More Thoughts on Shoes

So the other day I put on a pair of heels, and I looked down at them and thought “okay, if I were Sherlock Holmes, what would I be able to discover about me by looking at these shoes?”

(This is a true story. I literally stared at my feet and pretended to be Sherlock Holmes.)

So I thought “well, they’re pretty functional, they have no embellishments, the heel is short and balanced for ease of walking, and there’s that seam that’s partially ripped on the inner side of the left shoe.”

The seam is the most telling part, the Sherlock Holmes half of me told the Nicole half. “A ripped seam might say you can’t afford a new pair of shoes, but the rest of your outfit disproves that. No, this ripped seam clearly tells me that you had the opportunity to buy a new pair of basic black heels but you did not because you do not care about these shoes. You wear them once every six months and then line them back up in the corner of the closet.”

And then I wished I could just wear my everyday ballet flats to the restaurant instead.

My everyday shoes are black with tiny purple cross-hatching. They have an unobtrusive gray athletic sole. Their official name is the Duet Busy Day Ballet Flat, which is the most adorable name for either a pair of shoes or a children’s picture book franchise.

They cost me $35.05, which feels like what a good pair of shoes should cost (what is this $400 price point, I know that it is important to protect your feet but $400 is like a car seat worth of foot protection — no, wait, I just checked car seat prices on Amazon, it’s like a car seat for each foot).

I wear them to the library and the literary open mic and the park. Whenever Runkeeper auto-tweets that I walked 6 kilometers in an hour, I did it in those shoes.

They’re also made by Crocs.

And this is where I have to admit that I’ve worn Crocs nearly exclusively pretty much since Crocs happened.

Okay, here’s the deal: Crocs are inexpensive, they’re extremely durable, and there are hundreds of designs. You don’t have to stick Jibbitz in the holes anymore; that was so 2006. I’ve owned Crocs snow boots. I’ve hiked in Crocs.

And I really, really like those nubbins that they put in the soles.

So. Back to the Duet Busy Day Ballet Flat.

When I saw Meaghan’s post about Emily Gould’s Women in Clothes essay (which, oh my goodness, read it) I thought: of course. She’s got it right, with shoes. The perfect shoe makes you look effortlessly cool and is comfortable enough for a 6 kilometer walk.

More than the cool part, though, I want the effortless part.

I want to be cool and to have to make as few decisions as possible. To have everything in place and know exactly where that place is and be able to reach into my closet, grab my ballet flats, and be able to wear them anywhere. (And then, when the inner/outer sole gets dirty, to scrub the dirt off with dish soap and a rag because Crocs let you do that.)

I also want these decisions to only cost $35.05, because then I don’t have to think about the price point either.

And then somehow I also want to be miraculously fashionable and stylish.

I should absolutely have worn those ballet flats to the restaurant.

If, for no other reason, than because anyone playing Sherlock Holmes would have been able to make the right deduction about who I was.

Photo: Collin Anderson