I have a bit of a problem, and even I didn’t realize how bad it was until I started taking pictures for this post. The fact that I’m nervous to show how many shoes I bought this summer means that I probably am, truly, a fetishist.
Confession: I’m always looking for the perfect shoe.
Confession: I know there is really no one perfect shoe. So I buy many, hoping they’ll be perfect for all different occasions.
I love shoes. And this summer, I’ve binged. Gorged, is more like it. Mostly on flip flops. Sandals are definitely my favorite kind of shoe, so they make up most of my collection. The problem with sandals, though, is that they are not always comfortable. Sandals help your foot feel free during the hot summer, but the straps that scratch and rub make my hormones kind of freak out. Bad shoes make me angry.
Another problem in finding a shoe is that I have a lot of demands. It has to be comfortable, easy to slip on, neutral enough to be worn with multiple outfits, and have a little bit of snazz.
Putting a shoe on in a store is nothing like walking through the city in it. You don’t really get to know a shoe until you’ve gone up the stairs, slipped into it on your way out the door, driven, stood, jogged a bit to catch up. Then you know what that shoe is made of. And you have to decide whether to stick with it or not, or buy another pair. (I’m realizing that this seemingly innocent fetish of mine really does say a lot about me. Hmm.)
It’s a lot like dating, you see. A shoe can look pretty on the outside, seem adorable and well made, but you get it home and see the weakened stitches, feel the weight of it pulling you down, its hard edges and clunkiness. You don’t mind taking it out for a drink once in a while, but it gets shoved to the back of the closet, to be forgotten about until the following year, when you say, “Oh. You. Hmph.”
I’m not on the real dating scene anymore, but I will certainly always be shoedating.
Here are just the shoes I’ve bought this summer. They are all special in their own way, but in other ways, they don’t measure up. I’ve included why I bought them, how many times I’ve worn them, and perhaps the most important—the reason I buy so many—cost.
(And to my husband: Honey, I’m sorry you have to see me like this.)
1. The Classic Black Flip Flop.
I bought these early in the summer when my feet were yearning for warm weather, and because I decided I needed a simple, all black flip flop. I have a pair that are black on the bottom but have white straps with green and rusty red designs. They’re cute, but seem even less dressy than the classic black, if you can imagine.
I later realized that while comfortable, my feet and legs are a little too white for such stark black. Further, this would be a nicer flip flop if the strap were thinner. I almost bought the perfect pair on sale last week, but even I have limits.
Total wear: 2 or 3 times. Cost: $10
2. Faux Fancy Birkenstock.
While I have a shoe fetish, it does tend to veer toward cheap shoes. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to own a house. I would love to own a pair of real Birkenstocks, but after splurging last year on two pairs of Naots that I inevitably didn’t like, I decided I couldn’t buy a real pair of Birkenstocks. I settled on these, from Target. I liked that they had the Birkenstock look, that they were low-key but had a bit of bronze to dress it up.
They’re not that comfortable, unfortunately.
Total wear: More than 10 times. Cost: $17
3. The Neutral-But-Not-Neutral Sandal
Again, I do have some standards, so I tend to buy shoes that match with pretty much everything. It goes without saying that in winter, you need a brown and black pair of boots and clogs. I’d love a pair of red scuffed clogs, but they don’t go with everything, and they cost about $125 (best brand: Sanita), so I have to feel like I really deserve them. I’m out of work right now, so I probably don’t.
The sandals above are cute. In fact, I saw them on One Crafty Mother at BlogHer. They seem to go well with jeans or jean capris, a brown skirt, etc. But they are green and brown, and if you’re wearing a pink top, of which I have many, no go. So they haven’t gotten too much use. Also, my feet slip out of them too easily. I’ve almost tripped several times.
Total wear: 3 or 4 times. Cost: $12
4. Classic Beige Flip Flop.
The best thing this flip flop has going for it is that it’s comfortable as hell. Or heaven, rather. I can slip my foot in and feel like I’m not wearing anything, which is kind of what I look for. On top of that, it’s beige, so goes with…. You said it. Everything.
But while the little diamond studs are cute, they’re still little diamond studs. I’d much prefer a nice, simple beige strap. I saw a pair of those on a woman in the mall. But I just…can’t…buy those. Why? Keep reading.
Total wear: At least 20 times. Cost: $12
5. Chunky Brown Flip Flop
These are great flip-flops. I bought them on our couple-moon over Memorial Day. They’re Tevas, which is a great brand. They have a little heel which is good for short people like me. I love the blue paisley design, and they definitely feel like a grown-up, dressed up flip flop.
They’re brown. So they have to go with brown things. And if you’re wearing bright green? No go.
Total wear: 15 times. Cost: $30
6. Hippie Flip Flop
These were an impulse buy from Target because they were on the clearance rack. I put my feet into them and they felt soooo cushy. They’re also colorful and casual—a nice way to spice up (or hippify) a plain outfit. If I were going to a folk festival, I’d definitely wear them. And then I’d hop around with strangers and hold hands.
Though they’d probably fall off. The problem is, there’s very little arch support, so in essence, not as comfortable as they at first seemed.
Total wear: 3 times. Cost: $5
I love the look of these. They are classy and elegant, but can also dress up an outfit. I bought them because they’re Aerosoles, so I thought they’d be comfortable, but a lot of walking and standing is not recommended. The first night I wore them to teach, I regretted it. The stiff straps punished my pinky toes. The next time I wore them to dinner, though, and they felt great! I kind of wish I had more occasions to wear them. I could wander around my house with a clothes hamper on my hip and these sexy shoes, but I’d probably break my neck.
Total wear: 2 times. Cost: $39
I bought these because I thought they’d be uber-comfortable for me to walk around New York City at the BlogHer conference. I was wrong. I have weird heels, or something, so any shoe that rubs agains the spot where my calve meets my foot is inevitably a goner. I hate having to wear band-aids to put on a shoe. (See why I have so many flip-flops?) I put these on for a few-block walk and actually ended up taking them off and walking in my bare feet toward my destination. (To be honest, walking around the Upper East Side in my bare feet was kind of liberating.)
I haven’t touched them again. I may give them another shot as long as I have a box full of band-aids in my purse. Or socks.
Total wear: 1/2 time. Cost: $30
9. Dressy Black Semi-Heel
This kind of shoe is surely a necessity, and I have no regrets about buying it at TJ Maxx. There is support throughout the arch and heel for comfort, it’s shiny and snazzy enough for a sleek black dress, and it can dress up a more casual outfit. I wore these to a wedding and was comfortable all night.
I really need to go out more so I can wear this kind of shoe. Anybody want to be a babysitter? I can loan you some shoes as compensation….
Total wear: 1 time Cost: $29.99 (Not $30. Oh no.)
Bet you thought we were done. Nope.
10. Neutral Heel with a Little Pizazz
These are a steely/shiny grey, and they go great with capris, or jeans (I’m assuming), or a dress. They’re just delicious and pretty comfortable, too! I love Nine West stuff.
Total wear: 1 time. (Hoping for more. I have a birthday coming up.) Cost: $29.99
11. Black flat
I’ve been looking far and wide (okay, only in a 5 mile radius) for a black flat that doesn’t hurt as soon as I put it on. So much of the leather is thick and rubbery, and now you know, I have that heel thingamajigger to worry about. I knew that within minutes of trying most flats on, I’d be pulling them off and throwing them across the room.
But these, I bought last weekend. They’re made of faux suede and really pretty comfortable. It doesn’t hurt that they have little gold sparkles, either. I already wore them to the one party I went to this year, and I looked pretty hip, if I don’t mind saying so.
Total wear: 1 time. Cost: $17.99
So there you go. One summer. 11 pairs of shoes. $232.97.
But do you want to know a secret?
I have two more pairs of flip flops coming in the mail. (It’s the end of summer and they’re on sale and I wore a pair of my sister-in-law’s and they seem to fit all of my categories so that’s why I bought them!) Shh!
What are your favorite pair of shoes? Do you have a fetish? (Please only share if it’s G-rated.)
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