Cute Shoes

I was That Little Girl.  The knock-kneed one with …omg…orthopedic shoes. Braces (teeth, not legs).  Hair always wild.  It’s a wonder I survived middle school, y’all.  I mean, really.  I was a Brain, and it was obvious that I was top-to-toe Nerd, so …well I guess we BrainNerds got a pass, even with the orthopedic shoes.  Still amazing, though.  Middle and High school was brutal!

In high school, after years of orthos and ballet (omg.  SO painful) I was finally allowed to occasionally wear certain non-ortho shoes.  Usually, though, they had to have some arch support.  Except.  Except these absolutely adorbs Gillie-tie shoes.

not them – but damb close. Cute, huh?

Mine were tan and white and I loved them with abandon!  Once I got grown (and my feet strengthened) I fell in Stiletto Hole and never looked back.  Oh, SO many stilettos!  It was the 80s: Andrew Geller, Maud Frizon,  into the 90s and beyond, with Manolo. Beverly Feldman and Louboutin.  I am the despair of Cynthia Heimel , decrier of ‘cunning little bows’ on stilettos.

No more red stilettos!

Since I wear very severe clothing my only nod to ‘feminine’ is usually a shoe (even my bags are severe).  If you tie, have a cute little bow (or my vintage Norma Kamali winged stilettoes which I now cannot find – how do you lose SHOES?) you probably own my heart.  Double points if you have both a heel AND feathers.

I wore these ’til they fell apart!

Until now.

Where I now live, my Construction Site Life, coupled with my post-fall injuries?  Yah.  Stiletto this, Musette.  I remember my shock at seeing Cybill Shepherd in her sneakers on the Emmy Red Carpet  – now I’m right there with her.  For a few years I teetered and tottered as I tried to fake it but the killing blow came 4 months ago, when that blood vessel burst in my left big toe – and I was in SNOW BOOTS, y’all.  With a one-inch gripstrut heel.  Lemmetellya – that one-inch heel felt like I was in Louboutins – and not in a good way.  4 months later, the pain is mostly gone but you could point an ICBM at me I don’t think I would take the chance on a heel.  My Heel Days are gawn!

And not just heels.  I’m kinda skeered of pointy-toes, and slip-on shoes make my guts (and toes) clench.  I guess it’s All About the Tie, now.  When I was first able to walk, following my toe neuropathy, the only shoes I felt safe in were these Keds lace-up sneakerish things – they have a bit of support in the arch (don’t get too excited – they’re still Keds so I could do with an insert) and the sole is sturdy enough that I don’t feel like I’m walking on glass.  I tried other options but nothing works as well – so I lost my mind and bought Keds in a whole lot of colors and fabrics – but not the little thin Keds – the ones I’ve gotten all have some structure.  And I suspect it is now Official:  I am dressing from the feet up.  Fight me.

cute – and sturdy, too!

I’m putting all my Manolos and their ilk on the eeeB and..well..that’s that.  I tried to get all weepy (The Passage of an Era and all that) : L.O.L.   I’m FOINE with it.  I won’t have to change much more than the skirts I wear in Summer – and heck, I think I might even be able to pull off a swing skirt with a couple of the cuter Keds styles.  I thought I would really miss the stilettos – but what I think is I am sort of missing the option, rather than the shoes themselves.  But…hey…options change all the time, don’t they? 2 months ago I couldn’t walk more than 40feet (and 3 mos ago I was using a walker).  And now look – I’m talking SHOES!  TO WALK IN!  And those gold lurex Keds are slammo!  And, to be honest, it’s not like I am not almost ALWAYS in either black, white or tan slacks (my travel closets always looks like a nun is staying there).  If Cybill can Reebok the red carpet I can Ked Boul Mich!  and…really?  If there is a sudden Zombie Outbreak I’d rather shuffle off in my sneakers than break an ankle in my Manolos.

What about you guys?  Is there any ‘option’ you’ve ever had to give up?  Fashion?  Food? An Action?  How did you manage?  With what did you replace it?

  • crikey says:

    Never been able to wear heels–a life time of hip surgeries ruled those out–but, damn I rock my big chunky brothel creepers instead. And that’s just fine. Also I discovered early on that doc marten boots can go exceptionally well with a super-posh frock if you just stare people down with that, “and what?” expression. Except I sometimes get a little mournful when I see those cute and quirky Fluevogs…oh well, more money for perfume and fabulous lipstick.

    But I had to comment when I saw that Cynthia H cover. Love her writing, and way back in the day, I directed a production of her play, “A girl’s guide to chaos” which was a *blast*.

  • maggiecat says:

    Right. There. With. You. I’ve always loved pretty shoes, usually not stilettos, but kitten heels, boots,wedges, fun sneakers, etc. Alas, rheumatoid arthritis and recent ankle fusion surgery mean that, for the rest of my life, sneakers may be considered dress shoes. (although EarthBound has some cute flats with cushioning and arch support, and Ecco has some good options too…) I now need shoes with both arch support AND cushioning (or I can feel the metal plates in my foot, which is every bit as icky as it sounds). I gave away my lovely, lovely shoes…some to friends, others to charity and am moving on (or trying to, anyway). On the gratitude side, after a year in an orthopedic boot, and months on a knee scooter, then crutches, simply being able to wear matching shoes and walk distances is glorious, really.
    Never giving up perfume though. And lipstick.

  • Tiara says:

    Yup, corrective shoes here until about junior high. Had to walk between buildings often when I worked so high heels were out and I didn’t dress up enough when we went out to wear them on weekends either. I wore the wedge heels which were popular way back when and loved my Clarks clogs until a serious bout with plantar fasciitis. Shoes with arch supports made it worse. Wore a pair of huarache sandals that summer with zero pain so ditched anything with lots of arch support, including athletic sneakers. Best brand for me has been Easy Street (NOT Easy Spirit) and when I find a shoe I like, I buy several colors. Comfort wins!

    • Musette says:

      when your feet feel great, YOU feel great! If shoes hurt my feet I don’t care how cute they are – off they go!


  • I had bilateral knee replacements 6 years ago. No heels for me! I have always loved shoes! Platforms in the 70’s! Had a pair of fuck me heels for a wedding. When I was 10 or 11 bought purple cordoroy (sp) shoes and a pale olove green pair. I have wide feet. Thank God for Zappos and FitFlops! No heels. But still, cute shoes and Violettes Precieuse.

  • malsnano86 says:

    I had very high arches, wide feet, and very narrow heels and wore corrective shoes as a young child. I’m not sure what they were correcting FOR, but I vividly remember having only three choices at the problem-foot shoe store when picking out shoes for kindergarten.

    I started having problems with plantar fasciitis a few years ago and it has not really resolved despite my buying ugly grandma orthotic shoes. I’m sure the orthopedist is going to put his foot down next time I go and I’ll be on the all-sneaker (with insert), all-the-time program. I wore the good-arch, supportive orthotic leather shoes for my community chorus concert last night and could barely WALK when I got home, so. I know it’s coming. Bleargh.

    Stilettos were never a vice for me but I miss cute shoes.

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Glad you still have your fumes. (Let’s hope the allergies don’t kick in.)

  • Tatiana says:

    I gave up stilettos years ago. I have arthritis in the joint at the base of my big toe and stilettos just don’t do it for me anymore. I did mourn, because it meant giving away a collection of really pretty shoes. Ah well, I’m finding cute in other styles.
    Last season I bought this version of Keds. Sorta ruined them a bit when I sprayed them with ScotchGuard and the gold started to get blurry.
    I also bought these oxfords in multiple colors for wearing everyday with jeans.
    And I’ve found cute styles from Paul Green too. More expensive, but the arch support is amazing.

  • AnnJune says:

    I’m also with you on the orthopedic shoes, but only through elementary school. Of course the cool girls in 4th grade were in penny loafers but not for moi! Ah well. Completely loved the Dr. Scholl’s plastic-soled spiky slides and other replicas through the end of the 70s through 80s (after Olivia Newton John’s final number in Grease, who could refuse them?) I’m a Dansko “girl” now and am headed to the nearest Clark’s store today to buy more black flats. I have to say I don’t really miss the heels, thankfully, because they’re completely not an option for me any more. And thanks for the LOL today, Musette. Your “Fight me” was perfect!

    • Musette says:

      OH, I wanted to wear penny loafers SO bad! My mom’s assurances that I would thank her when I was an adult didn’t assuage the deeeep pain of Not Wearing Loafers in 4th grade (yes, I remember those days!). But when I hit my 20s and I could wear heels without my feet looking like loaves of bread…yes it was worth it!


  • Furriner says:

    I also wore orthopedic shoes as a young’un — flat feet, knock-kneed, pigeon toed. Did you get yours at DeWitt’s? My parents gave up on them when i got to around fifth grade. Gym shoes seemed to work just as well. I still have flat feet and am pigeon-toed and knock kneed, though.

    I never really paid too much attention shoes throughout the years, until the last ten years or so. Living in Japan, shoes get kind of destroyed with the constant taking them off and putting them on. I’ve spent more money on better shoes lately because I feel my feet are worth it. I’m tired of cheap shoes hurting my feet.

  • hczerwiec says:

    I don’t have much opportunity to wear heels, but I still can, and have a funky pair of Fluevogs I rock when given the chance. But with my migraines, I’ve had to give up most red wines, in particular my delicious Zinfandel. Boooooo!

    • Musette says:

      I LOVE Fleuvogs! I LOVE red wine!

      DAYum! Now I miss Fleuvogs (and red wine – it gives me migraines, as well, alas)


  • Tara C says:

    I have given up coffee, alcohol, stiletto heels and expensive handbags. Where you going in that? That’s the question I ask myself when I look at fancy pretty stuff that I don’t have any place to wear because I’m retired and a dog lady. So I just wear fabulous perfume, which goes with anything, even dog hair and jeans.

  • MMKinPA says:

    Dansko clogs were my daily wear for years following a bout of plantar fasciitis in both feet. I can’t wear them to work right now, they wear loose and clutzy me is afraid of falling over my preschool students, but I still wear a lot of other styles of Dansko. Also Spring Step, and various other “comfort” brands. So boring to get old and start developing these “infirmities”!

    • Musette says:

      okay – you made me spit out my water! The thought of you falling, like a tree, over your preschoolers!

      LOL!!! xoxoxox

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Remember saddle shoes? I was mocked and derided for wearing them all through junior high. In my 20s, I went shoe crazy of course! 😀 Orthotic inserts, yeah…my days of pointy shoes are long gone. At work, I wear Dansko clogs. I love the black “patent leather” ones. They also make very nice lace-up shoes now. Mephisto shoes are expensive, but well made and foot-friendly. I found my favorite shoe store in Gloucester, Mass., only 30 miles from my house but worth the trip!

    • Musette says:

      saddle shoes! I had to wear them – the Cool Kids wore penny loafers. I sooo wanted to wear loafers. Still can’t wear them, not well.

      And that’s okay – at least I can stand up. And walk.

      ps. Mephistos! Ex DH LOVES them. They don’t work so well with my foot, alas. Damb shame, because they have some cute styles.

  • Barbara B says:

    Last wore heels to my daughter’s high school graduation in 2016. (58 year old with a 22 year old son and 19 year old daughter.) Absolutely forbidden by my orthopedic doc to wear anything but certain tennis shoes with an orthopedic insole now due to some issues too boring to bring up here. That’s fine for work since I wear scrubs but the 5’1″ me with the 6’1″ husband misses her heels. My godson is getting married and I’d love to wear something besides flats (which I’m not supposed to be wearing!) Guess I should be grateful I can work and walk cause for a while it was iffy.

    Lol at the nun’s wardrobe. I only wear black pants!

    And I have a copy of that Cynthia Heimel book hidden away somewhere!

    • Musette says:

      Every day I can walk more than 50feet without real pain is a cause for celebration! I can happily give up the Sexy Shoe for a chance to walk like a halfway normal-walking person again!!!

      That Heimel is da bomb! She seems to have fallen off the writer radar, alas.

      Wear a long skirt and whatever shoes won’t cripple you! Nobody will be looking at your feet (you know that) and I remember this one because I wore a cocktail dress to a wedding and so was unable to wear flats. I spent the evening envying a friend who had the sense to wear a long skirt!


  • bevfred says:

    Maud Frizon…I loved her shoes! And Norma Kamali! I didn’t have her shoes but a dress that got me into a whole lot of trouble. I’ve joined the flat shoes club too. Boring.

  • Cyndi says:

    I can certainly sympathize with you. My left foot is totally flat, and I did the ortho shoes or shoes with arches (anyone remember Stride Right Shoes?) when I was a young girl. However, adolescence and young womanhood kicked in and changed all that. I loved high platform shoes and high heels and suffered with them for years. But I did love those shoes!! Now I’m forced back to the ortho thing again, and my doctor wants me to have surgery to “correct” the problem. I’m seriously considering this because I may be able to wear pretty and sexy shoes again! I agree with Teresa, “If the shoe fits…it’s UGLY!

    • malsnano86 says:

      I pretty much lived in Stride Rite until I was rebelled in middle school! I was a compliant kid (eldests often are) and it was a total shock to my mother when I started insisting that I needed Shoes Like Everyone Else At School.

      • Cyndi says:

        I’m totally with you about the Stride Right Shoes thing. If anything made me feel different it was those shoes. I’m the eldest of five, and you’re right, the eldest is often a compliant kid. But when you hit middle school all that goes out the window. Thank God for that!

    • Musette says:

      Stride Rite! Lived that dream!

      Hope you don’t have to have surgery but if you do….I hope you can wear whatever shoes your little toes desire! xoxoxoA

  • Mariekel says:

    What haven’t I had to give up? No heels (ballet damaged ankles finally said enough). No booze, cigarettes. And, even though I vowed that my coffee mug would only be prised from my cold, dead hand, I had to give up coffee two years ago because my stomach got into cahoots with my ankles about what it would no longer tolerate.

    So, now I wear low heels and flats, more trousers and fewer skirts to accommodate. I drink Oolong tea instead of coffee. And I do Pilates instead of party. Sigh.

  • Teresa says:

    Above ^^ ‘If the shoe fits…it’s UGLY’ LOL!

  • Teresa says:

    I also was knock-kneed And pigeon-toed so…orthopedic shoes for me, as well! As an adult, my feet are a 10 1/2 WW so I go along with the saying ‘if the shoe fits…I have also joined the ‘tie-up shoes only club’…heck…it looks better than Velcro!

  • I gave up high heels when my daughter was born in 1990. Never looked back. I ended up teaching and foot comfort is a must!