I’ve always been partial to shoes that strongly resemble the shape of the human foot. Men’s shoes have traditionally come closer in this regard than women’s. In our particular cultural cul-de-sac, women’s shoes are often not considered stylish if they conform to the shape of the foot. Thus, many stylish shoes look as if they have been designed for alien appendages. Research now demonstrates that feet become shaped like the shoes that hold them.
I consider myself fortunate. My mom scrimped on other things to shod her daughters in sturdy, sensible Buster Browns. Some of the first shoes I remember buying for myself were Earth Shoes – sensible, sensual shoes I would argue – that I continue to purchase and wear some 4 decades later! I also consider myself fortunate that my choice of career path (non-corporate) and lifestyle (relaxed rural) freed me from the panty-hose and heels ordeal that many of my friends had to endure. A third lucky stroke, my birth year, ensured that I would have many more choices in shoe styles other than the much maligned “comfortable shoes” or the 7″ stilettos-on-steroids of previous generations.
With one exception – the full-on gala – I now have what I call sensible, sensual shoes for every occasion. I define these sensible, sensual shoes as footwear that bears close resemblance to my bare feet and is also pleasing to my senses. They feel good, look good (to me especially), sound good in motion and smell good! Sensible, sensual shoes also perform whatever service I require of them – support for walking or working, insulation from the elements, protection for the 26 bones, 33 joints and 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments that make up the foot. I can work, walk and relax in the same pair of shoes. I don’t have to change into a different pair for every different activity. I think the primary appeal of my shoes should be to me, the wearer. Looking good (sexy?) to others is icing on the cake. Shoes that merely look sexy should be relegated to fantasy play. I disagree with the late Marilyn Monroe who reportedly said, “I don’t know who invented the high heel, but all women owe him a lot.”
So what shape are your bare feet now after a few decades of footwear? And do any of you have a suggestion for sensible, sensual shoes appropriate for a gala?