Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Soul Has a Rubber Sole

I want it all.

Yes, I mean I want shoes that are both cute and comfortable.

I have 12 pairs of shoes. I love each one of them. Keeping me from having an overflowing closet is the fact that I only buy shoes when they meet both of my demands.

It's tough. It requires patience. But it's worth it. And from my various attempts over the years to find the perfect shoes for imperfect feet (mine are overly long and narrow), I've learned a few lessons.

Lesson 1: Always buy rubber soled shoes.

Really, life's too short to bother with painful shoes.

I learned this lesson by the time I got to college. It was especially easy to achieve back then, since I had hippy tendencies and pretty much lived in my Birkenstocks (while playing Indigo Girls songs on my acoustic guitar, of course).

After visiting Edinburgh back when painting pictures on Doc Martens was all the rage, I decided to paint my paint-friendly rubber soled shoes: my Docs and my Converse. I hadn't yet discovered the existence of comfortable high heels, so I could at least have some fun with my shoes through art.

Aside: It's surprisingly difficult to find photos of shoes in old photos--for some reason photographers focus on faces and neglect the shoes, even when they are fabulous cherry Docs with a gargoyle painted on the side of them. But I still have my Converse with the head of a dragon I painted on the side.

Lesson 2: John Fluevog understands.

I didn't wear heels until pretty recently. I really wanted to, because at 5 foot 9, when I put on 3 inch heels I end up 6 feet tall, which is just so cool. But with my desire for comfort and challenge of having long and narrow feet, it was always difficult to find heels comfortable enough that I'd bother to wear them.

Nine West used to have a line called Could Nine with rubber soled high heels, but they discontinued the line in favor of more stylish, yet much less comfortable, shoes. Grr. With that change, out went my foray into the land of high heels--until I moved to San Francisco and made a wonderful discovery.

The Operetta line of Fluevog shoes proves that it is possible to make stylish shoes with comfort in mind. Oh, how I love these shoes. Pictured here are my burgundy operetta boots (above left), and black operetta mary janes (top right).

Lesson 3: eBay is your friend.

Even though John Fluevog understands how to make the perfect cute and comfortable shoe, he doesn't make his shoes with those of us who have day jobs at nonprofits in mind. After finding my size at the store, I wait for their twice-yearly sale or check the listings on eBay (the burgundy boots came from the former, and the mary janes from the latter).

Lesson 4: Color should not be feared.

It's true that it's not always easy to buy bright purple boots when there are sleek black ones next to them. But I've never regretted a single one of my colorful purchases.

If you've gotta have rain boots--which turned out to be quite necessary this winter--at least they can be fun.

But I always make sure those colorful shoes have rubber soles.



Juliet Blackwell said...

Let me know when the Operettas are on sale! I'm a convert already ;-)

Anonymous said...

Gigi--I'm 5'8" and love adding inches to my height, too, but with a size 10.5/11, fueling my boot fetish is difficult at best. (I had to get a pair of black slingbacks at Fredrick's of Hollywood because they go up to 14 or 15 for those stylish cross-dressers out there!)

I just checked the Fluevog website, and not only do they have pretty pretty shoes and boots in my size, they are fabulous. Thank you for the Fluevog knowledge!!!

Gigi Pandian said...

I no longer live close enough to a store to keep up on their in-store sales, but there's a sale on the Fluevog website right now :)

Their Mini line of heels also has rubber soles, but those ones never fit me right--they seem better for wider feet, whereas mine are ridiculously narrow.

Glad to help spread the shoe love!

Sophie Littlefield said...

Ever since you told me about your comfort rule, I've adopted it for my own. Why didn't I listen sooner? And isn't it weird how uncomfortable a pair of flats can be if they have no support? Cole Haan's nike sole shoes are my favorite splurge - but i haven't bought any since the economy tanked. When things brighten up again someday, they will probably be at the top of my list.

Christy Semsen said...

I'm wearing a very uncomfortable pair of flats right now. Blech. I am envious of your resolve, although perhaps not QUITE convinced, since I wear high heels often...

Daisy Bateman said...

So, I'm just going to go ahead and blame you guys for these snakeskin-patterned brown low wedge boots I got at Aerosoles yesterday, okay? Because I think you drove me to it. (Also, they were on sale. Like, really good sale. And comfy!)

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