Some people have comfort food. I have comfort shoes. (To be honest, I have both.)
I wear sandals during the warmer months, but if I had my way, I’d be totally European and wear socks with them. Actually, I’d be totally me and wear socks with my very worn pair of Crocs. No matter what clothes I was wearing. Nothing like Croc comfort.
In my 20s, I went to the doctor for a physical while wearing loafers on otherwise bare feet. For some reason, he had me kick them off, and when he felt my feet he declared that I had perpetually cold feet (no matter how sweaty they can get). Despite the diagnosis, I managed to make it down the aisle to wed my husband, but I admit I have embraced the doctor’s verdict by wearing socks every chance I get. As soon as I get home from work, I head down to my room, put my workaday shoes in front of the fan, put on socks and Crocs, and I’m good for the night. My formal, stiff professional clothes I will continue to wear, but for true comfort, give me my socks!
More than one time, I’ve run out to the store or on an errand, looked down at my feet, and noticed I was wearing my footware faux pas–socks and Crocs. One time, I went to pick up my son from youth group, got out of the car and started talking to other parents when I happened to look down at the feet of one of the fathers. Be still my heart! He was wearing socks and Crocs. I thought I’d found the man of my dreams, then remembered I was already married, to Mr. Barefoot himself.
But I will say that my Mr. Barefoot is a physical therapist who preaches against high heels and other ridiculous shoes, and while he doesn’t prefer sleeping with someone who wears socks, he does applaud my approach to practical footwear. It may simply be the fate of a tall girl growing up with short men (yes, my dear brothers and my male classmates at Sarasota High School, I am talking about you), but I never felt the desire to wear heels. My legs were stilt-like enough. However, I do, otherwise, have a sense of style, and enough sense of shame to recognize that sometimes flat shoes (and by this I mean flat, comfortable shoes which are usually less cute than flat, uncomfortable ones) are not the best match for a stylish outfit.
For four years I worked at a Christian school in which female teachers were required to wear either a skirt or dress with panty hose (!) and closed-toe shoes. (Suffice it to say, that school went under despite the high-quality education is offered. I blame the panty hose.) But may I point out that even flat, unattractive, closed-toe pumps are not the epitome of comfort? After three and a half years of standing in such shoes (and panty hose), I had had enough with foot misery, and so I allowed my husband to pick out a pair of the most practical shoes we could find: SAS.
Suffice it to say that I started wearing a name tag that said, “Granny.” Just because I told my students that “happy feet make a happy teacher” does not mean that happy teachers do not write detentions. I’m just saying.
Thankfully, my next teaching position allowed me to wear pants, and I settled into a nice routine of wearing clogs with cute socks. I discovered brands of shoes that made my feet happy–Clarks, Born, Merrell, etc. In fact, I was feeling quite proud of myself last summer, when I ordered sandals online in preparation for a family vacation with my sister-in-law and her family. I first read reviews (of people who have a comfort bias, obviously, because they declared the sandals I purchased as “so cute”) before I carefully chose shoes for comfort and style.
And I wore them confidently the entire week I spent with my beautiful, high-heeled, dressed-to-the-nines sister-in-law at a glitzy resort in South Florida.
On our last day, we went shopping, and Linda seemed to have a greater urgency for me as I tried on clothes than she did for herself. She kept bringing outfit after outfit to my dressing room, which contained a very thin wallet, and I eventually pieced together an affordable, attractive outfit to wear for the first day of school.
As we left for another store, she looked down at my feet with great disdain and said, “Now, we’ve got to get you out of those man shoes.”
My “so cute” and comfortable sandals were a fail, forever dubbed “my man shoes.”
Which I still wear. But only if my socks and Crocs aren’t an option.
Some turn to comfort food. I seek comfort shoes (and socks). First. And then I eat.