Buying Shoes for Comfort

There is something ridiculous that happens to females throughout the course of their lives. And it has everything to do with shoes.

We start out in life as toddlers fussing and fighting with our parents about the shoes that that they put on our feet. Our parents are visiting Stride Rite and seeking a pediatrician’s advice trying to ensure that we don’t wear anything that messes up our feet, only to be returned with shrieks and cries that are followed by shoes flying through the air. The tennis shoes and Mary Jane’s just don’t feel good, at least not as good as those warm and fuzzy slippers. So in fact, our parents begin buying shoes for comfort in the optimistic hopes that we will wear them.

Phase two starts around Middle School. Suddenly, females are buying shoes that fit in with the latest fashion of the times. For those of us that grew up in the 80’s it was glossy plastic high heels and legwarmers. We would return home from school with sore legs, squished toes and a back ache because the heels, boots or latest and greatest shoes of the day – are anything but comfortable. As the trends changed the shoes moved from flip-flops, cowboy boots, brand named tennis shoes, flats, and back again. The tennis shoes, by far the most comfortable were only acceptable if they had a brand name like Nike embroidered across the tongue. Even if they didn’t fit or feel that good, we wore them because fitting in was of the utmost importance.

Time goes on bringing us to Phase three. When high school comes females suddenly become addicted to what feels good. Hence, the pajama pants and flip-flop phenomena. In today’s world, you wouldn’t be able to visit a high school or college campus without seeing females wearing raggedy flip-flops that barely offer any support, but are comfortable nonetheless. We return to buying shoes for comfort and give up on any notions of style of grace. Whether we are wearing a business suit or bathing suit and despite weather conditions, flip-flops are where it’s at. Sadly, we had become so accustomed to wearing shoes that felt bad and hurt our feet for fashion – that the unbinding and flat soles of a rubber flip flop feel almost as good as the slippers we wore when we were toddlers.

But wait! Phase four is upon us. Thrust out into the world of dating, job interviews and the pretentiousness of ‘being adult’ we make a trade for fancy high heels again – often with brand names, paid for on credit cards with our own name on them. Our $20,000 a year job as an intern, receptionist, or car saleswoman seems like a lot of money so we try to find shoes to match our perceived ‘status.’ If only mom and dad would buy us shoes now. Bar hopping and partying has us wearing sexy knee length boots with heels so high that it’s a miracle we can actually get on the bar counter to dance. But we do and we suffer the consequences with the first hints of varicose, bunions, corns and oddly shaped toes that seem to form a heart. All for the sake of our shoes!

The next phase we enter comes with marriage and childbirth. All that fuss over shoes seems completely unworth it and we begin wearing Dexter’s, athletic shoes, and Clark’s mules that age us 10 or so years. The jeans that looked so good with the Stiletto heels or Cowboy boots now have to settle for Reebok tennis shoes. Once pregnancy hits, all those shoes that we wore for years become worthless dust collectors no longer fitting and we often realize for the first time the havoc that fashionable shoes have had on our podiatric health. Now, you are paying for foot detoxes and saving up to buy shoes for comfort alone ignoring how ugly they might be. And this is where it normally ends. From this point, forward women become shoppers of comfort and creatures of habit. The mom jeans and hideous shoes that look orthopedic in nature become closet staples. Even as the kids grow up and plead with us not to wear them, coax us to buy something attractive and in style – we shrug having learned the lesson of walking in shoes that hurt our feet at the end of the day.

Soon, we will be visiting the Easy Spirit stores and paying way too much for shoes that look like they should come with a cane. They might be bedazzled or mildly wild in color. They might have the slightest hint of a heel. They may even be flashy. Chances are they are still pretty ugly. But they are definitely comfortable!

Buying shoes for comfort is one of those things that indicate we have grown up. When we are old enough to know that fashion and impressing others is not as important as feeling good – we have crossed the shoe threshold in our lives. We may secretly admire the youthful shoes of our past and wish that we could find a pair of flip-flops that we could wear until they blew out on the beach somewhere, but we know what’s important now. Comfort.

Sadly, if any of us would have started out with the advice from our parents wearing shoes that fit perfectly and actually supported our insteps, heels and toes – we would be less likely to suffer from the hideous shoes and hurting feet that plague most women throughout their lifetime. If any one of us were smart enough to start buying shoes for comfort at an early age – rather than wait until we had no other choice – we would likely find ourselves much better off by the time we hit 30.

Looking back, at some of the shoes you have no doubt worn and the consequences that you have paid for wearing them – no matter how hot, makes it easy to see that wearing shoes that don’t fit or that hurt your feet is just not worth it. Life is too short to be walking around in shoes that hurt your feet. Every step you take should bring you joy, not pain and fashion is definitely not an excuse to make yourself suffer. Truthfully, wearing shoes that hurt your feet only prolongs the inevitable. If each and every one of us just started out with the Easy Spirits right from the beginning, we would be much better off!



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