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2017-06-14 / Loose Ends

Sole Request

The search for shoe love
By Susan Nienow

“How much extra are the shoes with arch support?” I whispered to the shoe salesman. “They have to be cute and have about a 1-inch heel with…” I let my voice trail off as I watched the salesman shake his head.

“Cute?” he echoed. I nodded my head. They had to be cute and give my feet good support. And not look like old lady shoes. Apologies to anyone out there who considers herself an old lady. I don’t, although at times – well, never mind about that.

Recalling shoe-buying excursions with one of my kids can bring on nightmares. He always wanted the latest and greatest, even if they cost as much as a small car and didn’t fit his foot. We finally gave up and let him buy what he wanted with his own money covering the difference between what we would pay and what he wanted.

That didn’t last too long, as he found other things to spend his money on besides shoes. But I now know what he was feeling. I get that desperate sensation when I enter a shoe store. It is always a disappointment.

I can find athletic shoes that feel good, but they don’t say much for my sense of chic at a wedding or when I go out to dinner. Apparently cute and classy are mutually exclusive with arch support and structure. The shoe engineers need to know the challenge is out there, and that a tsunami of baby boomer women is aimed their way.

My other half will even help me haunt the discount shoe stores for anything that looks both classy and sturdy. Either he doesn’t want me to wear athletic shoes everywhere we go, or he thinks my mood will improve if I find shoes I like.

Sometimes shoe designers try to substitute huge soles for sturdy ones. Just because the shoe won’t bend doesn’t mean it is sturdy or safe. The last pair of platform shoes I wore, I fell off of. I hate it when my shoes make a spectacle of me. That pair had a narrow 3-inch wedge heel, while the front of the shoe was on a 1-inch platform. It was the last pair of narrow heels I bought.

Full-service shoe stores don’t generally have what I want either. The sales people blanch when I say “arch support.” I am not looking for sturdy stilettos. In fact, I have never worn heels higher than 2 inches. I just want a shoe that is still comfortable after I am on my feet for hours.

Of course, sturdy shoes with a little cuteness are generally pricey, but since there are so few to choose from, I don’t buy many. My shoe rack is full of “sit-down” shoes. Great for a short walk from the car to the house and an evening of cards, but not so great for an afternoon of shopping.

I do need a pair of semi-dressy, go-everywhere black shoes. Want to go shoe shopping with me?

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