I recently read that a research study had been done concluding that people often judge others by the shoes they wear. As if we’re not judged enough by other ridiculously superficial criteria. But that’s a rant for another day. Anyway, there were several factors taken into consideration including the obvious – if the shoes were expensive, the style, and their condition, along with other factors. People made snap judgments based on those factors, including political affiliation, income and emotional stability. Hmmm.
Anyway, I pretty much live in two kinds of shoes, depending on the season – sandals throughout the summer, and sneakers in the winter. Or, if I must, the least hideous walking shoe I can find. Not an easy prospect with AAA feet, I promise you. I honestly wouldn’t want to know what snap judgments anyone makes about me when – or if – they bother looking at my feet.
There was a time I cared about style. Back in the day, I wore outfits that required a stylish shoe – specifically, platform shoes. I could wobble down the street with the best of them, confident that I was at the height of fashion. Comfort be damned – looking good was all that mattered. Of course the definition of looking good at the time was so skewed it included giant shoulders, giant hair, and a giant amount of glitter. So subtlety and class were obviously in short supply. But it was the ’80s, so need I say more?
Fast forward to our modern age of sky-high stilettos. I have walked past these modern torture chamber devices in various shoe stores and I am certain that if I even ventured to try one of these shoes on, I would end up breaking both ankles in an exceedingly painful, cringe-worthy display of flailing arms and limbs askew.
The phenomenon I’ve noticed both in person and on TV is that women walk very strangely nowadays. They take tiny little pigeon steps while moving as quickly as possible. At first, I had no idea what was going on when I’d see female guest stars on talk shoes hurrying to their seats in this odd manner. It’s such an unnatural walk, but it’s ubiquitous these days. (*Please note, that this walk excludes supermodels who are capable of model-striding on mile-high stilts, unlike your average human female.) But back to mortals wearing these shoes. Even down-to-earth funny ladies feel obligated to wear these ridiculously uncomfortable shoes, in the name or femininity and style. And they do that quick pigeon-shuffle as well. But they don’t walk this walk for laughs, but instead, to get to their seat and get off their feet as quickly as possible. The relief on their faces is palpable as they sink into their chairs, having successfully navigated any obstacles in their way, without toppling over or humiliating themselves in any other heel-related way.
Supposedly, flat shoes are making a comeback. For the last 20 years, let me assure you, they haven’t ever left me. On the very rarest of occasions, I have managed to find a shoe that merges both comfort and style (to the extent that a heel-challenged shoe can do that), but generally it’s one or the other, and these days, comfort always wins.
So, as in so many things these days, I will leave discomfort to the young. You girls look great when you’re standing still or sitting down, waving your feet around in your shoes that resemble works of art adorning your feet. Just do your best to not have to rush anywhere when you’re wearing those things. Because that pigeon walk kind of destroys the glamorous, sophisticated image you’re trying to project. Unless, of course, you’re a super model. In that case, the rest of us don’t stand a chance anyway.
Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved