Rising to New (Shoe) Heights

Posted on March 7, 2012


In the course of trying to de-clutter my closet (a necessary evil), I  have sadly discovered yet another aspect of middle-age. In my younger days (pre-grandmotherhood), I regularly donned many a kick-ass,  stylish high-heel for work and partying.  My footwear selection now seems to have morphed into somewhere between a clog/mule and a comfortable Tender Tootsie. So what happened? I guess that one fractured ankle and another severely sprained one (though not at the same time thankfully) made me review my priorities. After all, given a choice between another leg splint and a hi‑rise platform beauty, I suppose a lower heel will win out. But oh how pretty some of those ol’ high heels were. Sigh …

I remember a particular pair of burgundy, designer, open-toed, stiletto pumps that I snagged decades ago for a steal of a price at a one-day shoe “event” (aka a no-holds barred, estrogen-loaded mad dash of a sale). They were beautiful but impractical for standing for long periods or even sidewalk strolling. (Gee, that sounds like I’m one of those sidewalk strollers in stilettos – but I am certainly not!)

Those days seem to be gone

Nevertheless, I decided they gave me an elegant stature, akin to a graceful swan (at least in my mind), and they would elevate me to an appropriate height to pair with my husband’s six-foot frame at his company’s banquets. Luckily, I didn’t have to do much actual walking in them for those occasions. Yeah, I thought I looked pretty cool! They were nick-named my “banquet shoes”.

But it was when I tripped over my front doorstep in my slippers (yes, slippers) and fractured my ankle that my high-rise shoe affair sadly ended. During my recovery, it was difficult to even walk on a gravel pathway with flats. That’s when I realized I was either going to have to adjust my style or pain tolerance (i.e., walk like Igor, dragging my foot behind me). Since the Igor look only really works around Halloween, I rethought the footwear. I would have to accept my short stature and fragile ankles.

So now I have a range of comfortable mid-heel pumps all the way to orthotic wedges depending on whether my feet are complaining or not. It’s a bit humbling. Shoes still hold a special place in my heart, and I still am in awe of some of the designer shoes that the young gals are parading around in at the mall, without doing bodily harm. (Example: Have you ever witnessed a young office worker in London, England scooting over those nasty cobblestone walkways in 6-inch stilettos without batting an eye?  I have; it’s scary crazy.)

Sure, wisdom comes with experience, but you can bet that I’m going to resist any ol’ “granny lace-up’s” for as long as possible.

Posted in: Mid-Life Quirks