465230953At last count, I have 49 pairs of shoes and boots, which is pretty modest by Imelda Marcos standards. But in fact, my shoe collection is shrinking because I’m divesting myself of a lot of high heels. Here’s why:

I threw my back out

wearing three-inch heels last night.

Hello, consignment.

OK, it wasn’t literally last night. It was about five years ago (but I couldn’t make that fit the haiku syllable count). I went to a cocktail party and stood around in heels for about two hours. The next day, I couldn’t stand up straight.

Being a slave to fashion, however (I was voted best-dressed in high school, after all), I figured I’d keep the cute shoes and just sit more the next time I wore them.

Then a couple of years ago, my husband and I were invited to a black-tie, country-club wedding, and I bought a pair of black satin slingbacks with way-too-high heels to complete my outfit. My rationale was that after a few drinks at the reception I’d just slip them off, but in the meantime I’d look killer (and thinner with the extra height).

Wrong. My gait was so compromised walking in those heels that it looked like I had a load in my pants. The balls of my feet were howling just getting from the car to the church (the fat pads on our feet thin as we age). I aerated the 18th green as I walked to and from the family photo session since I couldn’t keep the stiletto heels of my f***-me pumps from sinking into the ground. And I was jolted out of sleep later that night with excruciating cramps in my calves.

All in the name of looking good.

Last year, after we remodeled our bedroom and built a new closet, I purged – finally taking most of my shoes with heels higher than two inches to the consignment shop. Note I didn’t say “all;” I’m like a smoker who quits but keeps a pack of cigarettes stashed away, just in case.

Then I read this fabulous quote by Cheryl Strayed in the December 2014 issue of Vanity Fair. She’s the author of the best-seller Wild, about her solo, 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (this is a woman who knows from comfortable shoes):

“I honestly think the real liberation of women is profoundly connected to the shoes we wear,” Strayed says. “Until we as a gender refuse to wear any shoe that would be uncomfortable to walk a mile in, we’re perfectly screwed.”

I prefer being liberated to being screwed. And you know what? They’re making some really cute, comfortable shoes these days.

What about you, boomer women (or men, if the shoe fits)…have you sworn off high heels?


Women and Shoes: Liberating My Feet was last modified: by

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