These shoes are made for walking

I now understand why so many old people wear athletic shoes. It’s because their feet hurt. It makes no difference to them that they are wearing shoes that are meant for running marathons. What’s important to them is putting on a pair of shoes that makes them say, “ahhh.” Because when your arches ache or your toes don’t bend like they used to, even if you’re only walking from the refrigerator back to the La-Z-Boy, all that gel cushioning feels awfully good.

Why do I know this? I know it because my feet hurt too. And as much as I would like to keep wearing my pointy-toed pumps, I have come to the realization that when my feet hurt, there ain’t no sunshine in the world and I am likely to start singing the “I’m Walking on Bloody Stump Blues.”

I knew I was in trouble when I started planning my day around my footwear. “Hmmm, I can’t stop at the grocery store today because I can barely squeeze my feet into the shoes that match my outfit and if I have to walk across the parking lot and I am likely to be weeping by the time I get to the entrance.”

But like so many aspects of getting older, having to accept that things I was once able to do – or in this case, things that I was able to wear – have changed, isn’t easy for me. I’ve resisted giving up that pair of really cute faux snakeskin pumps that I got a fantastic deal on at Nordstrom Rack is because I associate comfortable shoes with being old.

One of the most vivid memories I have of my grandmother is the sensible shoes she always wore. Regardless of the season or occasion, she always had on the same black, lace-up oxfords. But then I have to remind myself that her generation had other options for what to wear; she actually liked acting old and prim.

Another reason it’s been hard for me to accept that I could no longer wear most of the shoes in my closet is because they represent many wonderful shopping trips that my daughters and I made to Nordstrom Rack stores and the good times we shared together. For instance, I got the red pumps with buckle the first time we ever when to a Nordstrom Rack store; it was in Century City in LA when Valerie and I were there for a gymnastics meet at least five years ago. And the cute black and white fabric flats – I got those when the girls and I made a day of it in Sacramento. Never mind the pain I feel when I wear these shoes, I can get teary just looking at them.

But enough sentimentality. Especially because it’s my own fault that so many pairs of my shoes are destined for Goodwill. When I was shopping for them at Nordstrom Rack, I often found a pair that I loved but they were just a little snug – but I bought them anyway and figured I would just suffer for fashion’s sake. Well now that my feet have swelled, I look like Cinderella’s stepsisters when I try to put them on. Vanity, thy name is…mine.

My tale of footwear woe does have a happy ending, Thank goodness a friend of mine told me that she shops at the Aerosoles stores. The shoes are comfortable and still cute. Since I’m worried about seeming old, a shopping trip there was better than Botox (as if). Putting on a pair of shoes and not having my face pinched from the pain? That probably took 10 years off.

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