At the Catholic elementary school I attended as a child, we were required to wear tie shoes and knee socks with our school uniforms. I remember oxfords and hushpuppies; one year I had saddles shoes, and another year black velvet oxfords. Ugh! I would rather have worn pretty patent leather mary janes with ruffled, lace-trimmed anklets, and I actually think I did when I was small. (Or maybe those were my church shoes.)
How badly I wanted to wear high heels. My mother had a friend who had a daughter three years older than me, and she gave me her cast-offs, including some high-heeled shoes. I loved them and thought I was so cool.
When I was a little girl, the cheapest shoes you could wear were flip flops: they cost 50 cents a pair. You could only wear them in the summer time, because, of course, they were unacceptable for school. (My youngest daughter and I had many arguments when she wanted me to pay $20 for flip flops she called shoes. In the 1990s, Target sold very serviceable sneakers for $7, the tie kind and the slip-on kind. That was much more comfortable for my budget.)
When my oldest daughter Carly was a middle-schooler, she won a contest at a local shoe store, correctly guessing the number of jelly beans in a huge jar. Her prize was a $50 gift certificate. The only hitch was, it could only be used for children’s shoes, and she had just transitioned out of them. I thought, no problem! We’ve got four smaller kids! And we were able to buy one pair each for three of them. I realize now that was a crappy deal for Carly—I guess I ought to send her a check for $50. . .
By the time my kids were born, I rarely wore high heels, though I might wear wedgies. I am mystified by women who wear 4-inch stilettos. How do they balance? Don’t their feet hurt?
Over the 33 years I’ve lived in Arizona, I transitioned from wearing sandals only in the summer to pretty much year-round. I prefer the kind you can just slip on. Once I find a pair I like, I wear them until they fall apart, and I chide myself for not buying multiple pairs of the same shoe (because by the time they wear out, you can’t find the same model anymore, and it takes me a long time to find something worthy of everyday loyalty).
Years ago when I started hiking, I took a suggestion and bought a pair of hiking boots. Up until then, I’d been wearing athletic shoes. Man, what a difference! I felt a lot more secure and balanced on my feet. I also bought a trekking pole, which also enhances my balance, even though I hardly ever put any pressure on it. Just having it there in front of me, ready to spring into action when I stumble, is a huge boon.
Now it’s your turn. What kind of shoes do you most like to wear? What was your best shoe bargain? What kind of shoes did you wear as a kid? Do you have a favorite shoe-related memory? Share in the comments below.