Every summer I am flummoxed by the weather and my footwear. I don’t exactly know how this happens, because I have lived through 32 summers now and you would imagine I would have had sufficient practice. Apparently not.
Every year, the summer rolls round and I pull out my shoe-drobe.
- Hello, scuffed ballet flats that give me blisters and through the sole of which I can feel every grain of stone in the pavements.
- Hello, sandals with an ugly heel, so that I can walk in them, but straps that give me blisters, so I can’t walk in them.
- Hello, trainers that have a tiny hole in the lining material in the heel, so they cut up my feet.
- Hello, shoes I cannot wear socks with, but also cannot go without socks because apparently I have the sweatiest feet known to the human race (you’re welcome).
And I tried those little beige-coloured canoe-shaped non-sock things that hide under the shoe and they did not stay on my feet long enough to put my shoes on. I cannot speak of them, it makes me too angry. Especially as I bought a five pack.
- Hello, winter ankle boots which are suddenly no longer water tight, so my feet become drenched when it rains because which other shoe could I possibly wear?
- Hello, shoes which cannot be worn with skirts (because clunky)
- Hello, shoes with tiny spindly heels (so impractical for walking as often and as far as I do, yet I continue to purchase them because PRETTY)
- Hello, shoes which I bought online and DO NOT FIT, despite valiant attempts on my part to remedy this fact with multiple insoles.
- Hello, flip-flops which are NOT SHOES, but are in fact instruments of injury (see: losing the top of my big toe, summers of blisters).
I’ve actually taken to looking at every stationary woman on the escalator as I march past, checking out the options available. How on earth are other women doing shoes?
I’m particularly intrigued by women who are wearing proper high heeled shoes in the tube. Taxi shoes, yes, I understand, but these women are getting themselves to the tube and then leaving the tube to go onwards by foot. Sometimes through a park. They aren’t all carrying trainers in their bag. How on earth are they travelling through London in heels?
This did not used to be my reaction. I don’t know what happened. One moment, I was 18 in purple suit trousers and a red velvet halterneck (horrified when my friend Dan pointed out that this didn’t “go” – he may have had a point. I have never been one for the full-length mirror) and running along cobble stones in strappy black sandals with a four inch heel, the next I was 32 and clutching at hand rails like I’d broken a leg and the floor was made of glass in shoes with a clumpy two inch heel.
I’m fairly tall, but have short legs and I take long, stumpy strides like a giant man, making skirt-wearing a challenge. Anything less than a circle skirt is a belt on me within 2 minutes.
Once I made the mistake (scratch that, this whole story is filled with many many mistakes) of wearing a bodycon dress to a work event with heels. I had to walk from Westminster tube station to St James’s Park – about a ten minute stroll. Half way across the bridge I was *incredibly* grateful to be wearing a long coat. My dress had slithered to my groinal area. Completing the look were the lurching steps I took in the heels I had stupidly chosen to wear that day. It was an utter disaster. The only solution was to be in stockinged feet and stay behind the welcome desk, where neither my feet, nor my skirt could be seen.
Big strides don’t work in heels. I have no idea what happened to me, but now my feet won’t stay in heels, my legs won’t co-operate with the height and my torso is VERY unhappy at being this unstable. It’s upsetting, to say the least. I’m a very stable, sturdy sort of girl. There’s nothing of the Bambi about me. And yet, heels might as well be ice-skates.
Are women only walking short distances in heels? Are they changing their shoes? Are they practicing more? Are their feet different to mine? Is it because they go to the gym? How are other women breaking in shoes so as to not have blisters? Have my feet become ridiculously sensitive with age? Is that a thing?