Tag Archives: air travel

Shoes Can Change Lives

4 Jun

Really, they can. Literally and figuratively. Two cases in point.

Case 1: Shoes as Figurative Life-Savers

Me, at the Charlotte, NC airport. It’s 6 pm, and I’ve been wearing 3-inch heels since I left Columbus 12 hours ago for a business meeting here. I’ve got an hour to kill before my flight leaves to go back home. My feet hurt.

When I packed my bag for this trip, the thought occurred that it MIGHT be a good idea to bring my Birkenstocks for the hike through the airport to and from, but since it’s only a one-day trip I though I could tough it out and keep my bag light.

BAD IDEA! With such a long day under my belt, it would feel so good to slip on those Birkenstocks right about now. But sadly, they are at home on my shoe rack.

This airport has a Body Shop, various decent food options and the typical airport sundry shops. Is there a women’s shoe shop? No. They do, by the way, have a Johnston & Murphy — an upscale men’s shoe store. (NOTE: Some of their stores, including the online one, sell women’s shoes as well, but not this airport store.) I eyed some comfortable-looking men’s moccasins and flirted with the thought of buying them in a size for moi. Too expensive for this immediate need, although they look oh-so-soft.

Meanwhile, did I mention that my feet are killing me?

Question: What percentage of air travelers are female? I’d expect it to be slightly less than the population, so let’s say just shy of 50%. How many of these women, like me, travel for business (or pleasure) and make the unfortunate decision to wear heels? And what percentage of women like to buy shoes, anytime and anywhere? Do the math. I’d say that locating a women’s shoe store in a large airport would be a profitable decision.

Or, as my feet are still killing me, wouldn’t the comfort store Brookstone have a reasonably priced pair of memory foam-type flip-flops? No, the closest thing I can find is a $50 pair of slippers (no, too much to spend) or a $50 three-pair package of fluffy socks (again, too expensive…although at this point I’d consider wearing a pair of socks on the long walk to the gate, if I could buy some for less than $10).

Another thought: Maybe the sundry shops sell Dr. Scholl’s Fast Flats, cheap flats ($12.99) that you can find at drugstores like Walgreens. Brilliant! Thinking about this, my feet are starting to breathe a sigh of relief. But the sundry shops don’t have them. I looked in all five sundry shops, by the way.

So, long story short, no comfortable option for my heels. And now that I’ve walked all over the place in the airport, my feet feel even worse. But it’s time for the flight now.

End of this case and lesson learned: A better decision when I arrived would have been to park myself in one of those rocking chairs and stay put.

Case 2: Shoes as Literal Life-Savers

TOMS Shoes is a company developed on this premise:

For every pair of shoes you buy, they give a pair to a child in need. They call it their “One for One Movement.”

How can shoes save lives, literally? Because walking around without shoes damages feet and creates disease. Living without shoes also decreases children’s chances of getting to and from school, reducing their ability to get access to a longer life and greater livelihood for themselves and their families.

So, the next time you buy new shoes, consider TOMS. Their prices range from $50-80, typically. I just bought these $69 wedges and adore them. They are stylish, very comfortable and make me feel like I’m giving back to someone every time I wear them. Because I am.