Everything you never wanted to know about my shoes

When this goes up, I’ll likely be in the midst of trying to get an hour or two of sleep in between my red eye flight back from Portland and dragging my sorry, jetlagged self to work (boooooo). Actually, I’m hoping I’m asleep at the moment and not dealing with a delayed flight/still trying to get home from Dulles, which might as well be in Canada for how far away from DC it is.

(I’ve learned a lot from this trip: mainly, Frontier sucks and will change your flights 12+ hours on you just a few days after you book them; it’s a good thing I have family in Denver since I didn’t originally have an overnight layover there; and also, the limit of how long it takes to get out to the suburb wasteland that is the Dulles airport does not exist. I already knew this but it was reinforced in the process of trying to figure out just how many hours I needed to leave before my flight on Thursday evening. The answer was four, for anyone wondering.)

So light, frivolous post it is!

I present to you a picture of my closet:

That’s a lot of shoes that I mainly only wear to work

That’s not a totally out of the ordinary picture, right? Well, what’s odd about this is that I do not give a single fuck about shoes, and that’s quite a few pairs of them. I am, however, secretly a six-year-old who really likes fun colors. That’s reflected in my wardrobe, my shoes included even if I couldn’t care less what goes on my feet. I figure if I’m going to have to spend a good chunk of my life sitting at a boring job, I might as well have fun with what I wear to that job. Colorful flats count as fun!

What’s also odd about this is that I’ve bought only a few of these shoes since I left college/became a working gal (and those were the sensible, neutral color flats since sadly a working gal needs some of those as well as the fun colors). Yep, that’s right, most of what are now my work flats date back from my college years (or the summer right after when I had to amass a professional wardrobe). And while I sometimes think I felt like I had more disposable income back then than I do now because I wasn’t paying for things like rent and internet, I was still a very broke college student. Which means that all of these shoes are cheap ones from Old Navy and Payless. Quantity over quality!

So, I’ve got a bunch of flats of questionable quality that are a few years old, and I wear my favorites/the most versatile ones on a pretty regular basis for 8 hours a day. Plus I walk to and from work. How is it these haven’t long since disintegrated into little shreds of cheap, colored faux suede?

My secret: these babies hardly ever see the light of day. I’ve got dedicated walking shoes (that I put through hell considering I average 5+ miles each day) that I wear to and from work, and whenever I go out for a walk during my morning/afternoon/lunch breaks. These flats never get dirty, muddy, wet, or salty (as we’ve got a very generous hand here when it comes to salting sidewalks in the winter). Hand to god, I had bird shit land on my shoes once while I was eating lunch on a bench under a tree. Those were not my work shoes! I put my flats on when I get to my desk, take them off if I’m going for a walk (most of the time, anyway), and pop them in my bag when I leave work for the day.

I didn’t actually think this was an earth-shattering or unusual revelation, but I see very few women (or men. This doesn’t just have to be for the ladies!) walking around in shoes that are obviously not the ones they’ll be wearing at work. So maybe this is not as obvious as I thought it was. Or maybe no one else prefers walking in shoes with actual arch support (or maybe they’ve all found non-frumpy work shoes with arch support. Everyone please tell me your secret in that case!). This just makes sense to me: if I only wear my work shoes for sitting at my desk and not for walking, they’ll last longer that way.

I can see people not wanting to ruin their carefully put-together work outfit by wearing some unsightly sneakers. After all, if I’m wearing my green flats on a particular day, there are probably little bits of green in my outfit that’ll pop when I add green shoes (I told you, I’m a six-year-old who really likes colors. See also this picture for an example of me rocking the red flats). That same outfit is not at its best when accompanied by a battered, boring, brown pair of shoes. We’re talking knock-offs of knock-offs of an expensive brand of boat shoes here, so they’re certainly not sexy.

But. I give zero fucks how my outfit looks on the way to work (and even if I did care, I’m usually in too much of a rush to get there on time to care anyway). What I do give a few fucks about (although just a few because we’re still talking shoes here) is extending the life of my work shoes and thus saving money by not having to buy new pairs. I think my flats are best served on my commute staying the bag I also use for carrying my lunch, water bottle, and cardigan, rather than on my feet, complimenting my outfit.

You’ll notice I kept referring to flats here, despite the fact that there are some heels living in my closet. Two things about those: a) I’m convinced a huge rite of passage for becoming a responsible adult woman is realizing that heels are just not worth it since it’s nigh on impossible to find ones that don’t hurt like hell halfway through the day (if you’re lucky and it’s not approximately as soon as you stand up). And b) about a year ago I…ahem, forgot how to walk down stairs one day at work, and happened to be wearing heels that day. Thanks to workers’ comp for covering that urgent care visit/X-rays! Sadly worker’s comp doesn’t fix “eh it’s only a minor sprain. But considering your ankles are already shit from the years you spent dancing, good luck with having now fucked up the ankle that didn’t routinely twinge from tendonitis!”

So now I only wear them for very special occasions, which is hardly ever, or on days I just feel like it, which is also hardly ever. However, I’m not getting rid of them. As a tall woman, I absolutely do love the power trip I get from wearing heels and towering over people, and I’m certainly not going to deprive myself of that experience!

Okay, so that was an entire post on my least-favorite sartorial topic. Tune in next time for how I feel about colored jeans!*

*No, just kidding. I love the one pair of colored jeans I have, but I’m not writing an entire goddamn post about them, especially since there’s no larger frugality-related theme I can work in there.

9 Replies to “Everything you never wanted to know about my shoes”

  1. Hope you manage a restful flight!

    I do the walking shoes vs. desk shoe thing. Otherwise my nice loafers would grind down in two months from the graveled sidewalks and chunks of salt in the winter.

    Regarding arch support, I slip in a super feet insole for all my non-sneaker shoes, changing out every six months to a year depending on frequency of use.

    1. It was not at all restful, unfortunately, but I did survive!

      Glad to hear someone else does the walking shoes/work shoes separation! Insoles are a good idea that I keep meaning to look into. I have a pair for my boots since I’ll wear those all day and they’re comfortable for lots of walking, but I should find something that fits into my flats.

  2. Makes sense. I have a pair of shoes I totally adored and used to protect by only wearing it at work. I had to B travel for work a few weeks ago so took them with me. They got stained and rather imperfect so I wear them everywhere now and feel pretty sad. When I replace them, the new pair will never be seen outside of my London office :p

    1. Oh no, having things get ruined after you work so hard to protect them is the worst feeling! Although maybe it’ll be nice to have a good pair and a stained pair so you can have a pair you can wear everywhere without having to worry about them anymore.

      Thanks for reading, LT!

  3. I love colors too, and wish I had more colorful shoes, but it just isn’t worth it to buy them in the first place, no matter how few dollars are spent, because I give maybe one single fuck about shoes. Your red ones (&the outfit they went with) are adorable!

    This is definitely something I should do… but honestly I have 2 pairs of shoes that I wear 99% of the time. Black tall boots (a Christmas gift 2 years ago), and black flats ($10 at Goodwill). They both have decent support, and I wear them all day long, to work, at desk, lunchtime, and home. At home is slipper time. As long as I keep replacing them with equally hardy pairs when they wear out (every 4-5 years or so) I should be ok.

    1. Thank you, and yay, a fellow color-lover! Also I’ve been meaning to tell you that I LOVE the scarf in your picture!

      Hah I do the thing where I fall in love with something and then want to replace it with the exact same thing, so from my perspective you’re playing a dangerous game there! 😉 But other than that (and the fact that I’d have to have a brown pair and a black pair of boots and flats. Can’t mix neutrals! Yes, I’m ridiculous) your shoe strategy makes total sense!

  4. I’ve just found your blog from Angela’s Tread Lightly blog (women FI bloggers list post) and am loving it!

    In London, UK, where I used to live, it was super common to see women wearing Work suits with sneakers on the tube, who would then change into proper smart shoes at work, it was accepted as a way of life. With standing on the tube / walking around London, comfortable shoes are a must!

    1. It just makes so much sense to commute in comfortable shoes! I have no idea how the women wearing heels do it (or how they deal with the pain).

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