Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shoe Psychology

It’s no secret that many women (and an increasing number of men) have obsessive compulsive relationships with their shoes, I certainly do. I have an alarming number of shoes, sandals and boots and everything in between. In fact, I’ve never counted them cause I’m a bit frightened to find out the exact number of shoes I own, what I can say is that more than likely I could change my shoes every single day and not wear the same pair twice in a year. Scary, I know.

I’m also an equal opportunity shoe owner; I don’t discriminate at all. I own very expensive designer shoes from my pre-kid, two-income, no-need-to-think-about-the-future days as well as crappy, cheap market shoes. Of course, all these shoes take up an inordinate amount of room and as my one, single, lonely new year’s resolution this year was to de-clutter my life I’ve lately hit upon the unfortunate realization that I need to get rid of some shoes. Today was the day I chose to do this.

Let me just say that today has been highly traumatic for me. I know, I know, most of you are thinking that after all we’ve been through lately, I can’t possibly be traumatized by having to part with some shoes. But the human mind is a mysterious thing and it creates strong attachments in surprising ways.

Let’s talk a bit about shoe psychology, shall we? As anyone with as many shoes as I have knows, shoes rarely get bought with a specific purpose or need in mind, shoes usually get bought for one of three reasons:

- A strong fatal attraction, wherein you’re walking along minding your own business and out of the corner of your eye you spy… something… an imperceptible flash of color, a vibration that tickles your stomach and you turn against your will and find yourself totally and completely smitten. These are the shoes that have the potential to change your life, when you find them you know, deep in your heart that you will suddenly become thinner, smarter, stronger, more confident and more beautiful. These are the shoes that love affairs are made of. You buy them, of course, despite the price, despite your actual need. In fact, you don’t even look at the price, these aren’t shoes you need cause you have to match them to an outfit or cause you have to wear them to cousin Myrtle’s wedding, no these are the shoes you need because once you have them your life will suddenly have meaning and purpose.

- Boredom and dissatisfaction. You’re unhappy with your life, your job sucks, your husband / boyfriend / partner is a dick, it’s been raining for three weeks straight and your bank account is anemic, basically your life looks like it’s going to collapse into itself creating a monstrous black hole that will finally finish sucking all of your joy, hope and dreams into the void. This is when you go out and buy a totally useless, moderately priced, uncomfortable pair of shoes in a funky color that you think you’ll be able to match to something. These shoes were bought simply for the fleeting high generated by the salesperson’s smile, the swish of your credit card and the crinkle of the store bag. These shoes will spend eternity on their shelf in your closet, covered in dust, unworn.

- Actual necessity. This reason for buying shoes boggles the mind. When you own as many shoes as I do it is unimaginable that you’d find yourself in a situation wherein you actually need to buy a pair of shoes for a specific reason. But this happens, with alarming frequency I might add.

So, these are the main reasons why shoes get bought. Guess which one happens to me most often? Anyway, back to the whole point of this post, today I got rid of some shoes. I didn’t count how many but I filled a large, large trash bag. I’m starting to get heart palpitations just thinking about it.

This little exercise was equally terrifying and liberating. Liberating because, seriously, who needs ten pairs of black shoes with the same heel height? Terrifying because who in their right mind gets rid of Blahniks? In any case, I feel quite good and my shoe cabinets look amazing and I’ve found shoes I had no memory of, oh and now all the shoes that are left actually fit. On a side note, for some inexplicable reason my feet have grown exactly one and a half sizes after the two pregnancies. I’m shocked and angry. In fact, this is why I managed to get rid of so many shoes, most of them didn’t fit anymore. It’s been a year and a half since I gave birth last so I’m thinking they’re not going back to their regular size, this happen to any of you, perchance?

Oh, just in case you were wondering, after I was done with what shall now be known as “the great shoe purge” I only went back to salvage two pairs of shoes, because, seriously, who in their right mind throws out a pair of Manolo Blahniks? So there you have it, a little psychology of the shoe.


  1. Hahahahahahaaha! This is a wonderful post! I suffer from the EXACT same affliction! Infact, I put some of the nicer ones on Ebay the other day. If you have ones that are in good condition, like Manolos....girl....for goodness sake, give them to me and I'll list them on Ebay for you. You have accomplished a very difficult task.....good for you :) Margot

  2. I'm down to 2 pairs of tennis shoes and a bunch of sandals. Yup, my feet grew too during pregnancy- I guess they now qualify as "boats" woe is me!

  3. @AnonymousMargot, I actually have three pairs of designer shoes that have never seen the light of day as they were likely bought on a day were my feet had inexplicably shrunk or temporarily changed shape, once home these shoes had become medieval torture machines. I will definitely try ebay!

  4. @NicoleYes, boats! Me too! my husband now jokes that I will never lose my balance again. Funny man.

  5. MArtedì .... a Cuneo davanti a via maestra... telefono a Claudio e gli dico: mi sto per comprare un'altro paio di scarpe.... che voglia matta avevo?!?!?!... poi?!?!? non avevo il bancomat dietro!!! Ma la prox volta mi preparo!!!ciaoooooooooo

  6. I love shoes. A girl can never have too many pairs of black shoes or too many pairs of black pants. I think it is because no matter how we feel about our bodies, we can always find shoes that look fabulous.

    I also had the post pregnancy growth. 1/2 a size with each set of twins. I still claim to be a 7.5 instead of an 8.5 only me and the shoe salesman know...

  7. This is a monumental post!
    And oh, how I can relate!
    In truth, however, the great purges are so liberating that a year or so back, I actually divested several trash bags full of Dior, Gucci and Choo.
    And I've never felt thinner ;P
    Cheers, Alcira

  8. Wonderful stuff - was laughing on the floor at the phrase 'great shoe purge'.

  9. My Dear... are you feeling right? I'm sure it's a liberating form of the sacred practice of Buddhist detachment...but ... Blahniks???? BLAHNIKS???? Thank God you changed your mind! You know this kind of remarkable spiritual excercises can be very dangerous (for your wallet most of all). Have a great (safe of purges) weekend! XoXo

  10. Ah I'm facing a bit of a shoe clean out myself. But yes, you are right. Christians and Manolos stay where they are...Forever. :-)