Shoes: A History

I have always loved shoes. My first real shoe memory is a pair of kelly green patent leather Mary Janes my grandmother bought for me at a shoe store in Joplin, MO. What I loved about them was that they were different from the basic black ones most little girls wore. I paired them with a white pique cotton dress that had pink, yellow and green flowers on it. My shoe obsession only intensified from there.

I remember, fondly, my purple Chuck Taylors, cordovan Aigner flats, burgundy penny loafers (in which I placed Canadian dimes), chocolate Topsiders, white ballet flats (worn to various high school dances), Aigner pumps in every color made, Candie’s mules in natural leather, metallic red penny loafers, high-top Chuck Taylors, high-top Reeboks and more. The list goes on and on.

As children, my sister and I were allowed one pair of shoes per school year. To me, this was cruel and unusual punishment. My grandfather would take us to the Bass Weejun store in the Park Crest Shopping Center to select our shoes. My grandfather understood the importance of good shoes for growing feet and was willing to pay the price for my sister and I to have good shoes. Problem was that I could only have one pair. Since my feet were narrow my choices were limited. I had to wear them until I outgrew them or they wore out, which never happened. Usually by the first day of school I’d changed my mind about the style and complained I needed something different. That never happened. It wasn’t until I got to high school and received a pair of Topsiders that I actually wore a pair of shoes to their death. Even after my beloved Topsiders got a hole in the side, I continued to wear them.

When I got my first real adult job, I needed to dress professionally but still be comfortable. If working in a clothing store wasn’t bad enough for me, the worst thing was the Plaza Shoe Store next door. I went over every day on my lunch break to look at the shoes. It was there I discovered the 80s classic mid-heel pump by Etienne Aigner. I had every color – brown, black, navy and cream – and wore them every day to work. I felt so chic!

Over time my love for shoes has only increased. When I gained weight and couldn’t find clothes that I liked, I bought shoes. When I lost weight and celebrated my new figure, I bought shoes. When I got my first A in Metals class, I celebrated with shoes (burgundy velvet tennis shoes by Diesel, which I still own). For Christmas last year Steve bought me, you guessed it, shoes. And with this upcoming trip to the shoe market in Vegas I’m searching for the right shoes to wear so I look chic and classy but feel comfortable. I’ll keep you posted.

Footnote (pun intended): I wore really plain shoes on my wedding day. Weird, huh?

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