List 2: Shoe Memories

Last week I wrote about aspirations. This week my topic is a lot more down to earth. Actually touching the earth to be precise.

Like many women (and men) I like shoes. As I’ve grown older my shoe collection style has become more focused on quality than quantity, and there are a lot fewer heels over 3 inches tall. Still, I continue to like shoes.

Below is a list of shoes I’ve had over the years. Some were or are favorite shoes. Others stand out in my mind because of the memories I have of them. I’ve tried to keep it roughly in chronological order.

  1. Brown oxford elementary school uniform shoes. These were, of course, required and ugly. Mine were always scuffed. I remember at one point asking for tap shoes. Instead my parents put taps on an old pair of these. They used the small taps that are used to protect the soles of men’s dress shoes instead of the large taps used by dancers. I was incredibly disappointed.
  2. “Chinese shoes.” Fabric Mary Janes with a brown plastic sole. I went through a lot of these. At the time we lived in San Francisco and would buy them for cheap in Chinatown. Then we went to Hong Kong, where they were even cheaper, and my parents got a bunch in sizes I could grow into.
  3. Moon boots. I guess us kids of the 80s can’t criticize Uggs too much since moon boots were even uglier. To our credit, however, I recall only wearing them in the snow rather than year round with mini skirts.
  4. White Keds tennis shoes. I wore them until they were filthy and had holes worn in the toes.
  5. Penny loafers. I wore put dimes in mine to be different (just like my friend Julie).
  6. Black lace dress shoes, my first heels (although at an inch-and-a-half I’d consider them practically flats today). I also had black lace fingerless gloves to match. Viva the 80s!
  7. Black leather dress shoes with a triangle heel. These were your classic 80s women’s professional shoe. Since I was too young for power suits I wore mine with ruffly mini-skirts and lace trimmed socks. Yes, this looked ridiculous, but I didn’t know that at the time.
  8. Reebok black aerobic high tops with double velcro straps around the ankle worn with 1-2 pairs of scrunchy socks.
  9. Reebok bright pink chunky high tops. I also wore these with scrunchy socks.
  10. Nike saddle shoes (purple). I was so excited when we got these for our flag team uniforms. They were so much more fun than the plain white shoes we had my freshman year. I thought these shoes were cool. Of course, I also thought being on flag team was cool.
  11. Cream, faux-button ankle boots. I wore them “for real” with leggings in high-school then as costume shoes for plays in college.
  12. Bright purple, over-the-knee, suede boots. Yes, really.
  13. Doc Martens black, eight-hole boots. A 90s college staple.
  14. Kenneth Cole black suede platform shoes with a double ankle strap and a curved heel. I actually had an ad featuring these shoes on the wall of my dorm room as cheap art. I later got myself a real pair while on a trip to Providence.
  15. Doc Martens black brogues. I traipsed around Europe in these during my study abroad program.
  16. Doc Martens pink “wet look” eight-hole boots. I never quite knew what to wear with these. They were in near mint condition when I gave them to a friend years after buying them.
  17. Beige suede shoes with a low heel and straps that made an X bought for my first professional job. I often wore them with a beige suit under which I wore a beige silk t-shirt. Oh, the blandness! I did tend to wear a giant dragon necklace with this outfit to try to counteract the boring.
  18. White go-go boots. I wore them with a vintage swimsuit, a broad-brimmed hat, and cats-eye sunglasses as Bettina Barnes in a production of Psycho Beach Party.
  19. Hush Puppies grey and black saddle shoes. I went through a menswear-at-work period for a while. There were suspenders. I’m embarrassed for me, too.
  20. Hush Puppies black oxfords with white piping. Apparently I was Ellen Degeneres in a former life.
  21. Hush Puppies lavender and white two-toned oxfords. Do you get that I went through a Hush Puppies period?
  22. Red patent leather mary janes with a bit of a heel. These were cheap shoes that I didn’t wear often. They make the list only because I remember wearing them to see a play. I sat in the front row. After the performance a friend complained that it was hard to concentrate on this serious play about a Jew in Nazi Germany who becomes a Carmelite nun (Edith Stein) when she kept getting glimpses of my red shoes. Sorry, Streeter!
  23. Faux-fur, cheetah-pattern boots that laced to the knee, had a two inch platform and a 5-inch heel. I bought them at a store in Pittsburgh that specializes in fetish wear, but I actually wore these in public. I used to masquerade as a wild woman.
  24. Tall black boots. I’ve had at least 4 pairs of these over the years. I am thankful that Condi Rice helped boots become accepted as business attire so I can wear them to work without worrying people will think I’m Mistress Julie. (I’m not.)
  25. Tall brown boots. See above but in brown.
  26. Aerosoles tan open-toed slingbacks in ostrich. I bought these while on a business trip to Manhattan. For some reason I rarely wore them, so eventually I got rid of them. I wish I hadn’t as I would definitely wear them now.
  27. Peter Fox black period boots that our theatre company bought when I played Hedda Gabler. Having such fancy shoes made me feel like quite the diva. That and the fact that my costume changes were done by a team of people working around me like a NASCAR pit crew.
  28. Steve Madden velvet peep-toes with pewter-colored leather on the stilletto and ankle strap. These make me wish I had more occasions to get really dressed up.
  29. Nine West pink ankle strap heels. I bought these specifically to wear on a much anticipated date. The guy was a disappointment, but I still have the shoes.
  30. Puma black and white lace-up flats. The laces cross on the foot multiple times then wrap around the ankle. They are funky yet practical and comfortable. I’ve had them for years.
  31. Nine West mauve heels with plum accent on the toe and heel. In my DC days I was still wearing four inch heels to work, and these were in heavy rotation. They also happen to be the shoes I was wearing the first time I went out with my now-husband.
  32. Aerosoles black strappy sandals with cream over-stitching details. The stitching almost gives them a star-burst effect. I love these because they are 3-inch heels that I can wear for a while without feeling like I never want to walk again.
  33. Turquoise strappy sandals with a stacked wood wedge heel. Whenever I wear wedges I think of Blair from The Facts of Life who said, “Wedges are tacky.”
  34. Champagne satin dress shoes that I wore for my wedding. Because of my love of shoes you would think for my wedding I would have been exceptionally picky. That was not the case. My maid-of-honor designed and made my dress. It was in an unusual shade of off-white, so I just looked for  any pair of shoes that would match and that didn’t have a very high heel (as not to exaggerate the fact that I’m taller than my husband).
  35. Rainbow thin-strapped flip flops in brown. My summer bumming around shoes. I already have this seasons tan lines from them.
  36. Kenneth Cole black ballet flats with unbelievably soft leather. I loved these but wore them through my pregnancy with my daughter which stretched them out to the point of destruction. I really should get new ones.
  37. Hunter rain boots in bright purple. They make rainy days less dreary.
  38. Timberlake pull-on boots with a chunky heel. These were my go to all last fall and winter.
  39. Toms Alessandro Burlap Ballet Flats. I never liked the looks of regular Tom’s, but I really like these.
  40. Earthies Bright Red Veria. (Not to be mistaken for the Veria Too, which are wedges) These are my favorite shoes right now. They are heels that aren’t uncomfortable. They are red and always get me compliments.

Earthies Veria Bright Red

What are your favorite shoe memories?

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