Extremely Shallow Shoe-Buying Post

Because I am, apparently, getting old, I require shoes that don’t kill my feet.

I’m not ready for Dr. Scholl’s brand footwear yet, but I know myself well enough that when shopping online for shoes, I need comfortable flats. The end.

Online shopping fits the quagmire of my life with my particular children so much better than the traditional have-free-time-and-drive-to-actual-stores model of shopping. And I’m getting better at knowing, just from a website, what will feel like clouds on my feet, and what I will have to return because PAINFUL, all while balancing the fine line of fashionable/cute and orthopedic/hideous.

But sometimes the choices in the sweet spot feel like sixes. As I do not have an unlimited shoe budget, I recently ordered two pairs of nice, comfortable-looking sandals, with the intention of trying them on and keeping just one pair. I’ve rarely invested in good shoes for summer. I’ve worn flip flops and cheap, trendy sandals, which you can totes get away with between the ages of *fifteen and thirty-five (*not based on actual research).

This breaks one of Engineer Husband’s cardinal rules, which is: Never buy cheap shoes or cheap tires. If you ask why, as Henry did once, Jeff will reply that going cheap on these things is a false economy. It’s cheaper in the short term, but you will assuredly pay in the long run.

The two pairs of shoes were delivered to my porch and I tried them on: a Birkenstock and a strappy Olukai leather sandal. Weirdly, the Birkenstock was less comfortable, which doesn’t make any sense to me. But I asked Jeff’s opinion on the two before I made my decision and returned one pair.

He looked at them at length. He said he liked them both. When pressed for more input, he stared at my feet and said, “The strappy one. It hides the veins in your feet better.”

Thus ensued one of perhaps a half dozen times in my life when I’ve been struck dumb in confusion and disbelief.

What was he talking about? Veins in my feet? Everyone has veins in their feet but ….. Oh. My. Stars.

At this point I looked at my feet at length, as well. To my dismay, my perfectly regular feet WERE INDEED SPORTING PRONOUNCED VEINS ON TOP.

I had an internal conversation that went like this:

Me: Your feet don’t look all that young anymore.

Also Me: Wait, now I need to feel self-conscious about the tops of my feet? It’s one area I’ve never thought needed fixing. Why is being a woman so complex???

I had a real life conversation with Jeff that went like this:

Me: You think my feet are veiny?

Jeff: Everyone has veins in their feet.

Me: That’s not what I’m asking.

Jeff: I like them both. Pick either one, you can’t go wrong.

In her book about aging, Nora Ephron talks about how she feels bad about what happened to her neck as she got older, so much so, that she titled the book I Feel Bad About My Neck. It is insightful and hilarious. What sticks with me long after reading it is that she hadn’t realized until middle age that she should have been admiring her neck daily all along, appreciating it’s smooth, taut skin, gazing at it in rearview mirrors when sitting behind the driver in a car. She didn’t know she should have been enjoying her young neck until it was an old neck.

My feet aren’t yet quantitatively old. They just aren’t twenty-two. And when shod in NOT CHEAP shoes, they feel pretty good. But they do have some ropey veins, so shield your eyes.

I’m keeping the strappy shoe, reader. Because it feels like a leathern cloud.

That’s the only reason.


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