Tag Archives: shoes

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.

Re-heeled: Part 2 of My Shoe Saga

24 Nov

From naromeel's Flickr photostream

Some of you cried right along with me a couple of weeks ago when my dog destroyed several pairs of shoes. I appreciate your sympathies. Truly, this crisis is no laughing matter for a professional woman with any self-respect. I’ve healed and consequently re-heeled myself with some quality kicks and want to share my finds.

My first step was to try on some beautiful gray flannel platforms at Banana Republic. They appear to be only sold in-store…couldn’t find them online. Looked fabulous and appeared to have some semblance of comfort in mind with a padded sole. The platform part of the shoe is a dark veneer and looks great with the flannel. But as soon as I put them on, I noticed the problem. There’s no room in the foot-bed for a normal-sized foot. I’d need to lose at least one toe on each foot to make this work. The shoe tapers into nothingness and gives you zero space to put your pigs.

When I tried to walk around in these, they were in fact beautiful torture devices. I informed the shop-girl that they should go back to the drawing board. (Not sure she appreciated me. Oh well.) Anyone with half a brain would know that putting a three-inch heel and a nonexistent foot-bed together is a recipe for discomfort. When you’re riding that high, you need to have traction — and the only way to do that is to spread out your toes. Without any room to do so, I’d be teetering around like a drunk lady. Not very professional looking, eh?

My next step was to go back to my tried and true L.L. Bean Signature platform heels. I had already purchased two pairs of these — one in tan (ruined by dog…see here) and a second in a dark pink. Love them. But upon their initial release last year, the colors were a bit limited. First, there was no black. Seriously, guys? Also, no navy or other neutrals.

Bean has since solved that problem. They added a beautiful dark brown as well as navy and black — check/check/check on neutrals. Second, they added some nice seasonally appropriate options, such as a deep forest green and a rich burgundy. Love them all? Which to choose? I went with the dark brown as a good choice to round out my collection…the dark pink is not always that practical.

Next, I noticed that they took the wood platform to the next level: A more tapered heel (still 3 inches) but with a tie-up black patent leather in brogue style. Sweet. I’m proud to lovingly embrace those aspects of my heritage that work well — there are many Anglo-influenced fashion options that are workhorses AND fashionable. Wool, of course. And who doesn’t love a brogue?

Let me just say that I am not a woman immediately drawn to a three-inch platform heel. When not at work I am most comfortable in Haflinger or Dansko clogs. Or perhaps boots. Clunky yet comfy. Perfect for walking dogs or exploring the ravine. My daughter tells me I need to be on the show, “What Not to Wear.” Harrumph.

But here’s why I love both of these models from Bean’s Signature collection — and why anyone with five normally shaped toes will feel the same:

  1. Padded sole. Comfort plus height? You got it.
  2. Foot-bed space for the toes. A proper design for the heel height. Traction and no totter? Bingo.
  3. Wooden platform. Fashionable and the wood gives an organic, outdoorsy feel that’s nice for someone like me who’d rather be in nature but spends a lot of time at the office, too. I am literally winched up by trees in these things…all day long.
  4. Nappa leather…soffffttt. Looks good, plus lasts.
  5. Price point. $129. Not as pricey as a designer brand, but packed with all the perks.

Walk on!

Down in the Heel

13 Nov

The dog has ruined my professional shoe collection. Surely these photos say it all.

The tan platforms were particularly painful, therefore the close-up.