My sister wore disco-era platform sandals to my wedding, 25 years after “Saturday Night Fever.” Still, I better recollect coveting those cork and leather sky-scrapers than I remember reciting my wedding vows. I love impractical shoes.
I have signed up for Salsa class simply to justify purchasing strappy velvet and rhinestone heels, I’ve obsessed over red mules for weeks after spying a pair peeking out from under the raggedy denim hem of a girl across a dark bar, I’ve endured blisters and bruised toes rather than slip out a too-tall pair of Mary Jane wedges. Not that I hold any records for my diva-worthy stiletto collection, but I adore ankle-wrenching footwear with an enthusiasm only neared by my love of dark chocolate and off-dry Chenin Blanc.
However, other than to the occasional holiday party or romantic dinner, I never wear dangerous heels. A handful of pairs languish in their boxes on my closet shelf, but I regularly pass them over because, as much as delicate, stacked peep-toes would compliment my trouser jeans, I can’t face walking any distance in them. And walking is what I do.
Every morning, I walk my dogs a couple of miles. Then I walk the mile-commute to my office, often taking my lunch-break to run errands around town. By foot. So when I say, “walk a mile in my shoes,” I really mean more like five miles. Great for my calves, not so great on my soles.
But, even though my dedication to fitness, a smaller carbon footprint, and the mood-heightening affects of walking keep me out of the tall shoes I desire, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. And, slowly but surely, I’ve begun to develop an appreciation for cute flats.
High on my list of favorites: edgy takes on the ballet flat (buckles instead of saccharine bows), canvas skimmers in colorful retro prints, and slightly sporty leather Mary Janes that marry form and function. My go-to pair came from the Kenneth Cole Tribeca line. Thick, rubbery soles stand between me and the sidewalk, while soft chestnut leather works with jeans and skirts. The adjustable straps Velcro snugly, a futuristic nod from a style that has been around forever. (This season’s Kenneth Cole “Charming” Mary Janes have a similar vibe.)
Do I still long for the towering height of an ambitious platform? Sure. But I can always carry it in my tote bag until I get wherever I’m going. For the commute, I’ll stick to my flats, thanks very much.