Sunday, July 21, 2013

Shoe Envy

I just got through reading an article in GQ about men's dress shoes that are made so well and look so great that they are an investment that will last a life time.

I'm jealous.

It doesn't matter what you're willing to pay for a woman's shoe.   It won't be made of "shell cordovan" like the Alden brand featured by GQ, which I now learn is "the most indestructible leather around...made from the butts of horses." Who knew?

Nor will it have welting that attaches the upper of the shoe to the sole with stitching and cement, not cheap glue. The Crockett & Jones cap-toe shoe touted by GQ is thus immune to puddles and can always be resoled. Resoling. What a quaint idea. I think there is one cobbler left in my town of 200,000 plus, and he's old. Very old.

Nope, the high-priced women's shoes that are the rage these days are best known  not for the quality of their construction but for how high they are and how uncomfortable. How you can barely walk in them, can't run in them or dance in them without seriously risking an ankle or taking a fall. How if you want to do any of those things--including just walking to work--you best wear sneakers or other versions of athletic shoes that are a good investment only if you're also buying stock in Nike.

No, I should, for a random example, pay $895 for Louboutin patent leather pumps with a 5 and1/2 inch heel and 2-inch platform because of their "distinctly sexy aesthetic" and "vibrantly lacquered red soles," according to an ad from Neiman Marcus. Nowhere does the ad tell me anything about the construction of the shoe or why it is worth nearly $1,000, because such questions, of course, have nothing to do with Fashion! And fashion is pain, oh yeah.

But for women, not men. It's such BS. I long for beautiful, well-made, comfortable shoes that are also stylish. I want elegant evening shoes I don't have to kick off so I can dance. They should have leather soles--not rubber or plastic like almost all women's shoes these days. I had an epiphany about high-heeled narrow shoes when I was about 13. I had bought yellow patent leather pointy-toed high heels to go with my new Easter outfit that Spring, and I walked several blocks to church in them that Easter morning. By the time I got back home, my feet were killing me. I swore never to do that to myself again, and, with rare exceptions, never have.

I can and do blame the designers because it really does seem that they are united in a deliberate, conscious effort to ruin women's feet while charging us outrageous prices. There's no question about the ruin-the-feet aspect of this--the orthopedists of America have been waging a campaign for years about the crippling effects of not only high-heeled shoes but also narrow-toed shoes.

I can and do blame the women's magazines and the models and women celebrities who set the example for girls and women trying hard to fit in and compete for male attention.

But we are not robots. We think. We make choices. And isn't it time for today's women leaders to, if you'll excuse the expression, take a stand on women's shoes? To say no, we won't sacrifice our feet, won't suffer bunions and foot surgery because of shoes designed by sadists and woman haters. Who will condemn the very idea that women should have a toe removed so they can fit into the unnatural shape of some shoes.

Meanwhile, I'm stuck with my envy and some very nice sandals and wedges that will never qualify me as a fashionista, but will keep me out of the operating room. What about you?

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