However, I have been — and only because I have to– shopping for shoes.
I hear you rolling your eyes. Ms. Crisis in Denim finds shoe shopping suuuuch a choooore. She’d rather have root canal or, worse, watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.
But it’s true. And broken heart aside, of all the shopping there is to be done, shoe shopping is probably about third on my list of favorites. And for reasons I’m about to outline below, shoe shopping is quickly dropping further down the list.
See, I realized soon after moving to New York that almost my entire shoe wardrobe is inappropriate for the city. I walk about a third of a mile to get to the subway in the morning, and about that same distance from the subway to my office. I do that same walk home. In there somewhere I climb four steep flights of stairs. I walk to buy lunch. I walk to the gym. I walk to the wine shop. It is the life many New Yorkers lead.
I know it’s good for you and all. Recent figures show New Yorkers can expect to live an average of nine months longer than their counterparts in other cities, and many scientists attribute this to the amount, and speed, New Yorkers walk.
But even though I have never been a fan of three-inch stilettos, over the past few years I’ve accumulated some much-beloved pairs of shoes and boots with kitten heels. (Even the name kitten heel makes me purr with delight.) My favorites are Jeffrey Campbell open-toe slingbacks (they’re so cute, I have them in black with patent leather trim, and gold with bronze trim. ). On the first warm day, I slipped them on, eagerly.
Wrong. By the time I had tottered all the way to the subway, I wanted to fling the shoes on the tracks.
Plus, many of my shoes with heels are tighter in the toes, and in the last few years, the genes of my grandma Orshokovsky have taken control of my feet, leaving me with unmistakeable bunions. When I wear heels these days, even low heels, my feet throb.
And let’s not even talk about my favorite find of last winter that I will probably have to give away— a pair of little zip up booties by the brand– wait for it– Fergalicious, by Fergie. Sigh. The heels are low, but they’re also thin. I work on a college campus paved in charming brick and cobblestone.
All I need is to be the new girl who gets her heel caught between two charming cobblestones and goes flying down the college walk.
So, I made a resolution.
From now on, it’s all flats, all the time.
This should be easy, right? Flats are in style.
Nuh uh. Here’s what happens when you go to a store looking for flats.
The only shoes you like at all, have high heels. In fact, you find yourself drawn to four-inch platforms, spiky pumps, wedge espadrilles. Anything but flats. At Nordstrom a few weeks ago, I went looking for brown sandals.
The patient saleslady brought me pair after pair of practical Merrel’s, Dansko’s, Clark’s. All undeniably comfortable. Yet, I felt as though they had been designed especially to make this recently-dumped thirtysomething with bunions feel like an old lady.
I settled finally on a pair of Steve Madden gladiator sandals, relatively stylish with a very low wedge heel. The stiff leather thong between my toes did cause a cut that got infected and took three weeks to heal, but hey, you can’t have everything.
I know I could wear sneakers to work, then change at my office. Remember Working Girl? But, pssst— no one really does that anymore. Plus, my new co-workers don’t seem to like me very much, which means I spend most of my day in my cubicle alone, with my feet tucked under my desk. Hardly worth lugging an extra pair of shoes.
So about once a week I go through my shoe wardrobe longingly. Sometimes I even start my morning putting on my heels. I get as far as my front door. Sometimes, as far as the elevator. But inevitably I retreat home, open my shoe closet, and slip on some flats. I’ll try tomorrow, I tell myself.
After all, tomorrow is another day.