In Those Shoes…

There are a lot of unpleasant things I’ve been willing to do throughout my life in the name of beauty. I’ve been burned by hair irons, squeezed into corsets, had skin ripped off from hot wax, I’ve had my face extracted, my eyebrows violently tweezed, and done countless other insane things…but I will not wear uncomfortable shoes.

It’s not just heels, it’s all shoes. I’ve worn sneakers that were like torture devices. I have a pair of Vans that are so painful whoever designed them must have forgotten what feet look like. I carry moleskin (this is a must have, I swear!) in my purse at all times because I’m so terrified that my shoes might start to rub and I’ll be completely miserable the rest of the day.

When my feet hurt, I transform into a whiny three-year old. In fact, when I was three I complained about my shoes (also my socks and underwear) constantly screaming “I can feel them!” apparently even my toddler-self didn’t believe I should have my comfort impeded by something sitting on my body.

I have long envied women who can wear heels. I however am happiest barefoot, so it takes me a long time to find any footwear that is comfortable whilst not looking orthopedic, and maybe even cute. I can’t even stand flip-flops anymore—I don’t know how people can walk around with a thing between their toes. I know this makes me crazy, I know it presents many challenges in pulling off a lot of fashions, but it’s something I’ve tried time and time again to change about myself, and it ain’t happening.

I like to walk, which is the real reason I need comfy shoes. I make my feet take me places, and I figure since they’re doing so much work, it’s only fair to give them a comfortable house. I’m also harder on shoes than anyone else I know. I have a pair of Frye boots that I got in October, by the following January holes had completely worn through the soles—and these are tough shoes. When I brought them to the shoemaker to save them, he refused to believe the hole was just from walking, or that I hadn’t had them for several years already, he put on an extra rubber sole without even asking, and I was grateful. I can destroy a pair of shoes in less than a quarter of the time it takes most people. I don’t know if it’s the way I walk or that if I have a pair of comfy shoes I just wear them until they literally disintegrate, either way it is essential that I buy well made shoes and be nice to my shoemaker.

I never really felt the need for heels. At 5 foot 6 my height was one of the few parts of myself I never had a problem with, it’s just right. I think those chunky shoes that were big during my adolescence spoiled me in terms of comfort and balancing ability when it came to high shoes. Remember those chunky 90’s shoes? I think I may have to do a whole post on 90’s fashion. Anyway, for example, the Steve Madden’s I wore to my junior high school prom (or as they called it in our school the “promotion dance”).

Yes folks, that’s embossed velvet, this was during my goth phase. Maybe one day I’ll let you see the dress, it was from Religious Sex, a great shop that used to be on St. Marks Place in the village, sadly gone now. These were actually pretty comfy, all those 90’s clunky shoes were, unfortunately they were mostly pretty ugly too.

For most of elementary school and all of jr. high and high school I wore Converse in the summer and in the winter Doc Martens (below are my favorites, which I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with). That was it, done. No more worry about shoes. Then, I grew up, and people started expecting me to wear “real” shoes.

I had no idea what shoes to wear in the corporate world, nothing but heels ever seems to look right with a suit or business attire. My mother bought me a pair of brown Cole Haan pumps when I first started interviewing after graduation, they hurt so bad that I could barely manage to get through a 15 minute interview sitting down in them. After several more interviews I was wearing Børn flats and feeling far more comfortable and confident.

As I sit here I am waiting for a package from Zappos to arrive that contains a new pair of sandals. They’re actually made for children, but they have adult sizes too, come to think of it, all my favorite shoes are also available for kids—hmm, does that say something? Cute though right? And practical for me at the beach, you can get them wet!

Now that you’ve read all about my inability to handle adult footwear, here’s the twist. You will now see (if you didn’t already know) how crazy I am, because these are my wedding shoes.

You’re probably thinking, “what the hell is wrong with this girl? If she can’t wear flip-flops how is she going to pull off a 4 inch heel?” Well you’re probably right, but aren’t they so pretty? I should explain that I’m wearing a tea length 50s style dress, and my head-piece will have a purple birdcage veil and purple feathers, so these are totally appropriate (at least for me!). In fact the dress just didn’t look as good with anything but a heel, unfortunately it’s the style of dress I’ve always loved and found flattering on myself, so you see? I had no choice. I am planning to get a pair of flats for dancing, but for that walk down the aisle, well, let’s just say I’m glad that I’ll be flanked by my parents, who I hope will hold me up. Maybe if I wear killer heels on my wedding day, I’ll never have to wear another pair again! Who knows, but I will have to start practicing my walk in these babies soon, and I’m quite certain they don’t make them in kids sizes (except maybe for Suri Cruise) I guess that makes me an official grown-up.

I know some of you out there love to wear heels, so tell me, do you not get blisters? How do you handle it? Am I weird, is there a trick to it or something? Let me know, I really need help!

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “In Those Shoes…

  1. I don’t know the trick either. I can’t last five minutes in heels. I have some, and I sometimes put them on and look at myself in the mirror. And then I take them off again, put on some sandals, and go out.

    I appreciate this post a lot, since I always wonder if I’m the only person in the world with feet this sensitive.

    • Justine

      I do that too, I put one of my few pairs of heels and walk around the house for five minutes thinking “that’s not so bad” and then once I take them off it’s like “thank god I don’t have to have those horrible things on my feet anymore!”

      It’s making me feel better to realize that heels hurt for everyone, some people are just better at dealing with it!

  2. Megan

    You are such a biter.

    But yes, I am the same, I can’t really abide uncomfortable shoes no matter how much I would like to be able to go everywhere in sky scraping heals.

    • Justine

      I’ve been wanting those sandals a long time missy! I just hope they get here soon. I’m scared they send me the toddler size, I am obsessively checking the UPS tracking.

  3. haren

    How am I going to hold you up when I’m going to wear heels too? I hate heels. Your wedding is so important to me that I am going to try for that one day.

  4. lizzy

    oh my god! JUSTINE! for years i’ve looked at those same saltwater sandals online and thought about buying them!!! thats so wierd!! you have to tell me how they are, maybe i’ll take the plunge.
    you know i can’t handle uncomfortable shoes either, but i have to say wedge heels are SOOO much easier to handle. also you should try dansko clogs if you don’t think they’re too frumpy. horse people wear them, but they might be too much for long beach. i like them in bad weather bc they have a really thick sole.

    • Justine

      I think we saw them in a store together once and I didn’t buy them and always regretted it!

      Are you kidding? My Marguerite Dansko clogs are so destroyed from me wearing them all the time that I have to take them to the shoemaker to spruce them up, they look awful right now. They might look frumpy to some, but I like to pretend they have a 60s look about them.

      I’ve been very impressed by your ability to wear wedges, I still can’t manage them, my feet won’t allow it!

  5. Ohhhh, your wedding shoes are bee-yoo-ti-ful! Love, love, love a good purple peep-toe.

    Ok, so I am a heel lover and I am here to tell you: There is no secret. There are a variety of tricks (the best of which are: have your shoe guy put a rubber sole on the bottom of these for a little extra cushion, rub Body Glide, like what runners use, all over your feet first to minimize friction/blisters, take a few advil before you wear ’em and then have a cocktail to dull the pain). BUT they will mostly work via placebo effect and they will not be permanent solutions. Your feet will hurt. Because we’re just not meant to walk around with our arches propped up that high.

    But it’s your wedding day. You’re going to be so effing happy, you just won’t care. (I’m not lying — I wore very similar heels to my wedding and I know they hurt after awhile and I switched to my cute flats, but for the life of me, I cannot remember the pain in any meaningful way!) Also, if there was ever a day to just say, “these are amazing and beautiful and I want to wear them even if they hurt so I can enjoy their amazingness,” well, your wedding day would be it!

    • Justine

      Thanks Virginia! I love my wedding shoes, and you’re right, that was exactly my logic, if there is any day to wear beautiful, fabulous shoes it’s going to be my wedding day!

      Wow, next time I attempt to wear heels (which will probably be at my wedding) I’m going to heed your advice! It actually makes me feel SOO much better to know it’s painful for everyone, because usually I give up because I think it’s just got to be that there is something wrong with me, knowing the truth, I should be able to suck it up for a little while, in the name of fashion!

  6. lizzy

    Do you think its painful for Sarah Jessica Parker? B/c shes always RUNNING in them. I think some people’s feet are made for heels and some aren’t.

    • Megan

      I am very very sad to say, the super expensive shoes that SJP wears are actually more comfortable. I have one pair of (very worn) Louboutins and they feel like they are 2 inch heels when they are actually 3 1/2 inches. Definitely easier to run in than ill fitting Nine West shoes from Marshalls. I sincerely wish this weren’t true because it only makes me covet $800 shoes all the more.

  7. oh my god, I can’t wear flip flops. 1) they gross me out and 2) I always trip when I wear them! And I can’t wear heels either 😦 Even though I try and fail. I’m working on the wedges thing, but we’ll see how that goes. And then I see girls on the street who can’t do it, and picture myself as that girl and totally go back to flats.

  8. sara

    i was the same with shoes and socks when i was a kid. i’d complain about the seams on my socks and it would drive my mom nuts.

    i only wear flip flops or sneakers anymore. i have one pair of heels but hate them.

    i really like your wedding shoes! and your dress and head-piece sound awesome.

  9. oliveit

    BEST WEDDING SHOES EVER!

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