The story of my shoes

Photo by Unsplash - Kris Gerhard

I was putting on a pair of old runners this morning and once again thought it was time to get rid of them. But, these sneakers are my most comfortable shoes. They may be worn out and ugly, a far cry from the beautiful shoes I used to wear, but comfort rather than style is what’s important to me now. In all types of weather, these are the ones I put on my feet.

My first job back in 1956 was at a shoe store during my school holiday. I would stand by as the owner suggested types of shoes, the colour of shoes, and even the height of the heel to a prospective buyer. My job was to put the unwanted shoes back in the box and back on the shelves until they were needed once again.

I looked on with envy as the young women tried on various pairs of shoes, some were slip-on, others were open-toed, or sandals with long delicate straps. All of them were high-heeled shoes, some even had platforms to make the wearer stand even taller. I was completely engrossed as I watched the young women put on these shoes and then try walking in them. The ones with platforms made walking harder, so they would wabble a little the first time they tried them on.

At the end of my holiday, I gleefully walked out with my very own pair of red high heel shoes. At school, I had to wear uniforms and brown Oxford-style shoes, which were comfortable but not the least bit flattering. I could hardly wait for the weekend so I could show off my new shoes to my friends.
As I was the first one in my group to own a pair of heels, I admit that I did “put on the dog” so to speak. I suppose it was a sort of transition from girlhood to womanhood and I felt very grown up indeed.

Over the years I have had many pairs of shoes, all the latest trends, some with platforms that elevated me by three inches, some crepe sole walking shoes, a pair of white and navy spectator shoes, boots for winter, a pair of bowling shoes, a pair of cross-country ski boots and even a pair of ballerina toe shoes.
I feel I must explain about the toe shoes because I never actually used them during my dance lessons. While I did manage to stand up on my toes when I put them on, it was purchased on sheer anticipation and wishful dreaming that one day I would need them. Unfortunately, my dance lessons came to an end before I got that far.

My favourite winter boots were a pair of seal-skin crepe sole shoes. Not only were they comfortable, but they kept my feet warm even on the coldest day. They were taken off the market when the killing of baby seals was banned in Canada.

Wearing mules became very popular in the 1980s and I purchased an absolutely beautiful lavender pair and then matched it with the same-colored suit. I certainly felt very trendy and even a little smitten with pride. Well, everyone knows what follows self-centred pride; of course, it’s the “fall”.

I was walking on a marble floor, right in front of some elevators, when the heel on my left foot slipped. The files I was carrying went flying into the air, while my arms acted like windmills as I tried desperately to regain my balance. I didn’t. Down I went, hard, just as the elevator door opened and people began to exit from it. One man helped me up while a lady kept asking me if I was alright. I was shaking with embarrassment and all I could do was say “I’m okay!”

I was hurting all over. Someone else picked up my scattered files and papers and handed them to me. When they were convinced I would live, they all left and went on their way. I was still shaking as I made my way into my office and literally flopped onto my chair. My lovely lavender mules became history and went into the garbage that very night. One good thing did come out of it though, I took all of my shoes to the repair shop and had rubber non-skid soles and heels put on all of them.

Looking back on my high-heel days, I guess the sturdiest and safest shoes were the ones that had wedge heels, but I loved wearing all of them.

A lasting and ever-present reminder of my wearing these shoes are the bunions they created for me. Well, at least I can always tell when there is going to be a change in the weather because my bunions begin to pulse in unison. Ah well, if given a chance to re-do, or re-think what shoes I should wear, I probably wouldn’t change a thing. As I’ve said, I loved wearing them.