I have a wall of shoes, and then some. I’m not going to give you a count because it’s an embarrassing amount. I will say “Imelda” escaped my cousin’s lips recently as she stood in my walk-in. Nuff said.
I’ve always loved shoes as long as I can remember beginning in high school with these bright multi-colored canvas numbers from a Kauai surf shop (think Toms in patchwork) and my beloved Tretorns. In college I wore my leather Calvin Klein loafers until there were holes and danced the night away in my white stiletto booties with silver studs. As a brand new college graduate I sported black, blue and taupe versions of office lady Bally flats (bought at a Liberty House sample sale event with my employee discount, score!). I also bought a few pumps that I proudly wore downtown rain or shine. As the years went on, flats in bridge and trendy lines started to get less clunky looking and more feminine. I began to stock my closet with ballet flats, strappy flat sandals and boots. As flats got cuter, heels also got higher (blame it on Sex and the City).
As I look in my closet today I see a variety of old and new. My vintage pairs bought ten or more years ago range from a kitten heel height to 2 or 3 inches max. Any high heeled sandals or pumps bought in the last four years are on average 4 inches or higher.
Now here’s the kicker! I’ve got a full wardrobe of heels from patent to cage to booties on steroids. Yet, I rarely wear high heels. Strutting at work is out of the question as I park in a gravel lot and would look silly as most of my co-workers don hard hats and steel toed boots. It’s even a high heel minefield of cobblestones and dogs who enjoy body checking me as I walk out to the car. My social life consists of walking in Paia town or eating sushi at Sansei, both slippa friendly.
Since I started on this minimal path, I knew I’d have to address the shoe wall at some point and the time has come. At first I mulled over how many high heels I should keep and which ones might come in handy for that rare social event or perhaps a different job in the future. I even considered keeping them all.
One night a few weeks ago changed my perspective. A higher power showed me the way, gave me clarity and I’ve now decided to free my walk-in of all high heels. That’s right, every last one of my fabulous reach for the sky heels is getting the, drum roll please, BOOT. Sayonara stilettos!
That night I spent a few hours at the computer and I didn’t drink enough water. As I was taking a shower I felt the familiar beginning of a cramp. Calf cramps are nothing new for me, I’ve suffered from night cramps my entire life in my right leg. I’ve been able to manage though by staying hydrated, stretching and not overtaxing my legs. That leg is my “problem” leg. In addition to cramping, I’ve also had tendonitis and have torn that calf muscle. So, that night I drank a little water before getting into bed. I usually do a whole glass before I fall asleep as I read and watch tv. But that night I drank half a glass and passed out before I had a chance to drink anymore. I woke up with a cramp in my right calf and immediately flipped around to stretch it out on the wall like I normally do. Typically I can get the cramp to stop in a minute but not this night. The cramping did not stop for fifteen minutes, it kept coming back in waves. For a week after, my right calf continued to ache, which is also normal for me after cramping but then something different happened. I started to have numbness in both feet and was finding it increasingly difficult to sit for long periods of time and impossible to sit if my feet were not firmly flat on the floor. I’m standing as I write this post. If my feet didn’t get numb, I would get the nagging cramp starting feeling. If my legs weren’t feeling weird, my back ached. It also became increasingly difficult for me to find a good position to sleep, needless to say I wasn’t getting any shut-eye either. I’ve seen my doctor a few times. They took a ton of blood and an ultrasound and ruled out all sort of nasty conditions (good news!) but still don’t know what’s wrong with me (bad news!). So, I will be seeing a neurologist soon and I’m also working with a physical therapist. It appears I may have tweaked something in my back that night, which could now be affecting my nerve. But we shall see, the verdict isn’t in yet but I wait with bated breath.
As I’ve struggled with the latest in my ongoing right leg drama, what to do with my heels became clear. Why the hell am I holding on so tightly to my high heels? For someone who has calf issues as I do, you would have to be a crazy person to wear footwear that forces your calf into a constricted position. The position your foot is in while wearing a high heel is very similar to the position your foot is in before a calf cramp engages. Even if I only plan on wearing a high heel on a special occasion, WHY?
Heels are flattering. Your legs look skinnier in dresses, longer in trousers and sexier from all angles. A great pair of heels can elevate a plain LBD from dowdy to cute in the seconds. Beautiful shoes are also like little works of art. I could also wear high heels. I wasn’t uncomfortable in heels because I bought good shoes. Heels that are well made and constructed are generally better than their cheaper imitations. I also never bought shoes that didn’t fit me well. If they don’t feel comfy in the store, you’ll be ready to throw them out the window after an hour. I always made sure my full foot rested on the last (this is key, if your arch is elevated off the shoe, you’ll be a raving bitch by the end of your social event). While heels didn’t cause me any pain on the surface, it just became 100% clear to me that I didn’t want to do anything that aggravates stiffness in my calf one little bit, not even once or twice a year.
So the heels are looking for new homes and I’ll be ok less a high heel (or two, or three, or fifty). I love ballet flats, sandals and boots. I even love my Birkenstocks (Gizeh suede in taupe). I’m keeping my vintage classic Prada pointy toed kitten heels and boots with low stacked heels. I may even eventually pick up what I think of as a flat wedge (a low wedge with less of an incline from toe to heel) for a little height. But anything that requires me to pull my foot up in a pointed position or that I’m scared to wear on uneven ground (think skinny wedge, totally hot but unstable if you step on a pebble) is finding a new home.
Since many of my shoes are unworn or gently used (shopaholic cringe, what a waste!), I’ll be trying to make a few bucks off of my inventory. I’m no Carrie Bradshaw in regards to labels but I think I can earn a little bit. I’ve decided to list on Poshmark , a social media mobile market platform. If they don’t sell there I may try other sites or just go the consignment route.
Buh bye high heels! I’ll miss you, sniff, but we are no longer compatible. It’s not me, it’s you.
Interested in learning more about Poshmark? I’ll write a post later this week on this very easy to use app. The image above is a screen capture from my Poshmark shop.