Recently I wore a pair of shoes for the second and final time. I fell on my way out of the dentist and hit the sidewalk so hard that my eyes teared up. I took the shoes off, got up and walked two blocks to Union Square in my socks. At Macy’s I rode the escalator in my stocking feet up to the fourth floor where I bought a pair of hot pink Chuck Taylors, low-top.
When recounting my fall to my husband (who barely let me get past the part about hitting the sidewalk at full-force and straining my neck), he interrupted and asked:
“Were they sale shoes?”
When spoken, it sounds as if the shoes are nautical — maybe white canvas or Topsiders, something with a light sole that won’t scar sailboat decks. When read on the page it is obvious that these shoes were purchased at discount. They are sale shoes. Ted knew the signs immediately. I bought a pair of shoes I otherwise wouldn’t have purchased because they were cheap, and I made up the difference in price with bodily injury. I wouldn’t pay full price for shoes I can’t walk in, but for that price — I’ll learn to walk in them.
Sale shoes are never what you want them to be. They’re pinchy or too wide. They have a tacky buckle that you’re going to cut off some day or they’re perfect except they’re purple. Years ago my husband owned a pair of yellow Adidas with red accents. No one walks into a store looking for yellow and red retro trainers but someone who likes a bargain will leave the shop with a pair. I’m not judging. But one night we were at a party and a guy pointed to Ted and asked if he was wearing his sale shoes.
One pair of my sale shoes was a teal-colored felt wedge with a sweetheart peep-toe. Felt! Also purchased on sale: the could-be stripper shoes. They are pink and white patent spectator pumps in a Mary Jane style with spike heels. Are they naughty or are they nice? They are confusing and uncomfortable. A pair of geometric-soled platform sandals were too tight but the box they came in is the perfect fit for our extra juice glasses. You’d think I’d learn, but when the pair of three inch wedges from my favorite brand popped up on the sales rack, I bit.
Three-inch heels are really getting up there for a woman who’s feet are all of eight inches long. That’s a Size 7. The most worn pair of shoes in my wardrobe has a 2 inch heel and that missing inch is crucial for walkability. Ankle straps increase stability but these latest sale shoes have no such safety devices. I thought brand loyalty could get me over the 3 inch hump to being One Of Those Girls in high heels. Instead I got a bruised knee.
When shoes fit and look fabulous, I wear them often. The shoes I have gotten the most value from are the shoes that I have worn until extinction. My sales shoes are all relatively new-looking, mocking me from the closet until I finally admit they’re never going to happen and give them to charity. This latest pair were so snazzy I sold them at Buffalo Exchange for close to cost. Who knows, maybe they were purchased by One Of Those Girls in heels. Or maybe some Size 7 is cursing having wasted money on a pair of barely worn black wedges.