Let’s Talk Shoes

26 Apr

Is it possible to have too many shoes? Not according to most of the women that I meet these days. (Though their husbands whose closet space is being invaded by the Nth pair of black strappy sandals would beg to disagree.) There is no question that shoes are the most fun thing to shop for; you don’t have to fuss with getting undressed, there is no “moment of truth” to see if the zipper will close over your belly, and if you look long enough, you will find a pair that expresses exactly what you want to say about yourself – the ultimate form of self-expression.

Seychelles Chant High Heel w Studs

What do you want to say with your shoes?

The problem now, After Kids, is that motherhood so often entails:

– wet grass, mud, and sand

– sprinting after your toddler who has decided to make a mad dash out your front door and down the sidewalk

– carrying three bags of groceries, your toddler, your oversized purse, and maintaining a cell phone conversation

– doing that all day long

Reason would dictate that any pair of shoes that will survive a day of stay at home motherhood will be practical first and stylish second. Unfortunately, shoes that put comfort first tend to look something like this:

Naturalizer Yadira Flats

Practical shoes are so boring...

We all know that shopping at its best is an experience of passion, and when it’s really good, I give in to sheer abandon. I set out looking for sandals to wear to the playground with your toddler, and somehow I come home with something like these:

Farylrobin Dani Strappy Sandals

When fabulous shoes trump practical considerations

So I parade them around in front of the mirror at home, then tuck them away, and there they wait, hoping to be taken out for date night or a party worthy of killer shoes. As I head out the door to take your kids to the park, I slip on the same sneakers or flip-flops I have been wearing since before they were born. Is there really no such thing as cute shoes that I’m excited to put on, and that still feel good at the end of the day?

A trip to the mall is not terribly enlightening. The “comfort shoes” category is rife with fashion duds. An online search on Zappos.com (my favorite online shoe store), however, reveals several brands that appear to be happily marrying comfort and style.  Unfortunately, they are pricey – they start around $100 and go up steeply from there. However, you can’t expect good leather and meticulous construction to come as cheaply as the $60-$80 mall brands, right? Here is a roundup of a few pairs that I am coveting:

Arche Laius aqua suede flat

Cushy, pretty, and $275 by Arche. I'll have to wait for the sale.

Born Lark gladiator sandal

An eye-pleasing Gladiator sandal by Born

Paul green Hilary thong sandal

Beautiful detail in this $189 Paul Green thong sandal makes ordinary flip flops pale in comparison

No matter how cushy you make the materials or how good the fit, I just can’t see any way that I can wear a shoe like the ones below all day with my kids – aren’t they inviting, though?

Gentle Souls Gold Member High heeled shoes

Wouldn't it be great if these held up to a day out with your toddler? The Gentle Souls "Gold Member" sandal, $195

After an evening of browsing, I put a bunch of shoes in my cart, and racked with indecision, I go to bed. Shopping at Zappos is like drinking from a firehose – the multitude of options can be overwhelming.

The following day back in the real world, a catalog crashes through my mail slot. It’s Sundance, which I usally flip through and then toss into the recycle bin, but a headline about footwear catches my eye. I land upon two pears of shoes that I decide to order: The Tina Sandal by Kork-Ease

Kork-Ease Tina sandal in Grey

Cute, described as comfy, and under $100. A winner!

and the Melissa sandal by Sundance’s private label.

Sundance Melissa Sandal in Putty

A less practical choice, but wouldn't they look great with capris in the summer?

Sadly, the Melissa is out of stock in the “putty” color that I love, but I pledge to return in a month when it’s scheduled to be available again.  I love the wedge shape, which has the drama of a high heel with more comfort stability.  They may not make it through a visit to the playground, but just walking my son to school in awesome shoes will make owning them worthwhile, even if I come right back home, take them off and put on practical sneakers for the rest of the day. The point is not to be seen by others, but to enjoy wearing awesome shoes on a regular basis, even if it’s only 30 minutes per day.

Ironically, if I ever go back to work, I’ll have more occasion to wear great shoes all day – but knowing me, then I will miss getting to kick around in sneakers all day.

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