Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Musings... I Used to Not Care About Shoes

Really. I used to not care about the shoes that I wore. Before I woke up, there was the pair of black leather Tommy Hilfigers that I thought were really cool. Those got worn for the better part of two years, maybe three, until the sole was ground down to nothing. I was so proud of them that I put my feet on chairs during lectures to subtly show them off.
What's the point?
Before that, there were the endless pairs of running shoes that I told mom to pick and buy for me. They got worn for at least a year each -- some I outgrew and still wore, which my feet are now thanking me for.

So Little, So at the Bottom
Shoes didn't make sense to me. What was the point, I thought, in spending money on something at the bottom of one's body. Really, right at the bottom where no one would supposedly look. They also made up a very small proportion of the entire body that was visible to the world. Why spend any money on something so out of the way and so small?

The Revelation
At some point, something clicked with me. That was probably right before I hit my mid-20s after college -- it took that long. The seeds were likely laid when I was temping at a business where the dress code was business. For me, a low level grunt, it just meant collared shirt, slacks, and dress shoes. As a cheap, no shoe liking type person, I went for bargain basement leather shoes that were on sale: a brown leather pair with round toes. Those things had the worst sole and cushioning. Every step felt like walking with rocks strapped tight to my ankles. Every step send a shock up my legs. The ligaments in my knees ached whenever I walked long distances in those things.

Anyway, the point is that I switched out of those craptacular dress shoes into solid white running shoes whenever I left the office. I then joined the crowds on the streets and in the halls, all wearing relatively formal, business clothes. Something stood out in that crowd and it didn't take anyone to point it out for me. White running shoes with sort of business clothes above the rest. That felt weird. I can still picture one of those times in my head when it really hit me.

It didn't end there. I waited another half-year to really start thinking about matching shoes to outfits or just getting new shoes. They definitely weren't all winners. Some got shelved after a few months of intermittent use. And it took another few years to realize that my toes were hurting because I was getting my shoes one size too small. But I am now enlightened: shoes can indeed make or break an outfit. They can also send a message... Like a pair of red Converse shoes in an office one didn't really care for.

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