights in heels = not a good time.  Or what if, for whatever reason, you need to run?  Your only real option here is to take off those shoes and go barefoot.  This is only a temporary solution though.  Unless you have some serious calluses built up, that asphalt is going to start to hurt pretty quickly.  Shoes were originally invented for a good reason, and it wasn’t just to look pretty.
  3. Your poor, poor body.  What did it ever do to you?  Here’s some information on what these things do to your feet, back, calves, knees, achilles tendon, and nerves.

We know all this and yet… they’re so pretty.  Oh yeah, I’m one of those girls.  No, I will not spend hundreds of dollars on them, but I do love beautiful shoes, especially red ones.  Beautiful shoes, however, do not love me.  I actually had to give up high heels a few years ago because of back problems, so now I am always on the search for cute yet comfortable flats. (Harder than you would think, although there are some nice options out there these days.)

But even with flats, I am fairly certain that I have done something at some point to anger the shoe gods.  (Probably by making statements that no pair of shoes is worth $700.)  Shoes are not my friends.  Oh, they act all nice at first, in the store:  “We are comfy and cute!  Take us home!  Let’s be BFFs!”  But I wear them for a day (or an hour) and then there is pain.  They all give different kinds of pain, so I just rotate them – big toe pain today, heel pain tomorrow, pinky toe pain the next day, general foot aches the next. I actually don’t think I have one pair of shoes that I can wear for an entire day of walking without any pain at all.  But despite disheartening experience, I keep trying to find that elusive pair of perfectly fitting shoes.  I’ll let you know if it ever happens.

I bring this all up because of yet another unfortunate shoe incident I had only yesterday.  The weather was quite nice and I was feeling summery, so I pulled out a really cute pair of shoes that I hadn’t worn in a very long time.  Once I was half way to work, I remembered why I had not worn them, but by then it was too late.  I don’t know what this particular pair of shoes is made of, but I wouldn’t rule out razor blades.  By lunchtime I had raw wounds and a pain spiking up through the ball of my right foot.  I put on bandaids (stylish!) but the shoes cut through them.  Bad scene all around.  I did in fact, end up walking barefoot to a dinner party.  I am still in pain.

But.  I am aware that not all feet are created equal.  Also, I have one of the lowest pain thresholds in existence.  What’s excruciating for me may be fine for you.  So.  I have some shoes, size 7, free to a good home.  Here they are:

Evil shoes - yours for the price of postage

If you pay for postage, I will send them to you.  (Free evil shoes!  Offer of a lifetime!)  Let me know in the comments if you want them or email me at

6 thoughts on “Love, Hate, Beauty, Pain, and Endless, Groundless Optimism

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