Archive for October, 2008


2008 Washington, DC High Heel Race

From politicians to pop stars, there is not much you won’t see at the annual High Heel Race in Washington, D.C.

For twenty-two years on the Tuesday before Halloween, 17th street near Dupont Circle is closed down for a foot race like nothing I have ever seen before. When I first heard about this race several years ago, my initial reaction was whether I could enter. I thought I stood a pretty good chance at anything involving shoes. I’m also pretty fast, as I spent most of my childhood outrunning my earthworm-toting cousins. My hopes were quickly dashed, though, as I realized this was a male-only race. The prizes vary by year, but the stiletto trophy is what all racers truly covet.

Being an election year, Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama were adequately represented, and it really wouldn’t be a High Heel Race without at least one Britney Spears. I remember several years ago Britney, KFed, and a baby carriage all made an appearance. It’s truly amazing some of the sights you’ll see: DC is home to some very talented drag queens! However, while the costumes are phenomenal, what never ceases to amaze me is how fast these men can move in heels! The racers don’t wear little kitten heels either; most participants wear platforms that would make any Spice Girl jealous.

Faster and perhaps funnier than the tried and true drag queens are the average Steve Slingbacks that run the race. I’ve seen plenty of girls that can barely walk in 3 inch heels much less run a race. I think there is a lesson to take from this: perhaps before we try walking in heels, we need to master sprinting in stilettos!


Dress Up Deals

If you’re feeling uninspired this Halloween, just do what comes naturally: Work up from the shoes. Here are my picks for cheap, adorable, wear-them-in-real-life footwear (that you can still run out and get tonight).

Whether you’re a skirt and lipstick-wearing pit bull or part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits, make a political power play in patent gray pumps: Mossimo Viviana Pumps, Target $27.

Grab a boa, black dress and bright red lipstick. You’re a flapper. While it’s no fun to think about how the whole excessive booze, sex and costume jewelry trend ended with the Great Depression, it is a good reminder of how important a bargain can be: Mary Jane Pumps, Target, $23.

With a green dress and fairy wings, you’re Tink and these ballet flats will bring you back to life anytime: Lizard Flats, Wal-Mart, $7 (Bonus, use the site-to-store feature to see if they’re in your local Wal-Mart).

You’ll need a short skirt to show off these peep toe pumps. I’m thinking 80’s prom queen. Then wear them to every holiday party on your calendar. Just ditch the tiara first: d’Orsay Peep-Toe Pumps, Wal-Mart, $19.

An homage to Pocahontas is nothing short of historical with these fringe boots: Airwalk Ralston Fringe Boot, Payless, $35.

Get the best of both worlds, comfort and style, with a blonde wig and Hannah Montana Tee: Airwalk Toxin Argyle Skimmer, Payless, $20.


Asically Infatuated

For a runner, almost nothing is as important as our shoes—a little tip I learned the hard way.
When I first started seriously running (more than 10 miles a week), I was still buying my running shoes at the local general fitness store—in other words, I was an injury waiting to happen. Soon enough, there it was: a stress fracture.
Four weeks without running (and with a super fashionable boot) ensued and as anyone addicted to the sport knows, four days is hard to deal with, let alone 28. I was miserable, sad and in no mood to get hurt again.
During my down time, I learned a few things:
1.) A runner needs to replace his or her shoes every 250 miles. This means if you log 25 miles a week (like me), you shoud buy new shoes every 10 weeks. I know that seems insane, but like most addictions, it isn’t cheap to feed. Look at it this way: running shoes are cheaper than crack.
2.) A runner needs to have their gait analyzed professionally. I am an overpronator, which means I roll my foot inward with every step. When I ran on the track team I was plagued by shin splints. This is why. I need stability shoes.
3.) A runner who is serious needs to buy shoes at a running specialty store from runners.
My new shoes were beautiful stability shoes from the local running store. Pricier? Maybe. But my legs thank me for it after every run. No more shin pain. No more worn soles. I get new shoes four or five times a year and try to stick with the same model.
I love these Asics more than just about anything. And the upshot? My shoes are always pristine. After all, how much dirt can accumulate in just 10 weeks?
So run I do and look running chic, to boot. Now if only I were as diligent about my sports bras….


No Really, Sassy is In This Season

My recent discovery of these Betty-Boop inspired heels served as the catalyst for upping the sassiness factor; I promptly added ‘patent leather bag’, ‘chic coiff’ and ‘bright red lipstick’ to the shopping list after picking up these too-cute heels, the pair that matched perfectly with my basic black pencil skirt and ruffled white blouse for the office.

I had officially turned into Miss Sassy Pants (in a skirt)…

Wing tips and tassels aren’t usually found adorning a pair of ladylike heels, but ‘tis the season to stretch your boundaries with this uber-chic pair from Moschino.

My recent discovery of these Betty-Boop inspired heels served as the catalyst for upping the sassiness factor; I promptly added ‘patent leather bag’, ‘chic coiff’ and ‘bright red lipstick’ to the shopping list after picking up these too-cute heels, the pair that matched perfectly with my basic black pencil skirt and ruffled white blouse for the office. I had officially turned into Miss Sassy Pants (in a skirt), and enjoyed the extra attention on an otherwise dull and uneventful Friday afternoon. Trotting along to the company cafeteria with the matching handbag in tow garnered me plenty of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’, along with gasps coupled with ‘cute shoes!’.

Ah yes, the much needed, always anticipated, outcome of a shoe success story; I’m still relishing that afternoon.

These shoes are a great pick-me-up for the onset of the winter blues, a leather and suede combo that will keep your feet plenty warm and toasty during the cooler days ahead; These beauties are sure to fire up any day with the stylish red and black color combo; 4” heels that are comfortable to wear day or night; what more could you ask for? When you’re not in the mood to be creative with your makeup or jewelry, just pull on these sassy shoes and trot along like it’s nobody’s business (it isn’t).

Go on, do away with your usual Plan B platforms and basic booties this year; stir things up a little, make a bold statement.

Just add this one to the holiday wishlist…or set aside some of that paycheck (the electric bill can wait a few more days, can’t it?).


Going the Distance (and then some)

Night Splint from Hell

A year ago I did something very stupid—I ran a half marathon. Now, before the fit and fabulous start bombarding me with hate mail please let me explain. I ran a half marathon and I didn’t train for it.

As a former cross country runner, I should have known better. I was prepared and trained for a leg of the marathon. However when I reached the end of the leg, I felt inspired to keep running. Despite a small ache, that felt like a pebble was stuck in my shoe, I found myself at mile 13 relatively quickly and absolutely exhausted.

Two days later, I was barely able to walk. The small ache now felt like a tumor the size of a baseball pushing into my heel. I was a 24 year old cripple, who prided herself on an active lifestyle. In a nutshell, I hated myself. A year later and the problem still plagues me, but I have found relief with horse-like pain killers, stretching, and rest. I also found out that I fractured my foot somewhere along the lines and could have carpal tunnel in my ankles. So much for forever young.

What really kills me (aside from the ever versatile and sexy bottie I have to wear to bed—pictured above) is the fact that I have to wear sneakers during the day. At first I was ecstatic, but quickly became saddened. How am I to partake in all the fall trends? If I can’t wear the high heeled boots, I can’t wear the new Hudson peg leg jeans or darn a Chloe purse. Okay, I can’t afford the purse, but you get the picture. I might as well die in my sweat suits.

Lucky for me, Wendy inspired me to look around for a sneaker that didn’t scream GYM this week via her web video on 10/23. These monogrammed keds are perfect for preppy Baltimore. They still won’t go with my dress for dinner tonight, but they will at least get me to work without looking like I stepped out of Nine to Five a la Dolly Parton.


Help! Will Date for Shoes!

Shopping for shoes is a lot like Speed Dating. The average shoe-lover can enter a store, size up the merchandise and select or eliminate what she wants in minutes—the same time it roughly takes her to form an opinion about a man.

I signed myself up for one of those “tried and true” dating sites once during a dry spell. I answered all the questions, got my profile set up and waited to see who the people behind the dating curtain paired me up with. I experienced a strange sense of both curiosity and loss of control. What if I had no matches?

Soon enough, my curiosity was satisfied. The computer sent me match after match. The problem was, every time I got the nerve to check out one of these potential sole mates, I was disheartened by the clear mismatch I felt at my end.
Then I realized, dating and shoe-shopping have one thing in common. They’d both be so much easier if our happiness depended on their exteriors. Sounds cliché, I know, but think about it—how many times have we girls had our eyes and hearts set on a shoe and when we finally have the money to buy it, we try it on and it either looks or feels all wrong?

The same can be said for dating. Most of the men I’ve gone out with have been “good on paper”—in other words, they looked good, they seemed normal, but underneath the swarthy charm and designer duds they were nothing more than giant duds themselves. Strike 1,2,3,4 etc.

That said, how many of us have a tried and true pair of inexpensive heels stowed away in the back of our closet that—even though we’ll never admit it—get more wear than the fancy Louboutins or Blahniks because, well, they’re just more comfortable?
For me, it’s a pair of black suede peep toe wedge heels by Kors. They’re tall, but the wedge allows me to wear them standing for long periods at a time. They’re beat up and the threading along the seams sometimes comes out and gets a bit tangled. But without fail, when I need a shoe that makes my legs look good and keeps my ankles from buckling (despite the questionable number of drinks I may pour down my gut) I know where to turn.

So guys and gals, go take a peep through your closets. Turn the light on, crane your necks, and look waaay in the back. You know where they are. Pull out those “old reliables” dust them off and give credit where credit is due! I guarantee you, you won’t be sorry!

P.S. Will get back to you on the dating front… I’m still figuring that one out!


Loving My Limited Edition, Elk Leather Boots

Who knew that an exquisite pair of limited edition elk leather boots could solve several problems and eradicate my antipathy towards sub-zero temperatures?

You see, Jason and I want to wean ourselves off of our car driving dependence. It’s an idea that I always endorse in the summer but hesitate on when I get cold feet in autumn. Going green is such a complex equation of individual economics, environmental awareness, and personal comfort.

Jason never seems to waver. Being originally from Wisconsin, my dyed in the wool, green and gold, Packer loving husband has a fondness for frigid temperatures that I can’t fathom. Ever since he switched from San Francisco to Boston for our relationship four years ago, he’s relished the cinnamon scented breezes, apple cider donuts, crackling hardwoods, and other quintessential warnings that winter is about to envelop New England.

Not me. Even when I pledged myself to take a walk a day for the next year as part of an exercise in the Jacob Pillow’s Choreographers’ Lab, I knew I might balk by mid-October. Don’t get me wrong, my three-mile commute is not inconvenient and I do appreciate how it awakens my senses. As a native of Nashville, however, I despise the discomfort of slogging through slush and snow and suffering through the rest of the day with soggy toes.

Also, as you may have read, my quest for knee high boots had been frustrating and fruitless until I snuggled into a pair of fleecy Sorel Caribou Reserves. I am pleased to announce that these shearling lined confections can indeed circumnavigate my unusual calves with ease, warmth, and style. Unlike those trendy rain boots that I had to return last fall, Sorel’s reinforced handmade rubber soles won’t rip open after a few trips through town and the breathable elk uppers keep feet from getting sweaty and foul.

Even my dance students, who have never noticed my shoes before, glowed with emerald hued envy when they spotted these black leather beauties parked by the studio door. And though strangers have stopped to gawk on the sidewalk at their stylish exterior, these classic waterproof Caribou’s will keep me cozy and dry at –40 degrees.

If you want to join me in my newfound fair weather fandom, don’t dither because only 1,250 pairs were made for this winter. Unlike the sub-prime mortgage market, these boots are a worthwhile investment that could last longer than the Polar ice caps. And, as added incentive, if you use them to commute, they will pay for themselves quite quickly, especially if gas prices go back up.

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October 2008
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