When I was right out of college, I bought myself an expensive pair of strappy stilettos. They were the hottest of pair shoes I owned, and also the most ridiculous.
They were everything a sexy pair of shoes should be — tall, sleek, and sparkly. They said look at me in the best kind of way. The only trouble was, they were also the most painful torture chambers for my toes and feet. These suckers hurt. Bad. Nonetheless, I wore them all the freaking time. After all, what are your 20s for if not being willing to try sexy but painful fashion trends?
Affectionately referred to as “fuck me” shoes by my BFF — either because they screamed sex appeal or because they were so painful I muttered “fuck me” the entire night — these shoes were the epitome of youthful impracticality. Blisters, sore feet, and twisted ankles be damned! I was going to look good at all costs.
Fast-forward 15 years and a couple babies later, and those shoes are but a distant memory because when you’re chasing after toddlers and running late to school pickup, comfort is fucking crucial.
The evolution of a woman can, perhaps, best be shown through the evolutions of her shoes. One day we’re wearing knee-high boots with pointy heels even though it means we’re likely to fall on our ass come middle of winter, and then next we’re rocking fleece-lined Crocs to the grocery store because who gives a fuck. (Spoiler alert: not me)
In our impetuous youth, we’re willing to waste an entire paycheck on designer boots and have no less than six pairs of strappy heels, including at least one pair in red and one in gold, but once we realize how much preschool costs, we decide that Keds from T.J. Maxx are the way to go.
We start out wearing the sexy-as-hell stilettos and, before long, we’re living in flats and slippers. Sure, we try to hang tough for a while. We buy the tall wedge espadrilles, even though carrying a baby on one side moves our center of gravity just enough that we’re always on the verge of tipping over.
But then, at some point, we say fuck this shit. The wobbling, the pain, the blisters are just not worth it. Enter comfortable, practical shoes.
Danskos and flats become our go-tos. Sure, Danskos might make our feet look like hooves and flats are boring as hell, but we can slip them on while holding a wiggly baby and helping a toddler put on their own mismatched shoes. We can wear them all day without wanting to saw our feet off before bed to stop the throbbing.
My personal fave? No shoes at all. Because nothing says “I am completely out of fucks” like wearing slippers to school drop-off — something I may or may not do on the regular.
This isn’t to say that we don’t don a pair of sparkly heels now and then, or that we don’t wear killer knee-high boots from time to time because of course we do. We’re out of fucks, but we still got it, and we know when to flaunt it. But these days, we choose the hot-and-sexy pumps and the trendy-but-uncomfortable boots on special occasions only because they make us feel good, not because we are trying to impress someone else.
Personally, I’m still a sucker for a killer pair of shoes, but there comes a point in every woman’s life when we choose a pair of sturdy ass-kicking boots to sexy stilettos. Badass shoes make us feel powerful. They give us confidence, strength, and resilience. Badass shoes can be sparkly or fuzzy, tall and sleek or flat and classic. They can be well-worn or brand new. They can be boots or slippers, flats or wedges, tennis shoes or flip flops. It makes no difference what they look like; what matters is how they feel. Because ain’t nobody got time for second-rate shoes when you’re off to save the world.