10 Reasons Why Shoes Can Make, or Break, Your Show

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Last week I had a tricky meeting to attend. I had to be assertive but friendly.  Passionate but articulate.

I wasn’t sure how the meeting would go. It was important and potentially far-reaching.

It was, in short, tricky. And I was a power player in it. I had to have my game on. Perform.

After abluting myself in the early morn and getting my thoughts together, I turned to my wardrobe.  I am someone who does a better job if she’s looks the part.

I didn’t want to wear my ‘mom’ uniform of a tank top, sweat pants and tennis shoes. (That really is me depicted up in that header.)

But I didn’t want to be too formal either. I opted for a pair of blue culottes and a blue top.

But then I got to my feet.

Since I’ve had kids, I almost never wear heels. Of any kind.

When I went pole dancing, the shoes I contorted my feet into were so high, I thought my arches were about to crack and shatter like the teeth of an evil cartoon character when he (it’s nearly always a ‘he’) gets hit with a bowling ball in the mug.

I’m also not a shoe whore. I know people who are and I’d quite like to be one of them.

The exquisite thrill of buying something that you simply adore is a high higher than the highest of heels. I know that. But shoes don’t do it for me. (Teapots, exquisite teacups and rummage sale steals are more my thing.)

No, I’ve not been one to put my shoe look above all else. Not since my Dad stopped me from going to high school in a pair of heels I could only totter in.

And I realized that, for once, he was right.

Slowly over the several decades since my Dad’s pronouncement, my heels have got increasingly lower.

Until I’ve got to the point now where they are non-existent.

I love boots but I had to choose between them and the Californian weather. Strangely, the warm weather won. It wasn’t a hard decision, really. ;-)

And today, you’ll invariably find me in tennis shoes (of which I have several pairs,) weighted shoes and Vibrams.

So I haven’t worn heels in years.

But shoes are important to me. Perhaps not in a peacocky, decorative way. But they are important. To everyone. Here’s why:

Reason #1. They indicate prosperity.

Barefooted-ness is associated with poverty around the globe. If we have a pair of shoes, we probably have shelter and food. We consider shoes to be basic necessities of life and they signal a lot about us.

Reason #2: They make our legs look longer.

And if you’re a long torso/short-legged person like me, that changes everything. ;-) An extra inch and our silhouettes look much better. Slimmer thighs, narrower ankles. The right shoe can do wonders.

Reason #3: An unwise choice can make an expensive outfit look cheap and an elegant outfit look, well, daft.

And then they make us look, well, cheap or daft. No matter what’s on the inside. We should not be fooled by shoes. But we are.

Reason #4: They can make, or break, our days.

Uncomfortable shoes are a bear. When I see women walking around in those platform high-hells (that is not a spelling error,) I can’t believe they are happy. Aren’t they excruciatingly painful and tight? I know it’s been a while, but I can still remember after nights of dancing, the relief of taking my shoes off. And the mangled outline of my feet that would take some hours to reform.

Reason #5: Wearing some shoes takes skill!

I have some shoes I don’t have the calf muscles for any longer and I always feel a complete fool trying to wear them. I have to anticipate slopes and warily evaluate sidewalks. Once I was modeling for a fundraiser fashion show (that isn’t a boast, they were taking anyone) and nearly pulled out because of the strappy sandals they put with my outfit. Crashing on stage in front of a hundred women was not my idea of philanthropic endeavor.

Reason #6: They affect our posture.

And over time, our feet. Back problems, bunions, plantar fasciitis. Ugh. Then we have to have corrective treatment. No wonder my mom made me wear the most expensive but dullest shoes on the planet, back when I was a kid. Clarks, they were. Remember them, my British buddies? They did have a fancy, fun implement to measure my feet with, though. It had an elephant on it. Later, when I was about 13, wearing those shoes made me feel like an elephant. But I did have nice feet.

Reason #7: Shoes affect our mood.

Shoes can really lift a woman. And make her feel awkward or frumpy if they’re not quite right. An awkward outfit leads to an awkward woman. The right shoe, keeps us high. Literally and figuratively.

Reason #8: Scruffy shoes indicate a lack of care, a rough life

And if they’re not shoes designed for the rough, then that judgment rolls back on us. Does a scruffy shoe mean you’re scruffy? Ragged? Not necessarily. But it conveys that message.

Reason #9: They affect our power

If I’m tottering around or uncomfortable, I do not feel powerful, nor do I speak so. Grounding my feet in medium to flat heels is essential when I have to do or say something definite but not necessarily pleasant or welcomed. Many times, I’ve gone back to change my shoes to make sure they are fit for duty.  You can tell when something feels right. Or not.

Reason #10: They can make a silly woman of us

Many a dollar has been wasted on a pair of painful shoes. Many a love affair has been started with a pair of shoes. They enthrall us, entice us, send shivers down our spines. Logic, sense and a deep appreciation for prudence fly out of the window upon sight of a gorgeous pair of shoes. Women who slay dragons on an hourly basis can be reduced to a pickle by such delights. And they wouldn’t have it any other way. :-)

And so it was that morning, I was trying to find just the right pair. Medium heels, a complement to my outfit, a good fit. Snug but not too tight, smart but not too showy.

But you know, when I got to my meeting, I put my feet under the table. I got to the point where I had to say my piece and I slipped them off. I pushed them aside, placed my feet firmly, and flatly, on the ground.

Because sometimes, barefoot is the best shoe of them  all.

Do you love shoes?

Or are they completely utilitarian to you?

Do they run your show?

Let us know in the comments! I dare ya!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Glynis
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February 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

Hi Alison

Because of my disability and yet I’m still up walking around, shoes are just something to protect my feet when I’m outside and they MUST have a good arch support and be flat (jogging shoes usually). Before I became disabled though, I liked shoes but they still didn’t make my day. The highest heel I’ve worn has only been 2 inches.
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Alison Golden February 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

I have a friend in a similar position, Glynis – shoes are purely practical for her. I think once you’ve had pain related to your feet somehow, shoes take up a completely different place in our heart. Thanks for stopping by!
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Sonya Sigler February 21, 2012 at 9:09 am

Hi Alison – thanks for this article! I love shoes – the more interesting the better; BUT, they have to be comfortable. Even with a heel. I think you might like this song – come to the Chickens’ Ball this year for a more entertaining version of it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCrIY3c8R2A&feature=watch_response
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Alison Golden February 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

OMGosh, Sonja, that video took me back…to an inner city pub in the 80s! I have seen your shoes and suspected your love for them. ;-)
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Mary E. Ulrich
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February 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

Hi Alison,

Yesterday I searched for shoe inserts and found them in both the pharmacy (with foot products) and the shoe dept. at Target. I’m looking for shoes for my upcoming surgery and the style variations–both in and out of the shoe–are amazing.

When you think that cobblers used to fit a shoe to just one person, it is remarkable shoes fit as well as they do.

So, how did the meeting go? Did you accomplish your goal?
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Alison Golden February 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

Yes, I did Mary. Thanks to my bare feet.

I come from a town (in England) where the main industry was cobbling (in the 1800s and 1900s.) You can still see their workshops at the back of the cottages (now converted to sheds and the like) so shoes are close to my heart.
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Jewel February 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

I am forced into sensible shoes nearly all the time because I walk everywhere. My husband has the car for work and my son’s school and the shops, library etc, are within about half an hour’s walking distance. I’d love to wear heels more, and I used to for the office, but then I would get problems with my feet. So, for practical reasons, I am stuck with the flat lace up ones. I wish sometimes I wasn’t.
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Alison Golden February 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Yes, I feel the same way. There is no point, really.
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Lauren February 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I would love to love shoes, but I have Yeti feet. Even wide fit men’s hiking boots make my outer toes go numb in short order and then give me cramps. I agree with all your points, and I do feel “less than” for my footwear sometimes, but I’m not willing to hobble myself for someone else’s potentially good opinion. My host mother in Cuba was *horrified* when she saw me out without shoes on – I said I was enjoying the sunshine, she said I looked like a hobo.
Fortunately I now have one pair of sky-high black stilettoes which (with a backup pair of black ballerinas) get me through fancy events, and the rest of the time my Birkenstock/slip-on boot rotation is enough.
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Alison Golden February 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm

This must be tough, Lauren.
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Le'Ann February 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm

After years of wearing only flats, I finally started to venture into heels again – and purchased a beautiful pair of black pumps with a 4 inch heel. Then I switched jobs and now have a 1/2 mile hike from bus stop to office. Back to lower heels I go!
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Alison Golden February 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I’m glad you’re not trying do that walk in 4 inch heels, Le’Ann. :-)
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Nicole Schuman February 22, 2012 at 4:26 am

Agree! I love shoes! And for me, shoes are girls best friend. :)

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Cley March 6, 2012 at 7:21 am

Agree! Although I love shoes I usually wear flats because it’s comfy. It’s kinda bit scary to wear high-heeled shoes. :) Thanks for sharing this.. Good job!

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Sarah B. May 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I like shoes…but I feel like they don’t like me at all. My feet have grown throughout the year to almost a size 12 (and the left is smaller than the right). I’m also six feet tall so the thought of wearing heels makes me feel like I’ll be the giant in the room. I guess if my husband was really tall then it wouldn’t matter, but he’s a wee bit shorter than me. In the long run, I usually wear flipflops for the better part of the year, and Uggs in the winter. It’s all about comfort. I did recently find a cute pair of patent leather peep toe flats with a flower on the front…I’m so on trend now!

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