Searching for: Chelsea boots

Been doing some sole searching lately.  I’ve been trying to find a pair of black and/or brown Chelsea boots.  Here are some styles with a lower heel:

Megumi Ochi found on Gravitypope website

Megumi Ochi found on Gravitypope website

Frye Jillian Chelsea Boot

Frye Jillian Chelsea Boot

Repetto Auguste Chelsea boot found on Repetto website

Repetto Auguste found on Repetto website

Chie Mihara Vander Pruna found on Chie Mihara website

Chie Mihara Vander Pruna found on Chie Mihara website

Coclico Sandrine found on Re-souL website

Coclico Sandrine found on Re-souL website

Kudeta 423301 Low Heel Chelsea Boot found on Re-souL website

Kudeta 423301 Low Heel Chelsea Boot found on Re-souL website

Here are a few with a bit more heel:

Zinda Chelsea boot found on Gravitypope website

Zinda Chelsea boot found on Gravitypope website

Ink boot found on Head Start website.

Ink boot found on Head Start website

Passage Cairo by John Fluevog

Passage Cairo by John Fluevog

Want more color?

Chelsea Boots by Poetry

Chelsea Boots by Poetry

Chelsea boot by John Fluevog.

Radio RCI unisex Chelsea boot by John Fluevog

Emerald Crocodile boots by Dieppa Restrepo found on Totokaelo website

Emerald Crocodile boots by Dieppa Restrepo found on Totokaelo website

Jeffrey Campbell Forecast Boot.

Jeffrey Campbell Forecast Boot

So that’s it.  Just a post full of pretty shoes.  What do you think?  Any thoughts about this trend?  Do you own a pair?

Dysfunctional vs Functional Winter Boots

My old high school friend Patty, now a long time resident of Maine, sent me a photo of her vintage Vasque hiking boots circa 1977.10703526_10204914466599681_219005607933401331_n  They still have plenty of wear in them and so she’s offering them free to a good home.  It’s brought back a flood of memories from Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska back in the late 70’s.

Memories of the “what were we thinking?” type.

I owned a pair of these.  Well, I sort of owned a pair of these.  Mine were the cheaper knock off versions offered by stores such as JC Penney.  The really cool kids had the more expensive prototypes; Vasque or Dexter.  Here’s a few examples found on the internet:vintage dexter hiking bootsvintage dexter suede hiking bootsvintage vasque hiking bootsThey were hiking boots and not meant for snow at all.  They weren’t waterproof and they weren’t insulated.  Kids would spray them with some kind of sealant to protect the suede but it did very little to keep out the snow and the wet.  And we got plenty of snow in Nebraska.  That lugged sole had traction though, I’ll give it credit for that.

And they were heavy.  It felt like dragging around two bricks strapped to your feet. Who needs that when you’re racing off to chemistry lab at one end of the building, then orchestra practice at the other?

We pretended like they were snow boots but we suffered because of it.  No wonder we did our best to avoid the outdoors in Omaha from December through early March.

It was a look.  You’d wear these with your faded Levi jeans and a fair isle sweater in order to blend in with the hip crowd.  I bought into the trend as did most of my friends.  It must have been an image borrowed from our next door neighbors in Colorado where the fad was more legit.  They had mountains to climb after all.

Fast forward several years and I find myself in Northern New England in 1985 at my first teaching job in Orford, NH.  That was the year I was introduced to some serious winter outerwear for some serious winter.  Warm and dry feet were a top priority and folks dressed for the weather not in spite of it.  And, because of this, I started to embrace the elements instead of avoiding them. The winter boot choices were simple; Sorel or L.L. Bean.vintage LL Bean Maine Pac bootsSorrels classicLL Bean Maine Pac boot 2 My first pair were L.L. Bean Maine Winter Boots with dark brown uppers and charcoal grey felt liners.

  • Waterproof?  Check.
  • Warm and cozy?   Check.
  • Good traction on ice and snow?  Check.
  • Attractive?  That’s not the point.

These were outdoor wear.  You’d bring your indoor shoes with you in a bag to school or to work and switch them out.  People certainly owned hiking boots but they weren’t confusing them with fashion boots.  Hiking boots were, and still are, mostly for hiking.   Thankfully they’ve become more lightweight and ergonomic.  Here’s some modern day Vasque hikers:new vasque hiking bootsNot sure that this is a look teens are going for nowadays except when on a trail.

I wore those first L.L. Bean winter boots for many years.  The felt liner was detachable and could be replaced inexpensively.  As I recall, the company would also replace a worn out sole for free, no questions asked.  I might have done that once (thanks L.L. Bean).

I would still be sporting the L.L. Bean look had it not been for the new kid on the block…Bogs.


The colorful floral patterns were all the rage around here when the brand was first introduced.

The colorful floral patterns were all the rage around here when the brand was first introduced.

bogs toe closeupThese boots have it all.  Not only are they waterproof, insulated, capable of excellent traction on snow and ice, easy to slip on and off but they are cute and sassy.  They’re just a little rebellious don’t you think?  You know, in a floral pattern on a winter boot kind of way?

My first pair

My first pair

My latest pair.

My latest pair.

Style and color options keep on coming.  Even though I don’t need replacements, I’m very tempted by these green and blue versions:bogs aquabogs boots cute green winterbogs short green

And look… they have red!bogs red

Now we can wear sensible winter boots and have fun!  What will they think of next?

And just so I don’t leave you with the idea that Nebraska teens are the only ones susceptible to dysfunctional winter boot trends, let me remind you of the ubiquitous Ugg Boot as worn by many a brainwashed middle school girl around these parts.ugg bootsMy daughter and her friends wore these every winter from sixth through eighth grade.  There is absolutely nothing that recommends them for the outdoors.  They are very expensive and become completely trashed by the end of a New Hampshire winter.  Further more, for some strange reason, girls refuse to wear them with socks.  The foot odor caused by this is completely unbearable.  They have absolutely no structural support and, until recently, no traction on the bottom of the sole.  Weren’t these first invented for Apres skiing meant to be worn at the lodge around the fireplace?

This is how they end up at the end of the winter.  ugg boots gone wrong

No wonder they call them “Uggs.”


One of my closest and dearest friends was inspired to send me some photos of her favorite GNO (girls night out) black kitten heels.  She admits to having paid more for these than is her custom but also says they get a lot of wear.  I’m very impressed.  Quite chic and flattering on her.  I’ve never heard of the brand; BeautiFeel.  They’re made in Israel.  She agreed to let me share them here on SS.IMG_6069IMG_6070IMG_6071IMG_6072IMG_6073

So, let’s hear it for the cute little black kitten heel.  Move over LBD, here comes the CLBKH! Here are some I’ve collected on my Pinterest cutout pumpsRepettoRoseMaryJane_832911etsy pumpscoclico on amanocydwoqchie black bow pumpFrom left to right, top to bottom they are: Image found on Pinterest from the website Refinery29 (brand?); Repetto (Rose Mary Jane); Keymandesign on Etsy (Clementine); Coclico (Sarah); Cydwoq (Calamity) and Chie Mihara (Retama).

Thinking of starting a CLBKH Friday…. or maybe Tuesday.  Still thinking about the day, but send me your photos.

Ordinary Oxfords

IMG_6053IMG_6055Back in August I had some luck at another shoe store in Florence where I found these seemingly ordinary laceless oxfords.  Cynthia Kowal runs a shop called Diva Shoes at Via Guicciardini 10/r  just off the Ponte Vecchio.  I was immediately drawn to her collection.  Oxfords were plentiful inside her doors so the only questions were; which style? and what color?  She gave me a great tip.  “Choose the darker ones.  They’ll go with everything.”  I’m beginning to think that truer words were never spoken.

I’ve been avoiding the wearing and purchasing of shoes in the colors of black and dark brown for several years.  I’ve retired my black Dansko clogs and traded them in for colorful leather shoes from makers such as Chie Mihara, John Fluevog, Art, Fidji, Liebling, Fly London and Esska.  Since I spend hours of my work life under the tent of a burgundy colored choir robe, dressing my feet with some unexpected pizzazz has been an innocent rebellion.  Ever notice that the shoe bins at most consignment and thrift shops are littered with the black and brown cast-offs from your friends and neighbors?  Walk into any Payless Shoe Store and find row upon row of generic black and brown knockoffs with very little in the way of color variation.  Where’s the imagination?  Let us take the road less traveled.  For example, here’s a pair of Chie Mihara oxfords from the  2013 spring/summer collection.  I convinced myself they must be mine.IMG_6057 IMG_6058Where do I start with the lovefest?  First of all, they are oxfords.  Secondly, they have a perfectly reasonable yet uplifting heel.  Then there’s the trifecta of materials which make up the vamp; the patent leather toe, the woven (yes, woven) blue and white leathers in the middle and then the perfectly saturated shade of complimentary blue leather which wraps around the patent leather tongue all done up with a slender black lace.  I saw these in a few different color ways that season but this version could only be purchased online at the British based women’s clothing company called Toast.  I spent a lot of hard earned choir conducting cash on these which included that shipping bill from London.

So why have you rarely seen me in these?  Sadly, it’s because they hardly go well with anything.  You might have seen this coming but I was honestly shocked.

Maybe if I was a little younger or the owner of a hipster art gallery in Portand, Oregon?  Maybe if I lived in Finland and was editor in chief of a bikram yoga magazine or a waitress in a Morrocan/Thai fusion restaurant in the West Village?  Maybe then I could wear these shoes with just about anything and get away with it.  As it is, It’s hard work avoiding the clown vibe.  Even worse, a middle aged female clown vibe.  One has to be very careful.

The trick is to make the non-shoe part of the outfit very quiet.  Business on the top and middle with the party on the very bottom.  But it can’t be business with a capital “B” as the shoe recommends a somewhat eclectic approach. It also helps if the pants are on the long side.  Let the shoes peek out.  Avoid cropped or ankle length pants (see note about avoiding clown look).  Don’t even try these with skirts and dresses (see note about not being 20 years old).  There’s not a whole lot of options left but I’ve managed to wear them now and again.

But those dark elephant grey oxfords from Diva Shoes?  They’re gonna get around town.  I’m starting to lean in to the black and brown options again.  Perhaps I cast them aside in haste.  A girl needs her go-to shoes as much as she needs a little kick of color.

Thanks for the advice Cynthia.  And…thanks for the shoes.

Taking Steps

When it comes to regular exercise I think most of us fall into one of two categories.  Either you’re chomping at the bit to get out the door or you’re willing yourself to get out the door.  More often than not I fall in with the latter group.  I’m trying hard to re-acquaint myself with this pair of shoes.

IMG_5949As I approach my 55th birthday I find myself thinking about what kind of old person I want to become.  I also find myself wondering if I’ll get to become an old person at all. More than any other year of my life, this one has been punctuated with the deaths of aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, husbands of cousins, husbands of friends, sisters of friends, and old boyfriends.  Most surprising has been the deaths of those in their 50’s and 60’s.  Some have come after long battles with cancer and such.  But, others have come in the form of a heart attack that sneaks up from behind or an on coming car that crosses the middle line.  If I’m lucky enough to live to a ripe old age, I’d like to be able to walk the streets of Florence and Paris with my family at least a few more times.  I need to lace up these shoes and get out the front door.

And the thing is, I’m always so happy when I do.  I have a 2.5 mile loop which I like to walk in my neighborhood.  It often goes something like this.  I head out my front door and down my long driveway.  In the first few minutes I have this overwhelming feeling that I can’t do it. Being outside and alone scares me.  I feel completely small and insignificant as if the trees are going to swallow me up.  This and I’ve barely begun my walk.  Things begin to change once I’m out on the road and heading for the first hill.  It’s a small hill but it never fails to get my heart rate up into the aerobic zone.  I know exactly the point at which the hill starts to flatten out and I convince myself that if I can make it to that spot the rest will be a piece of cake.  I’m huffing and puffing but I push through. I make it and miraculously the climb ends exactly as I have predicted.  Within four or five strides I begin to feel a rush and I pick up the pace.  I look around and feel so happy to be outdoors.  I love the sights and the smells of the season as well as the sound of my footsteps on the pavement and the thumping of my heart.  I feel grateful and happy as I chug along.  Before I know it, I’m turning back down my driveway and I’m planning my next walk.  I have no regrets.  So why is it so hard to get back out the door again?

I’m trying something new.  I got my husband a fitbit for his birthday and picked up one for myself as well.  I’m not completely sure how this tool is meant to help me but I figure it’s something new to try.  It’s on my wrist right now.  The hubby set me up and showed me how to navigate the website.  It mostly acts as a high-tech pedometer.  I start out with a goal of 5,000 steps per day and I can track my progress as the day goes on.  Later, if I want, I can increase the goal.  I’ve had it on for less than a week but I find myself thinking about those 5,000 steps and how I can get them in.  I figure that’s a good thing.

It also tracks sleep which is an additional concern.  It tracks calories but that is for another day.  Right now, my goal is to get out the door more often.  Besides improving my health, I also get to look at things like this along the way.IMG_5961It’s a nice bonus and those leaves are not going to be hanging on for much longer.


Ponte Vecchio

ponte vecchio at nightWe arrived in Florence at 12:00 noon on a sublime Italian summer day.  We took a taxi to our two bedroom apartment on Corso Dei Tintori near the Piazza Santa Croce to meet Sid.  Our handsome, charming, young Air BnB host dressed in a linen shirt and white trousers would lead us up the marble staircase to our new Italian digs which would be our home base for the next six days.  My worst fears were flung to the four winds when we stepped over the threshold to discover that the apartment was just as pictured. Better even. Google “Tintori II” and take a look for yourself.  Go ahead. I’ll just wait here until you’re done…

Take your time…

See what I mean?  Bam!  It was the petite balcony that sold me.  Across the street was a divine market which was a mini tourist destination unto itself.  Shelves lined with beautiful pasta, bread, wine, pastries, and the most gorgeous produce imaginable would keep us occupied for hours if we weren’t careful.  We were just a stone’s throw from the Fiume Arno behind the apartment building and after stocking our kitchen, napping for a few hours, and studying a city map we headed that way for our first evening stroll.  We walked westerly along the northern bank with scores of other tourists and joggers.  Not really sure where we were headed, it’s almost impossible to walk for long in this city without bumping into something spectacular.  The sunset over the Ponte Vecchio is enough.  On our right we soon arrived at the south end of the Uffizi Gallery.Florence03_Uffizi Gallery08Good to know because we would be visiting the art gallery the next day upon strong advice from our British friend Pippa.  She said the frescos alone were worth the price of admission.

IMG_5408She was right, of course.

A few steps further and we had reached the Ponte Vecchio where things really began to get festive. This is probably the number one tourist hangout in the city and the overpass was as busy as Times Square in NYC.  We were in search of our first Tuscan dinner but also taking our time and drinking in the sights and sounds along the Arno.  We stopped for a bit to listen to a singer/guitarist who had drawn quite a crowd at the center of the bridge.  As we headed over to the other side we began our search in earnest for a restaurant.  But, not before I had a chance to gaze into the windows of a few shoe shops on the via de Guicciardini.  As it turns out, the first shop to catch my eye would be one of the best I found in all of Florence.  I had to come back two more times before finding it open for business.  But, when I did, I tried on these and fell in love…IMG_5873 IMG_5872 IMG_5874The name of the shoe store was Guido Longinotti and I absolutely loved every single pair of shoes in the place.  The owner helped me to narrow down my choices.  It was between these and a pair of green and black sandals.  I said I only had enough room in my luggage for one pair and I was leaning toward the sandals (they were green after all).  She asked where I lived and I told her, “New Hampshire.”  She said, “Better go for the red ones.  You’ll only be wearing the sandals two months out of the year in that climate.”  I didn’t have a good comeback for such an astute observation. I told her to wrap up the maryjanes and I fished around for my Euros.

When I asked if they had a website she decisively declared that they did not have one and they never would.  Nor would they have a Facebook page.  She explained they were weary of competitors stealing their designs.  Fair enough.  Here’s a bit of info about the store itself if you want to go looking for it while in Firenze.

IMG_5877 IMG_5879Only twenty steps from the “Old Bridge” says the brochure.  If that’s true then our dinner spot was 30 steps from the “Old Bridge.”  We dined al fresco and I had a simple dish of spaghetti, olive oil, and fresh parmesan along with a most excellent glass of wine. It couldn’t have been more perfect.  My dinner companions and I raised our glasses in what would be the first of many toasts to one of our best family vacation trips ever.

Sensible Shoes

IMG_5846IMG_5847Certain occasions call for sensible shoes.  Take these, for instance.  Theses puppies have been indispensable for me this summer. I walked all over Florence and Paris in these in August.  They’re made by Naot, a shoe company in Israel.  Here they are on the website…

Koru Reka They are called Reku and are part of the Koru line.  Holy cow, this brand has really grown.  I remember a few years back picking up a pair of sandals.  They reminded me of Birkenstocks only slimmer and a bit more stylish.  Something along the lines of these…

MadisonStardust_12-20-2013-10-49-35.jpg TAHOEBuffaloSee what I mean?  I particularly like some of their more elevated sandals…

FASOMetal RomeRumbaThese are great for getting around in.  The anatomical footbed, the cushiony rubber sole with a bit of a tread, the blister free uppers all add up to the perfect shoe for roaming city streets and country lanes.  The last thing I wanted to wear around Florence was a pair of American sneakers.

This was a trip for the ages.  Italy had been on our family bucket list for several years.  This summer was our daughter’s last before she would head off for college.  We haven’t taken a proper summer family vacation trip for two years.  It was time to go. Because of work and school schedules we had a block of about 10 days to work with.  We decided to focus on one Italian city; Florence.  Because of the way we booked our flights, we were routed through Paris.  What the heck, let’s spend a few days in Paris as well.  I found the PERFECT two bedroom apartment in the Santa Croce neighborhood through Air BnB.  In Paris we booked a small hotel in the Latin Quarter.  At the end of our trip we spent one last night in New York City at the Algonquin Hotel.

We did a lot of walking over the ten days.  We walked along the Arno and the Seine.  We walked every day to find the perfect cup of coffee and the most divine gelato.  We walked to find the best bistros, restaurants, cafes and brasseries.  We walked to see the frescos, the art and the amazing sculptures. We walked to cross the bridges, stroll the gardens and feed the birds. We walked to hear the music at night in the Palazzos and to see the lights of the Eiffel Tower.  This was a time for just the four of us to be together and to make new memories.  Definitely wear your sensible shoes.

More stories from Florence and Paris to come.

And, yes, I bought some shoes over there.

Ask and you may receive

Chie green sandal

Here’s my latest shoe purchase.  These are sandals from Chie Mihara which I found on Amazon.  I stalked them (as my daughter would say) all summer as they went from full price down to 67% off.  It’s possible they could have gone lower but I’d held out as long as seemed reasonably safe.  It’s helpful that with each price slash you can see how many are left in stock in your size.  For some reason, these weren’t selling like hotcakes.  I have a rule of thumb for buying discounted shoes on Amazon. The price must be 50% off or lower before they go into the cart.  Well, really I have two rules (because I have two thumbs).  I will only buy shoes on sale if I would have considered buying them at full price in the first place.

There was a time in my life when I would only buy an article of clothing when it was on sale.  Walking into the Casual Corner at Westroads Shopping Mall and buying a sweater at full price seemed indecent somehow.  I barely had a dime to my name in my twenties and early thirties.  Being thrifty came with the territory.  It was some kind of noble challenge to see how much I could get for how little. “I found these Calvin Klein jeans in this interesting shade of mauve at Filene’s Basement for seven dollars and fifty cents,” I would declare. “They practically gave them to me.” Never mind that nothing in my wardrobe would go with them or that they were missing several teeth in the zipper.

Now days I shop the whole store and believe that the best bargains are found in clothes that make me look and feel my best because they are flattering, fit my body and are well made.  Maybe I don’t need everything in my closet but my goal is to wear everything in my closet or learn from my mistakes.

I will leave you with these brief stories of times I received discounts simply because I spoke up.  It’s one of the perks of growing older and wiser.  You come to realize that it never hurts to ask and it can quite often pay off.  I’ll add that it helps to do it nicely and heap your salesperson with all kinds of gratitude afterwards.

  • A few years ago I found a cute grey cropped jacket on the sale rack at Anthropologie which had been deeply discounted.  They had one in my size and it fit like a glove.  The original price was $188 but it had been discounted four times and was now down to $32.  I couldn’t believe it. Upon closer inspection I could see where several threads had noticeably popped out of the loose textured weave on the front collar. It would be impossible to fix but I imagined the flaw could be easily covered with just the right sized brooch or pin.  Luckily I had several back at home.  I was with my  teenaged daughter and as we approached the counter I mentioned to her that I planned to point out the loose threads to the salesclerk.   “NOOOOHHH,” she wailed.  “Don’t do that!”  When it came time to check out I casually speculated with the salesperson that the  jacket had landed in the sale room because of the defect.  “Hmmm,” she intoned as she took a closer look.  She turned to punch something into her computer, then returned to meet my gaze and declared that she could take off an additional 15%.  BAM!
  • J.Crew came to town awhile back.  They had a grand opening one snowy February day with lots of eager sales people in cashmere sweaters and skinny jeans.  I strolled in to take a look and picked up a basic cardigan sweater that I had been eyeing in the catalog.  I perused the jewelry and was drawn to a crystal encrusted heart pendent on a long chain.  It was offensively overpriced and so I quickly set it back down.  When I went to check out the salesperson asked me if I had found everything okay… yada yada.  I answered honestly.  “Well, I noticed that you only stock pants up to a size 10.  You are probably catering to the college crowd but there are lots of us in town who haven’t been a size 10 for a long time and would love to shop here.”  She didn’t have a good explanation but mentioned how important my feedback was and she would relay this to her regional manager.  As she bundled up my sweater she slipped a little square box into the bag and said it was an “appreciation gift” for my willingness to share my concerns.  When I got home I opened the box and found the crystal heart pendent inside.  BAM!
  • While at L.L. Bean and shopping for boys’ t-shirts I came across a display with several tables full of them.  One table had a sign that said 35% off boys’ t-shirts.  I decided to stock up and picked out four.  When I went to check out I noticed that some of the shirts were ringing up at full price. I questioned the sales clerk.  She explained that only one table of t-shirts were meant to be on sale. “Boy, that’s not very clear from the wording on the sign,” I remarked.  “I don’t think so either,” said the salesclerk defiantly.  “So, I’m going to give you 35% off on all of them.” BAM!

I wore the green sandals twice but will have to put them into winter storage soon.  No worries, they’ll get lots of wear next summer and they were well worth the wait.

The Mid Life Musing Part

IMG_5825IMG_5822How do you like these beauties?  They are by an Italian shoe maker called Moma.  I purchased them last spring thinking that they could easily transition into fall and winter.  More orange than brown and more loafer than pump, they stood out to me.  So far they have worked well with both pants and skirts.

I’m working on my blog photography skills.  Turns out it’s hard to take a shoe selfie.  I may need to get somebody else involved like my husband but I haven’t mentioned it to him yet.  He’s a good photographer and pretty supportive about my shoe lust.

By now you may be asking, “What about the whole mid life musing thing?”  For me, thinking and writing about shoes has been part of a mid life phenomena .  I began this new found passion somewhere around my 50th birthday.  Before that, I never gave much thought to my shoe wardrobe other than I had to have a modest assortment to get me through the days, weeks and months.  I had an awakening of sorts; that my feet were a pretty big priority in the grand scheme of things.  Comfort and style did not have to be mutually exclusive. Maybe quality plays a part. Maybe you get what you pay for.  Maybe you deserve better because you’ve earned it somehow.

Around the age of 31 I realized some of these same things about eyewear.  At 19 my parents bought me my first pair of glasses and I used those frames until I was 23.  When I finally broke down and bought new ones I was shocked at the sticker price.  This was back in my day care center days in Boston (think crappy synthetic pointy toe shoes).  I was visiting my family in Omaha and went straight to one of those eyeglass outlet places to find the cheapest pair of frames I could.  I was so proud of my frugality.  A few years later, when those broke, I found a pair of wire rims at a friend’s antique store for $25.00 and had them fitted for lenses.  Being both delicate and ill fitted to my face, they only last a year or so.  I eventually started wearing contacts but still used glasses as a back up.  I would try on pair after pair only to discover that my favorites were always the most expensive.  I would settle for second or third choice because the price was lower.

I’m not sure exactly when it was or what brought it on but one day I suddenly understood that how I looked mattered to me and my face was a big part of that.  I took care of my hair and my skin.  I spent all kinds of money on make-up and hair products and the magazines that would tell me how to use them.  I spent money on clothes, jewelry, perfume like any other female.  Why wasn’t I willing to spend a few extra dollars to get the frames that made me look and feel my best? After all, I would wear them every day… on my face.  I gave myself permission to walk into the nicest eye glass store in town and pick out my favorite frames regardless of price from that point on.  I felt I was really onto something.

The same thing happened a few decades later regarding shoes and a lot of other intangible things I hope to explore on this blog.  Having a few decades under your belt can be very liberating.  Middle age can be about loss and disappointment so much of the time but I think it’s important to celebrate the little personal awakenings that come along with the AARP cards in the mail.

In the meantime, there’s some great shoes out there just waiting to be discovered.

If The Shoe Fits, Wear It

I wasn’t always this enthusiastic about shoes.  I’ve had different shoe phases.  For a very long time I simply gave up.  I had convinced myself that I had problem feet and that shoes were not made for me.  It’s only in hindsight that I realize I had a fit issue.

In my early adulthood I staunchly believed I was a size 7.  Somewhere along the line I got measured with one of those shoe store gadgets and I took it as gospel.  I would try on shoes in size 7 and if they didn’t fit I would move on.  I have a wide foot but somehow didn’t connect it as a factor.  Nor did I consider that different brands might vary in size or that my foot might change as I aged.  I would buy the 7 and assume that there had to be a “break in” period before I could expect reasonable comfort.  The blisters would turn to calluses which would in turn protect me from the shoe.  Shoe comfort was a process not unlike breaking in a wild horse.

Pointy toe flats were in style in the early 80’s.  I was living in Boston as a recent college graduate from University of Nebraska. I was an assistant teacher in a small day care center.  I made enough money to pay the rent for the two bedroom condominium I shared with 3 other BU students.  I had a car but mostly kept it parked while I made use of public transportation.  I had few possessions as the condo came fully furnished.  We shopped at the Hay Market on Saturday mornings to fill our fridge for mere dollars.  Filene’s Basement was my go-to for clothing bargains.  I found a discount shoe store on Commonweath Avenue that had a stylish and inexpensive pair of bone colored pointy toe flats.  I bought them in size 7 without trying them on.  I guarantee they were not made of leather.

Those shoes were pure agony.  I suffered through the “break in” period like a wounded Civil War soldier biting down on a stick  during a bullet extraction convincing myself that if I could just steel myself through the pain the shoes would eventually bend to my will.  Every step I took would cram my pudgy little toes deeper and deeper into those synthetic points and the skin on top would scrape, tear, blister and bleed.  And it never got better.  I was destined to give up and return to the softer confines of a  sneaker or the safer sanctuary of a roomy clog.  If only I had tried a 7 1/2 or maybe an 8.  Why didn’t I just size up?  It didn’t even occur to me.

I’d like to say I learned my lesson with these shoes but it would be many more years before I would.  A few years back we had a fabulous shoe boutique in town which stocked excellent quality European shoes.  I found this pair of pointy toe flats with just the right bit of a heel.  With the help of the knowledgable sales person I found the perfect size.  You see, the toes aren’t meant to occupy the point but rather the part of the shoe just before things start to narrow out.  And they weren’t a size 7.  My shoes haven’t been a size 7 for a long time.  Anyway, here they are.  They are from Italy.  I love the color (very light burgundy) and the buckle. I wore these regularly back in 2010 when I was auditing a Spanish course at a local college.  They made me feel younger and a little more hip around my twenty-something classmates.  And they never gave me a blister.  Not a one.  It’s time to bring them out again now that it’s fall.

I really miss that shoe store.