Why don’t you like my shoes?

I am not great with clothes shopping.  As I have mentioned before, shopping bundles together being fat and being old and being cheap into a tense, ugly ball of being miserable, effectively blotting out the pleasure of getting new stuff.

You’d think shoe shopping would be different–easier, simpler, less emotionally fraught.   You don’t even have to look in the mirror.  But somehow, I make it difficult.  I don’t know how it is, but all the shoes I come home with are just so dang stupid.

The one exception is what I was wearing today, when I took three kids for their well-child check ups.  I then drove three kids right back home again when seemingly-well child #3 threw up on previously-well children numbers 1 and 2 in the doctor’s parking lot.  Then I went to the supermarket to pick up something nice and bland for supper.  So here’s those shoes:

Moderately cute, aren’t they?  They’re fairly comfortable, they go click-click-click, which makes me feel brisk and capable, and they were only $3 at Target.  Believe it or not, these are my dressiest dress shoes, as well as my go-to footwear when dragging nauseated children around town.

Next, I present the shoes I actually squealed about (in my head) when I found that they were my size. They cost ten whole dollars.  For someone who generally shops at stores called things like “Ye Kingdom of Consign-a-lot,” these were a downright frivolous purchase.

Especially when I got home and remembered that I recently made another frivolous purchase:  a bright green purse.  To go with my bright red shoes.  Fa la la la la!

Next:  my comfortable, expensive sandals which do a good shoe’s job of making me forget that I’m wearing them:  my trusty old non-deluxe Tevas.

Or Teva, because I can only find one.

These next ones are the shoes I wore on my recent one-day hiking spree, because I couldn’t find my other Teva:

Can’t you see how malevolent they are?  I don’t know how they got into my house, but when I put them on, it looks like someone was angry at my feet.  “Take that!   Grrrrrrr, here’s some webbing with big, ugly stictching, and arrrrrr, here’s some rigid hunks of rubber.  I’ll teach you to have ten little toes and flexible skin!”  Worst blisters ever.  Seriously, they even made my eight-year-old son avert his eyes, and he really, really likes gross stuff.

Here is another shoe of mine.  I think you can see why it’s single:

I bet her partner never even took the time to see if she has a great personality.  Poor dear.  Now she’ll have to go join the shoe convent on the porch, where spinsters spend their lives praying for the soles of others.

And finally:

I guess these are shoes?  I don’t know.  Where did they come from, and how did they get so dirty?

My husband thinks I should also talk about my boots.  He doesn’t mean the black Gloria Vanderbilt shoe-boots I bought with a gift certificate 12 years ago.   They look something like this:

except they have crescent-shaped toenail holes in the tops, because I can never find socks, and they are shaped less like footware and more like a pair of venerable potholders.  I like them because they are black.  Also, there are two of them, which matches my feet.

But it turns out my husband meant something he laughingly referred to as my “work boots.”  I don’t know what’s so damn funny about that.  I can’t take a picture of them, because I put them in a bag marked “Salv Army,” and I have to leave them in the back of the car for a few years before I can take them out and wear them again.

But you know what?  I have a problem here.  I bought a pair of shoes.  They are SO CUTE.  They are the cutiest, wootiest shoes you ever saw.  I wear them a lot, and they fit, they’re in season . . . I don’t know.  For some reason, I guess I halfway expect people to burst into applause whenever I walk up in them.  I mean, they have silver wingtip-style toe caps!  But, at the same time, they’re heelless for that carefree spring in your step in the happy, happy springtime!  But they have a nice big elastic band so they don’t fall off!  They are the perfect shoe.  Actually, they slide around a bit, but that is totally my fault, not the shoes’ fault.  My fault.

Just look at these shoes!


Aw hell,  you wouldn’t understand.



  1. “Now she’ll have to go join the shoe convent on the porch, where spinsters spend their lives praying for the soles of others.”

    Coffee right through the nose on that one! Which is a nice way to start the day, so thank you for that.

    And if you came traipsing up to me in that last pair, I would totally and immediately say, “CUUUUUUUUUUUTE SHOES!” And I love your click-click heeled ones, too.

    • Abby, it always shocks me when I notice I’m acting like a female. I don’t think we really strike people as the type to think about our shoes, but I guess it comes out one way or another.

  2. That opener about the ‘tense, ugly ball of miserable’ was perfect prose to read, but depressing to reflect upon. Let me introduce you to a site that will change your life.

    Are you ready?


    Literally gazillions of shoes. Searchable with a million filters, not just color and size. Amazing, prompt service, reliable and easy returns. Sales all the time. And best of all – its online. No schlepping. No waiting for service. No ball of miserable.

    I swear to you, they don’t employ me. This is just one girl to another here. Get shoppin’.

    • Does Zappos have cheap shoes? I have one pair I bought from them to wear to a wedding years ago. I haven’t worn them since, but fully intend to – someday! somewhere! Until last winter (when I bought some very expensive, totally practical, wore-them-EVERY-day winter boots), they were the most expensive shoes I had ever bought.
      BUT, Zappos was very easy to deal with. I bought 2 nearly identical pairs, and had absolutely no trouble returning the pair I didn’t keep. I even think it was free to return them (through the mail)!

      • Depends what you mean by cheap. They can sort by price too, so you can view only the reasonable deals. (And if you want to go high end, you can do that too, of course)

        There used to be one section that was specific to sales, but it looks like they’ve done a re-design of the site and I can’t find it.

        And yes, it is free to return in the mail – they send you the prepaid sticker in the box the shoes come in, and you just reseal the package and drop it off at any UPS.

        Listen to me. They really oughtta hire me, you know?! I’m shilling for them. But I do love Zappos.

  3. I totally noticed those silver-trimmed shoes on Sunday and was coveting them a little bit. They ARE cute!

    The first pair with the buckles are adorable also, but the bright red sandals…bold, beautiful…oooolala!

    I just bought a new pair of shoes…pewter colored leather with a cute button on the front….I’m proud of those, too!

  4. Years ago my sister an I had the following exchange concerning the new tennis shoes I was wearing…

    Kris: Where’d you get the dorky shoes, man?

    Bob: Hey, these shoes only cost me $13.

    Kris: It looks like it.

    On an unrelated note, my daughters ask me every night if we can play “Excuses.”

    Best excuse so far: “I was at Daily Mass. That’s why I was late yesterday, too.”

    Worst excuse so far: “I died.”

  5. I like cute shoes in theory, but in reality I have Fred Flintstone feet that look ridiculous in anything dainty or strappy. I am still wearing a pair of Birkenstocks that I bought in the early 90s: they are comfortable, conducive to running after toddlers, and they contain the always-swollen monstrosities that are attached to my ankles. I’ve heard recently that wearing Birkenstocks might immediately lead to questions about the wearer’s sexuality, but since I’m not really in the market for a new man anyway I guess it doesn’t matter. I like my sandals and I won’t give them up.

  6. I, too, have Flintstone feet. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a pair of shoes that was immediately comfortable, and most of the time I have to go through an agonising month-long breaking in process. I used to wear Docs. Now I have small children, Docs take too long, and I think my goth cred may have vanished. I wear Blundstones in every season but summer, and in summer I wear functional sandals.

    I watch other women prancing around in beautiful shoes, and wonder if everyone else has a high pain threshold than I do, or if my feet are just deformed.

  7. Sim – didn’t you have some shoes that you loved when we lived in Boothbay? And didn’t you get them for free for helping the owner paint the shoe store or something? Mootsie Tootsies…? The top picture reminded me of those.

    I love the red sandals! I was just telling myself today that I need some red shoes! Very sassy! : )

    • Aw, yeah! I remember those shoes. I remember making that business deal, too. The guy goes, “So, if you paint this sign, we’ll give you any pair of shoes you want, and–” and I said, “Okay!” before, I realized later, he could say the part about how much money he would give me. So I just got the shoes. But I did like them!

  8. SO funny bc my son was just telling me at supper tonite that I’m the only woman he knows that’s never owned more than 3 pairs of shoes at a time. I had to laugh & told him I took that as a compliment bc it always seemed like such a waste to me to have a whole closet full of shoes. WHO cares? At least not me & my dh…but then, I’ve always felt the same way re: jewlery & other foufou stuff.
    So I was happy to read this post tonite & I showed it to my son too!

  9. This post makes me want to drink. I share all your shopping difficulties from being fat and old and broke (oh, wait, you said “cheap”) and yet shoe shopping is even more miserable. I haven’t owned a cute pair of shoes since I was a pre-teen, i.e. the last time my shoe size was under 12. Nobody ever has anything in my size. When they do they cost $300 and look like clown shoes when you enlarge the size-five display model to fit me. I actually found a couple stores online that have a few cute shoes in my size; then I realized that their main customer base is drag queens.

    Anyway, I just had to say that I am SO JEALOUS of all your cute shoes!

    • Jen, I had some super favorite shoes in college. I was really proud of my fashion sense, and wore them very proudly. One day, as I was strolling downtown, I thought to myself, “Hey, that lady is wearing my same shoes!” And then I thought, “Hey, that’s not actually a lady!” Trusted my fashion sense less after that.

  10. Brisk and capable! Yes! I know that feeling of the click-clicking shoes. Perfect description. It’s about the only thing that makes me feel brisk and capable, except perhaps when I successfully execute a perfect multi-tasking Swoop of moves in the kitchen .

    I share your feelings about shopping.
    1. I’m a pear, not a person, at least when it comes to clothes. Have been since I was 13. Doesn’t matter if I’m 98 pounds or 180 (I’ve been both). How sick is it that I actually didn’t mind (well, not TOO much) when I first started putting on weight around the middle in my late 30’s, just because it made it ever so slightly easier to find bottoms? Bust size 10, waist 12, hip 16 is at least a better ratio than the one-time bust 6-8, waist size 6-8, hip size 14.
    2. I’m tall, but not TALL. Too tall for many regular clothes, too short for Tall Girl.
    3. My feet are a perfect size 10-and-a-half. Tens are too small and tight. Somehow 11’s feel huge and wide. Look up sizes available in women’s shoes: 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 11. Do you notice a number missing?

    It’s a conspiracy. I know it.

  11. Yeah, fat, getting old, cheap…and I have the small feet problem. As in too big for kids shoes, too small for grown womens. Pain in my a** (sometimes, my foot wear causes that kind of pain literally). Considering Zappos… anyhow, my husband felt bad last summer when he picked up my only pair of sneakers (purchased six years ago) and found they had holes in the bottom and went out and bought be some Reeboks. I am coveting some of those Shape-Up shoes by Sketchers now because I run after so many kids, if my butt got toned in the process, that would be helpful…and may cause more kids. I know, TMI. BTW, I love the last pair of shoes.

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