Friends would never accuse me of a shoe fetish — thank goodness for that! You won’t find gazillion dollar charges on my credit cards for Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik or other fashionista brands. But I care a lot about wearing the right shoes, when it counts.
Shoes for Boating
All last week I lived in boat shoes that featured a really grippy sole, ideal for moving around on wet sailboat decks.
We were on a weeklong charter with 3 other friends, and I had to be ready to handle my share of crew chores. Yoga gave me core strength for handling lines and docking maneuvers, but shoes with plenty of traction kept me safe.
Wearing the right footgear made all the difference in comfort, stability — and on wet sailboat decks — personal safety. No one wants to cause a “man overboard” rescue just because their shoes lost traction while motoring at speed.
My girlfriend’s so-called boat shoes were the same brand as mine, but hers quickly became uncomfortable and had no traction. Even though she bought her shoes at West Marine, a boating specialty store, they were fashion shoes, not true boat shoes. (Admittedly, her feet looked more attractive offshore than mine.)
Her choice of shoes constrained how she could help with sailing activities, limiting her to times when surfaces were dry or stability in motion wasn’t an issue. Buying the wrong shoes ended up frustrating her; fortunately, our sunny weather meant her non-grippy shoes did not put her at risk.
Shoes for Walking
My aunt worked as a PR maven in Manhattan during the height of the Mad Men era. She showed me how years of walking on NYC pavements in high heels had deformed her feet and crumpled her toes together. Her message: learn from my mistake. I was shocked to see how mangled her feet had become, and never forgot her lesson.
Instead you’ll see me wearing dusty walking shoes from Mephisto, ugly but supremely comfortable shoes that enable me to walk for hours when visiting places like Barcelona or Paris. I may look like the ugly American, but my feet are happy to venture out day after day because they are not crippled with pain or debilitating blisters.
I’m happy to live in Seattle, where people are willing to sacrifice fashion for comfort. At least most of the time…