Power Shoes

I’ve had many people ask me, “Why do women love shoes?” And I never quite know what to say. Who am I to speak for all women? Who says that all women love shoes? Why does it matter anyway?

And yet I sometimes catch myself wondering why it is that I love shoes as much as I do. Because there are many marvelous elements within my wardrobe, but I am most emotionally attached to my shoes.

And there’s definitely something to the idea that shoes are likely to fit and look amazing no matter how much weight you’ve lost or how bloated you feel, no matter how tired or crabby or upset you are. Shoes are a constant within outfits. They’re reliable. If they look great at 6 a.m., they’ll still look great at 9 p.m. (Barring unforeseen mud puddle encounters and the like.)

Shoes also have the power to transform outfits. A romantic, floaty, diaphanous outfit can get a dose of rocker with the addition of some hardware-encrusted stilettos. A preppy ensemble goes instantly punk when combat boots get added to the mix. Just add shoes and watch things shift.

But it occurred to me recently that shoes are also connected to ideas of travel, movement, and agility. We walk on them, rely on them to protect us from the streets and the weather, and our movements are aided or impeded by them. This lends them a considerable amount of power within our daily lives.

Yet they are somehow also imbued with power themselves. They influence our stance, posture, and overall physical demeanor. They make us feel taller, steadier, faster, sexier, capable of great feats. Shoes are powerful.

As you can see from these photos, I consider tall boots to be my power shoes. Nobody talks about “ass-kicking flip-flops,” ya know? There’s something especially mythic about boots, something rough and raw that seeps up into the wearer. I feel most like myself and most powerful when I’ve got on an amazing pair of boots.

Next Post
Previous Post

48 Responses to “Power Shoes”

  1. artemis

    Hi Sally!
    I prefer tall boots too but my main problem is how to store them.I keep the ones i don’t use that often in their boxes and the ones i wear all the time stuffed with magasines and lined in shelves but they take too much space anyway.
    My favorite pair for this season is a pair of black Zara boots adorned with snake skin pattern;not too low not too high;they are perfect!!

  2. Doro

    Great post, I absolutely agree, especially with the notion that shoes influence posture, physical demeanor, maybe even your mood. I mean, who has ever stood tall and proud when their feet were uncomfortable, wet, and/or blistered? Bonus points for shoes are comfortable and look great, too: I have a pair of Trippen Lear leather boots, and when I wear them, I could swear I also wear an invisible superhero cape (complete with wind machine, flowing hair and dramatic soundtrack in my head). 🙂

  3. Iris

    I don’t have this relationship with shoes at all, and almost feel like I’m missing out on something. Other women seem to be able to get SO excited about them, but for me they’ve always just been an item of utility. I mostly wear the same shoes every day. If I’m dressing formally, I might branch out from my usual trainers to black flats or wedges, but rarely wear shoes that call any attention to themselves. I don’t like and shouldn’t wear heels – I’m clumsy enough without them, have incredibly bad knees that can’t tolerate anything other than trainers for long periods of time, and at 6 feet tall I don’t exactly need the height boost. I very rarely give a thought to making my shoes a part of my outfit – they’re an afterthought, something tacked on at the end just so I can get around.

    I suspect it’s because my feet have been too big to wear standard women’s shoes since I was 14. Sure, there are some places I can get pretty shoes, but my choice is always restricted, and the styles I like the most inevitably are not made in my size…

    • ily

      Same here, mostly. For me, shoes are the item that’s hardest to get the right fit. So I hate shopping for shoes, it’s way too frustrating.

    • Miriana

      Me too. I have very big feet, so shoes are a bit of a source of stress. But somehow, I’ve still managed to have quite a few. I think this is to do with the fact that it used to be nearly impossible to get any that fit, and now that it’s got a bit easier, I want to gorge.

  4. EvaNadine

    i think another thing that makes so many women love shoes is that even when other things around you fluctuate (including your size and the fit of your clothing), so often, shoes STILL work for you. yes, extreme weight changes can even bring changes in which shoes will work for you, but for the most part, shoes are RELIABLE, SAFE. theres a certain confidence in that.

  5. May ebute

    Yeah!!pls permit me to say i adore shoes especially high heeled shoes in any form.they give me this confident steps when i walk and turn ma outfits from drab to wow.i tell ya though im considered a very tall girl where i come from,i aint givn up ma high heeled shoes for anything in the world.

  6. Leta

    My husband had to go in my closet last week and when I got home from work he wanted to know why I had so many shoes and I was not to buy any more shoes! (hahahaha) I tried to explain that you had summer shoes, winter shoes, dress shoes, shoes for rain, shoes for the garden, etc. He was totally without a clue. I love shoes! And I extremely love boots. Unfortunately in the south you have a short time that you can wear them in but I have a lot of ankle boots that I wear in the spring and fall. Love Love Love shoes. My mother has more shoes than I do so I guess its inherited!

  7. Roberta

    I also appreciate that footwear doesn’t go in and out of style as fast (or at all) as clothing does. At least at my price point. I have ten year old boots that still look good. And a feeling of power and strength is definitely part of it. We love our Docs and Fryes and piratical boots. Too, it’s a stereotype we can embrace. Yeah, I have 30 pairs of shoes, what’s your point? I’ve never known a woman who was ashamed of her shoe collection. They might not admit they read romance novels, but they’ll tell you how many pairs of Birks they own.

  8. Fritinancy

    The brilliant French shoe designer Maud Frizon once answered your question this way: “A shoe is not merely a shoe. It is movement and repose; it is human contact with the earth.”

  9. D

    I am definitely a shoe lover. A boot lover too. I’ve always been a fan of a little rock and roll in my fashion (well, maybe not every day anymore, but it really is fun!) so boots always seemed like a good way to make it happen. Plus they are super comfy, which I appreciate. Its a good day when I bust out my pirate boots.

  10. Angela

    I really, really like shoes maybe not love them, as I am picky about heel height and where the weight distribution/ arch is…which limits a lot of choices,,,,but I can’t muster up much feeling for boots. They are just kind of so so for me

  11. Pamela

    I’m not sure how to word what I mean, but I think we can wear cute/stylish shoes soley for our own enjoyment. Clothing is often about others will see when they look at us, while shoes are about what we can easily see on our own. After all, we can only see our full outfits in a mirror- shoes we can easily see any time, just by looking down at our feet. To me, that makes shoes a more personal pleasure than clothes. Also (aside from “stripper shoes” and some cultural noise about “toe cleavage”) shoes are safe. You don’t have to wear camisoles under them or worry about what people will see when you bend over or worry that they send the wrong message by being too tight or whatever. So, they’re a much less stressful shopping item than clothing, at least for me.

  12. Mrs.M in MI

    My power shoes are one of three pairs of 4-5″ heels. I have a pair of navy suede peeptoe pumps that I wear all summer because they go with everything. For fancier occasions I’ll do anything to wear these super-high purple suede stiletto sandals with an ankle strap because they make my legs look killer. And for my high school reunion I bought a pair of pointy calf hair leopard print pumps for emotional armor.

    I am towards the tall side (5’8″), but I find that I feel more awesome in high heels because my legs look fabulous, my short legs-long torso proportions are balanced, my posture and walk are more confident, and I really am tall in them. I’ve found that men who enter an interaction in the power position can be disconcerted when a women is taller than them or looks them in the eye. I enjoy upsetting that power balance.

  13. Sheila

    Oh, lordy, I adore shoes. It used to be for the reason that they always fit, especially when I was overweight and would have shopping trips fraught with peril of crying in fitting rooms (often) – the shoes never let me down.

    I love their ability to elevate an ordinary, plain outfit into “pow!” I love the infinite variety in shape, design, colour, height, details – there is something for everyone!

    My power shoes are any pair (boots, heels, flats, whatever) that ring all my bells for being special, unique and me!

  14. Jessamyn

    Man…I really hate shoes. My feet are prone to blisters like crazy, and I’m currently a grad student on a shoestring budget, so nice shoes are just not feasible for me right now. I live in the South, so my basic flip flops and flats work most of the year, but as much as I know a nice pair of heels will punch my outfit right up….I just can’t face the blisters and muscle pain. The emphasis on women and shoes is actually something that often feels really isolating, and occasionally makes me feel incredibly inadequate and unfeminine. I love clothes, and skirts, and dresses, and belts. I just wish I could go barefoot or wear simple shoes everywhere.

    • Sal

      Jessamyn, I’m so sorry to hear you feel that way. I’m glad, though, that you spoke up and that you are choosing comfort and overall health over suffering for fashion. You are NOT inadequate because you wear flats and flip-flops. No way, no how.

    • Cynthia

      Jessamyn —

      When I was a grad student, I had a shoe collection that consisted of one pair of Birkenstocks and one pair of boots and one pair of mary janes and one pair of running shoes for, like, 9 years straight. This too will pass. I learned then never to buy shoes that were too cheap or too limited-use. Uncomfortable $10 ballet flats from Payless were a waste whereas saving up $80 for a good solid pair of Clarks that I could wear every day was not.

      Now I am a 40-something person with a shoe budget, and a collection of fabulous and comfy low heels and flats. I have Morton’s Neuroma and can only wear low shoes, so I still sometimes feel like I’m doing shoes “wrong” (not craving the latest 5″ spike or bright yellow whatsit) but you have to remember, what is stylish for a normal person who has to walk around and do work every day is different than what is stylish for someone who only has to be photographed in the shoes and then take them off again. There are a ton of great shoes (even colorful ones) with low heels. You don’t need to be on stilts to look good.

      • sarah

        jessamyn – if you ever want to TRY shopping for different kinds of shoes (not saying you HAVE to – not at all!), I recommend trying amazon. I keep an eye on the expensive brands on amazon and snap things up when they are on sale. For example, I bought a pair of $315 boots for $44 (and free shipping). I do find that higher quality brands are less likely to rub and cause blisters, but there is also moleskin and bandaids to help with the break-in period.

        But then again, I grew up figure skating, and my parents couldn’t afford to keep replacing my skates even though I was growing. So, when I was 14 I got my second pair of skates. It was 3 sizes larger than the ones I’d been wearing for years. IN short, my feet are pretty messed up from ballet and skating, so honestly, a blister here and there doesn’t even phase me anymore.

        and as much as I love shoes, I actually DO go barefoot all summer! It’s great! I’m so glad my neighbours do, too – it’s strange to me how many people will look at you like you have three heads just because you want to feel the grass under your feet on a nice summer’s day. =)

  15. Kate K

    Ahh shoes. For the longest time, I would buy these very unique and ridiculously high heels. And I would never know how to wear them, they hurt my feet like nobody’s business and I always felt like I was about to break them. (Why I thought I, a 5’10”, 200 lb woman, could be supported by a stiletto still baffles me.) So I had a closet full of gorgeous shoes and I never wore them. I started buying lots of flats but always felt overly casual (especially with dress pants.) Then, I discovered wedges. Wedges are my power shoe. They come in varying heights and even at their highest, I still feel stable. They can be casual or even quite formal and I can wear them in all times of the year. (Wedge heeled boots are my new thing.) I just love them.

  16. poodletail

    I surely do love all my shoes. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more selective but still have a few pairs that come out 2-3 times a year but are too beautiful to give away. My power shoes? Running shoes. All I need do is tie them on and I can run 26.2 miles!

  17. Rocquelle

    Oh how I love shoes! I agree with you, as much as I adore my wardrobe and jewelry, I am so emotionally attached to my shoes, especially those 4″ or higher :-).

  18. Tina

    This is a somewhat depressing topic for me. Since last September, I have dealt with plantar faciatiis. I have spent countless hours (and $$$) at physical therapy, doc appointments, othotics to deal with this condition. As a consequence, I cannot wear cute shoes or boots. I have been wearing ugly orthopedic shoes. It is hard to get excited about dressing up since I have to wear these shoes. This has affected my mood. I find myself wearing jeans and pants (I prefer dresses!) so that attention is not drawn to my shoes. Shoes really do impact the entire outfit.

    • Patience

      I can relate to this, as I had plantar fasciatiis a few years ago. It was at its worst in the summer, when I wanted to wear flip flops, which were are the worst possible shoes for that condition. I spend a whole summer clomping around in ugly shoes.
      My condition cleared up eventually, but it took over eight months. I hope yours does too.

      • Tina

        Thanks for the link, Sal. I will try it!
        @Patience–Thanks! I have heard it takes about a year or so…

        • sarah

          Tina – have you tried ECCO, Kenneth Cole’s “gentle soles”, fidji, Born, or some of the Naturalizer shoes? I don’t know if it helps; I just know that they have good cushioning and better arch support. I have REALLY thin feet (4A with a 6A heel) and VERY high arches (If I point my toe, they make perfect 90-degree angles; the natural ballerina, eh?) that run almost the length of my whole foot. I wore orthotics to support those arches throughout childhood (yeah, I was *that* kid at school – nerdy and smart, too. Of course) and these brands are ones that I know I can go to for something that is practical/good for my feet, but not entirely clunky/unfashionable. Sorry if you’ve tried these already!

          • Tina

            Thanks, Sarah! The only ones I have tried so far are Born. My condition is getting a little better so I am going to try to wear those again. I will try the other suggestions!

  19. Wendy

    I twist my ankle in heels, and ballet pumps and mules literally fall off my feet when I try to walk in them. Finding shoes that are both “sensible” and pretty is hard work and I rarely find a pair of shoes that I love so choosing shoes is a chore for me.

  20. K

    I am glad that I am not the only one with a bit of a super-hero complex about my boots! There are so many reasons they tend to rise above the rest of my collection. I find that with a little work (or like a 20-1 rejection rate) I can find show-stoppers that feel good on my feet, I love the ankle support and there is something really comforting about the embrace of the leather shaft. Something between a security blanket and the cape Doro was mentioning. I feel stronger in my boots, ready to take on the world. My mind fills with images of regency soldiers, mounties and comic book superheros. As though my boots are possessed of ass-kicking super powers. Something about the whole package makes me feel ready to take on the whole world.

    As for my shoes in general, I am really fussy about the utility of my shoes. I demand comfort and will often scour dowdier comfort brands for the odd cute outlier that I can wear all day at work or not worry about in inclement Canadian weather – you only have your boss support you on the way to a meeting once! That said, with patience and a little luck I am accumulating a collection that really buoys me up. But my pumps really don’t give me the same feeling as a great pair of boots.

  21. Trystan (the CorpGoth)

    I’ve always loved shoes, even when I wore plain, practical shoes. But these days, there are SO many more options for comfortable yet stylish looking shoes (I second the rec. for the Barking Dogs blog & also brands like Clarks & Aerosols, which have so much more variety these days than just 10 years ago).

    We’re on our feet all our lives, walking, standing, just crossing our legs. Our bodies start at our feet & go up from there (or conversely, start at our head & end with a bang at our feet!). What’s on our feet matters & should matter to us.

    For my ‘power shoes,’ I love anything with a little bit of a heel bec. it makes me walk more consciously. The heel also emphasizes femininity plus makes this petite gal a smidge taller, which doesn’t hurt 😉 I love boots for walking, & I love pumps with an ankle strap which feels super sexy yet also old fashioned.

  22. Katharine

    I don’t know that I “love” shoes as much as women are supposed to, but certainly shoes will really tie an outfit together like nothing else will. And having the right shoes (for me at least) makes me feel as though no other accessory is needed.

    Shoes are more constant, in a way. I could wear the same pair with a different outfit all week, and each time they would look different, and still carry through whatever their singular style might be. There aren’t many other pieces of clothing that could do the same — a striking jacket, maybe, or a particularly well-spoken piece of “statement” jewellery. And they do ground one, both metaphorically and visibly.

    My “power” shoes…. hm, probably either my Fluevog Frankie knee-high boots, or any one of my three different models of Doc Marten Diva heels. A power shoe, for me, must be above all comfortable, and then good-looking.

  23. Frenchie

    I love your entry because I looooooove shoes. My husband has nicknamed me “Imelda Marcos” since I own about 100 pairs. Boots alone, I have six pairs. Boots make you walk more confidently, almost a “strut”. I love my shoes and store them in cloth-lined baskets (toe pointed down) and trade my baskets according to the season. The one thing I don’t “get” is those super high heels I see on a few women. They can’t walk properly, and I don’t even want to think about what that gate is doing to their back, hips, etc. High heels were a male invention (let them have them!) and are just an accident waiting to happen. I’ll stick to my lower heels (mostly wedges–I loooove wedges) and flats. Did I mention that I can’t pass a shoe store without looking?

  24. Aziraphale

    Great post, Sally! Funny, I was thinking about this topic just yesterday, as I sat with my thick-socked feet stuffed into beautiful new military green Fluevog pumps in an effort to make them comfy before venturing out of the house in them. (I can thank Audi; she bought the black ones recently and was wearing them in a blog picture. It didn’t occur to me to try them on last time I was at Fluevog, because they looked too plain, but when I saw Audi modeling them, I realized that they are elegant, flattering, and a little retro — right up my alley!). Anyway as I sat there admiring the shoes on my feet and feeling so happy about my purchase, I started thinking about exactly what your blog post is today — why do I love shoes so much? It’s true what you say about the emotional attachment women can have to their shoes — true for me, at least. Maybe it’s because shoes have such a defining influence on the overall vibe of the outfit?

    I don’t have an emotional attachment to ALL my shoes. I don’t care one bit about running shoes, for example, other than that they keep my feet and knees happy when I’m running. Runners are like equipment: necessary, but I’m not making a style statement with them. The same is true for my hiking shoes, hiking sandals and snow boots. And I have several pairs of shoes that are not gear, exactly, but I’m not in love with them.

    So which shoes/boots am I in love with, and why? It’s the ones that either up my style quotient (combat boots, white gogo boots), have a dramatic positive effect on the way my figure looks (high heels), or both (steampunk high-heeled boots). I think the attachment is so emotional because shoes can make me *feel* a certain way more than any other item of clothing. I tie up my combat boots and immediately feel tough and badass. When I walk in my high heels, head up, shoulders back and stomach in, I feel womanly, sophisticated and even powerful. I feel young and carefree in my cute red maryjanes. Shoes have this amazing power to transform your look as well as your attitude!

  25. Patience

    I have wide feet and many dress shoes pinch me, particularly around the spot where my big to joint is. Foot agony is a special kind of agony, believe me. I would love to be able to wear a variety of lovely shoes, but I absolutely can’t tolerate that pinched foot feeling. I also don’t like my stride to be impeded by high heels. Luckily, boots are kinder to wide feet and I have several pairs I like.

  26. Evelyn

    I’m in the bored by shoes camp. If I could wear the same pair of comfy sandals (currently Chacos) every day, I would. I love playing with colors, shapes, and different figure flattery priorities with my clothes, but I try to do it with as few pairs of shoes as possible. I have fussy feet, and I do not like heels. They are not comfortable, and more importantly, they don’t feel like “me.” A lot of cute flats have absolutely no arch support, and I want my shoes to be comfy for a long walk or bike ride. Shoes that have adequate arch support, are comfortable, and look attractive are often expensive, so I can’t play around with them as much as with other aspects of my wardrobe.

    As a grad student (and soon-to-be lecturer), I can get away with a more casual wardrobe than most businesswomen, so my shoe choices are often on the casual end of what I think a particular outfit allows. I don’t begrudge other women their love of shoes (although I hope that they are really thinking about whether it is worth it to wear things that give them blisters or bunions), but I sometimes wish there were less of an emphasis on footwear in fashion and female culture in this country. It can be a little alienating, and I think it definitely emphasizes form over healthy foot posture!

    Kind of rambly. Sorry. I’m glad you like your shoes, and I’m glad that lots of people see them as a part of style creativity!

  27. Megan Mae

    Shoes are the only accessory I can actually stand to wear. Some people are gaga for jewelry or hats or scarves.. and while I’ve acquired a few of those pieces here and there through gifts or impulse buys – shoes carry me through life.

    I have feet that can be fussy (not all the time), but I know I’ll need them forever. So I’ve always invested in shoes that are comfortable, cute, and interesting. I normally wouldn’t dare say I have a favorite pair, because they’re are all my favorites.. but my Fluevog black ankle boots (from the Time family, unsure of the style name) that I eBay’d have been my absolute workhorse. I wear them with everything. No matter how my feet feel I can walk anywhere in my ankle boots in any season. I’m kind of sad I sold off the identical pair in yellow, but they didn’t get nearly as much wear and I sent them to a very nice home in Canada.

  28. @R

    Am I the only one that heard Nancy Sinatra while reading this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbyAZQ45uww
    For me, much of the power of shoes is in their functionality, so it’s very rare you catch me in heels. But I can still have some fun with it, from my ankle-high gladiator sandals, to my knee-high riding boots!

  29. Jude

    Oh I LOVE shoes/boots!! Family and friends know they will lose me in the shoe department of any store. My favorites are my Indigo by Clarks combat/granny style boots, or perhaps the Gianni Bini Black Ties that just scream retro, or perhaps my red sequined Dorothy flats for when there is no place like home, or… Well you get the idea. There is an emotional attachment definitely. My shoes have nicknames.

  30. sarah

    tall lace-up boots (heel or no) are definitely my power shoe. I bought my first pair of combat boots when I was 22. They were on mad sale, I think I spent maybe $20 bucks? At the time, they were really out (hadn’t made a comeback yet) and everyone I knew thought I was crazy for buying them – but then I wore them for 7 or 8 years until they absolutely bit the dust. They were the perfect boots.

    you’ll also find me freewheeling the most “me” (and there’s a power to comfort, no?) in lace-up brogues, esp. if there is wingtip detailing. I ‘ve had a thing for jaunty menswear since I was a kid!

  31. Jessica

    I loved this! I also feel like my boots are my power shoes- heeled and flat in slightly different ways. But I also have to give a shout-out to my Sorels sandals that have traveled to many states and countries with me. I can walk and run and hike for days and days with nary a blister, and when I slip them on for he first time in late spring (or early spring, this year!) I get a thrill of excitement: Where will these shoes and I walk this summer? They are my wanderlust shoes.

  32. Anna D.

    I like shoes – especially tall boots; I covet your collection! – but I don’t think I love them the way some women do. I think it’s pretty simple, I have a hard time finding ones that fit, and shoes that don’t fit hurt. so. much. It’s not just the standard rubbing and causing blisters, either, because my feet are wide and be-bunioned. Shoes that are tight across the width (which is most of them) put pressure on my bunions and hurt like hell, even when nothing rubs or chafes or blisters or digs in anywhere. I’ve been in the middle of a meeting wondering frantically if anyone would notice if I took my shoes off because my feet hurt so badly – which is especially troublesome if you’re wearing boots that zip! (I try to avoid shoes that do this to me, obviously, but it’s not always obvious when you try them on, and sometimes you just really need a certain pair of shoes.)

    So I can understand the sentiments you describe about shoes here, but I don’t really share them. If I can find a great pair of shoes that fit properly I’m super thrilled, but so often it feels like I have to compromise between looks and comfort, that it takes the joy out of everything. I’m much more likely to have a power sweater, power jewelry, or (especially) a power pencil skirt than power shoes. (Or even power nail polish!)

    (I do have a pair of dark red suede-and-patent pumps from Sofft that I like a lot, and are a bit more “power” shoes, because, well, they’re red! And shiny! And basically all my other shoes are black, brown, or tan, so these shoes feel fairly kick-ass. And they’re pretty comfortable. And I got them for $35. But that’s as close as it gets.)

  33. Val C-MN

    I am not a shoe girl even though I have a nice collection (based upon working retail part-time for 11 years and being on my feet at least 12 – 15 hours a week). So, a good-sized collection of comfy but fashionable Birkenstock, Clarks, White Muntain, a couple of Dansko are what I have accumulated over the years. I can appreciate the “shoe girls” because their love of shoes is how I feel exactly about jewelry.

    Jewelry picks up my mood. I plan outfits around jewelry. It is my favorite thing to buy…especially gemstones. I coordinate sometimes based on gem stone family or on like colors/metals or contrasting/complementary colors/metals. I collect elephant jewelry, crosses, floral-shaped pendants, and watches too. Even though I love clothes and handbags, my love of jewelry is more prominent. 🙂 So, I can identify with those who may love shoes or love art and that their years of collecting/using those items bring them joy.

  34. Joelle

    Nobody talks about “ass-kicking flip-flops,” ya know?

    This is the only reason I enjoy cooler weather. I love hot weather, but always feel less powerful going about in my flip flops.

  35. Angela

    I am a “shoe girl” through and through. I don’t know exactly how many pairs I own, both because it would take too much effort to count them all and because I’d probably be embarrassed to know the truth–but I’m pretty sure it’s around a hundred pairs. I often wish I weren’t so captivated by footwear–my rational side loathes how unnecessary it all is–but something about the art of footwear really captures my fancy, for all the reasons you mentioned above and more.

    My power shoes are, without question, over-the-knee boots. I feel like they really highlight the length of my legs. I get compliments from strangers all the time when I wear them. I have leather ones in both black and brown, and a stretch sequined pair for very special occasions. As a bonus, I love how warm OTK boots keep my legs in winter. It’s a fantastic extra layer that really keeps the elements out!

    When OTK boots are out of season, my power shoes are several pairs of > 4″ stilettos that I feel like a million bucks in. They were relatively expensive, but they fit like a glove and are quite comfortable (as far as stilettos go). I can’t stand to wear cheap heels anymore because my feet are treated so well by the designer shoes I get so steeply discounted at Opitz and upscale consignment shops.

    “Mrs.M in MI” commented above about height and power. I have to concur that at 5’9″ and in 4-5″ heels, there really is something to be said about the feeling that comes along with being as tall, or even taller than many men. I quite enjoy it!

  36. Olivia

    I’m pretty “meh” on shoes for myself. I love looking at other women’s shoes, but for me I find have a lot of shoes feels excessive and frivolous. Years ago I pared mine down to about 20 pairs down from 40 (which still seems like a lot), and have since tried to only buy replacement shoes. One pair comes in, another pair must go.

    I also gave up high heals entirely due to arthritis in one of my feet and the last couple of years I’ve focused on replacing cheaper shoes with really well made, supportive shoes (birkenstock mostly). I actually find it much easier to get dressed when I only have a couple of choices for black shoes or brown shoes to go with my outfit.

  37. Jillian Schrager

    I wrote this eons ago. It seemed apropos.


    All I ask is that you
    carry me:
    Through my days.
    Through the streets.
    Through the world.
    That you protect me.
    That you serve as a platform
    when I stand.
    And slip off readily
    when I lie.

    I ask that you not contribute
    to the battering
    that is
    being alive:
    Please don’t
    make me bleed,
    or make disharmony
    in my gait
    (where it does not
    already exist.)

    I keep searching
    for you—
    in shop windows,
    in the places I visit
    away from my home.
    In my own tiny room,
    I look.
    But I find
    each day:

    Picking the right pair
    is very hard
    to do.