Thursday, August 12

Shoes: Cute vs Comfortable

I have my own sense of style, which depending on the day is dressed down in jeans and a rock 'n' roll t-shirt or dressed up in a girly vintage dress very early 90s babydoll Courtney Love. I've pretty much been rocking these looks since I was 12. But in my late teens/early 20s, I went through a goth/club girl phase (it was quite the identity crisis). During that time period I wore shoes like this every night. (And wave hi to my cat, Kaspar in the background.)

(oh and you can click to enlarge for better detail on all of these pics. The pair on the right has constellations on them, still sooooo in love with those)

In fact I had pair of 6 inch black crushed velvet platform boots that went up almost to my knee. Unfortunately (actually, fortunately for me...) there are no pictures of me in them and apparently I got rid of them even though I am a packrat when it comes to saving old favorite clothes and I still have my first pair of Converse, Courtney Love-style Mary Janes, Doc Martens, and my favorite combat boots from high school, which are these (along with my other favorite high school accessories, the army jacket and the sticker covered Hello Kitty lunch box. Can you tell I was a teenage riot grrrl?)

But back to the platform heels that I was wearing at nineteen. I wore them nightly. I danced in them for hours. I even drove in them. Sometimes I drove all the way from Madison, Wisconsin, where I was living at the time to visit my mother in Chicago. And she would freak out. "You're going to screw up your knees doing that!" she'd say (and I did stop driving in heels once I started to feel weird pains in my knees). She'd also tell me that I was going to break my ankle (never did, no matter how intoxicated I might have been while wearing them, lucky!) and that eventually I wouldn't be able to wear shoes like that any more, my feet just wouldn't tolerate it. CURSE HER! She was right!!!!!

I'm going to blame my job for this one. When I started bartending, I quickly realized that if I was going to be on my feet all night I would have to be comfortable. I also learned that if you work on your feet for a few years, your shoe size goes up and shoes just don't fit as comfortably as before.

I can still rock these Mary Janes when I am dressed up, though I was very frustrated a few weeks ago when the shiny pair on the left (only 20$ at Target! and non-leather of course because I am vegan and never buy leather shoes) which have never ever failed me gave me two huge blisters and my husband had to give me a piggy back ride home because I could barely walk!

So mostly, I wear these shoes:

The comfortable, butt-kicking black boots that go with everything are a must have for every rock n roll girl. Those are the engineer boots from Vegetarian Shoes, which I bought here. Yes, they were expensive but a good pair of boots are the one thing I will spend a lot of money on. Dress shoes look like crap fast (at least mine do) and sneakers wear out, but boots can last many years. I can wear those to bartend in and walk over cities in and I wear them constantly until it gets too hot out. Converse of course have been my faithful shoe since sixth grade, back when my peers mocked me for wearing them. (two years later they were cool. I'm still slightly bitter about this.) HOWEVER any regular Converse wearer knows that when it comes to support, they SUCK. I don't know how people ever played basketball in these guys without killing their heels and their arches. So I rarely work in those. Instead I bartend in the Vans at the front of the pic which are more cushioned though I still add a heel insert since my heels tend to hurt. And the Vans are a recent addition.

These were my work shoes forever and they were perfect and I think the cutest sneakers ever. (My cat Lars even loves them, he is trying to be pictured with them.) Hearts and skulls = AWESOME! But alas Rocket Dog stopped making them. Damn you, Rocket Dog!

Summer is the hardest time of year for me to keep feet cool and comfortable. I'm super picky about flipflops. They have to have a soft fabric in between the toes or it chafes and I hate it. But I found these this year and love them and should have bought five pairs. The worn-to-death canvas Mary Janes with the skulls (can you tell I have a skull thing?) were my absolute favorite summer shoe. They can be worn casual or dressy. I love canvas Mary Janes or those little black velvet Chinese slippers.

But I was soooooooooooooo mad because apparently the canvas Mary Jane is not currently in fashion. I could not find them ANYWHERE this summer. Annoying because I prefer flats to heels now (yeah, Mom, you were right...), but I don't like flats that don't have some sort of strap. I think they make my feet look funny. (It's probably just all of those years of wearing strappy shoes.) So instead I ended up with these.

They are cute yes. But I have worn the pair on the left only once because they blistered the hell out of my feet despite seeming comfortable at the store. The other pair is slightly better, but I'm still getting blisters so they are not the every day shoes I wanted them to be.

After shopping for these I realized that after being a shoe person for years (I have two closets full and probably only wear a handful of pairs anymore... basically the ones I showed you.), I kind of hate shoes now. I want cute shoes, but I'm not willing to hurt myself for fashion anymore and apparently my feet are much more prone to aching and blistering now. (Crap, this means I'm old, doesn't it?)

So what about you? Are you a shoe person? Do you pick style over comfort? Or are you more like me? Or have you found the magical pair of cute, comfortable (non-leather) shoes or do you know how to prevent blisters? Because if you have, please share! You'll be my new BFF!


baddict17 said...

I'm obsessed with shoes! I got it from my mom. Anytime I'm watching tv, the first thing I comment on is soemone's shoes. My sister gets really annoyed, it's pretty funny. I love heels and always buy them, but I always end up wearing my converse b/c they're more comfortable. SO I basically buy heels but barely wear them.

Leah (aka Mary_not_Martha) said...

Great post, reading it I felt like "I" was attached to your shoes too! I was bad about shoes in my teens - being 5ft1 I wore them constantly, danced in them, wore them to school etc. Now my feet say, "Uh-Uh Girlfriend" - only on special occasions will my tootsies even allow those....sigh...if only I had somewhere to wear them!

Mindi Scott said...

I'm more about comfort than style. I wear Privos a lot. I like the way they look. Even better, I like the way they feel!

(I have a pair of Rocket Dogs that look similar to yours!)

angela said...

I've always wanted some flats like the last ones, but they always sleep off my feet :[ And I found these cute denim-blue platforms at a vintage sanctuary earlier this summer, havent warn them yet, they're just slip ons and really comfy, and I've got a pair of modern bell bottoms to wear with them :D

Helen's Book Blog said...

I love shoes. One of your photos made me remember my Doc Martens that I wore into the ground through college and graduate school. If I find a pair that fits well and is comfortable I wear then all the time. Then there are the pairs that I love in the store: usually a cool color or they have some bit of "interest". They get worn far less....

Sara Z. said...

I LOVE SHOES. And have more of them than I can ever integrate into my life. And I have high arches and bunions. So I have all these adorable shoes that I can't stand in for more than fifteen minutes, while I really wear basically two pairs: purple Mephisto sandals in summer, and boots with Birkenstock inserts in the fall and winter and spring. With the occasional Born mary jane for variety. It makes me sort of sad. But...ah well.

Alyson Noel said...

I love shoes! But now that I'm a stay at home writer living in Ugg slippers all day NONE of my shoes are comfortable. Even the ones that I think are going to be comfortable end up giving me blisters, and so I never leave the house without bandaids in my purse!

Wendy Toliver said...

Fun post, Stephanie! I'm really lucky because I can pretty much wear any type of shoe and rarely get blisters. My DH is hikes great distances and his advice for blisters is duct tape.
Love your boots! My favorite thing about fall and winter is getting to wear my knee-high, black, flat boots-- love 'em!

Nancyt said...

Shoes are a nightmare for me. i need comfort and have a very difficult foot to fit. My heels are narrow and my feet are very bony - think scuba flippers, so clogs are easy for me. the style takes me back to 70 s rock. I find that I can wear almost any flat shoe, including Converse, providing I put new insoles in them! My favories are Memory Foam by Pro fit because they mold to your feet. And you can't go wrong with a good pair of boots!

Sources said...

great shoes! love the style and design of them.
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Erica Orloff said...

Oh . . .Gosh . . . totally a barefoot girl; socks in winter. And if I have to wear shoes in winter, cowboy boots. Now BOTH my pairs are SO wrecked (one pair, my red snakeskin ones, are GULP . . . 22 years old). So THIS year? Time for a new pair. . . which I will wear with everything. :-)

Amanda Ashby said...

I love shoes but also love comfort so I mainly wear biker boots and converse in the winter and flat sandals in the summer.

Though once a year when I go to my writer's conference, I wear heels and this year they were so comfortable that I even managed them with jeans during the day!!!! I have a lot of non-leather shoes, though not because I'm a vegan but just because I have kids and they might as well eat money.

Anyway, I've been amazed at just how comfortable they are so these days I tend to keep buying non-leather

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Fun post! I love comfortable shoes, or better yet- no shoes. But I like to put my characters in shoes that fit their personality. I hate describing clothes, but if you mention a hat or a pair of shoes, your set.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Sounds like so many of us are in the same boat. I am glad I am not alone and thanks for all the shoe compliments.

Big time confession to make.... I just bought 4.5 inch platform wedges because they were sooooooooo cute. Fortunately they are also pretty comfortable, but I won't drive in them!