Entering My Thirties: A Lesson In Proper Footwear

I recently turned 31, and decided that it was about time I get my footwear collection in order. I confess I have developed something of a shoe obsession, and so in order to get a grasp on my life, I am making some changes and refining my collection. Before this exercise, I tallied 36 pairs of shoes. My goal is to get rid of as many pairs of shoes that I can, of which I am still in the process of achieving.

First I collected data from my peers to figure out how many pairs of shoes was reasonable to own. Although many of my peers seemed to average 10 pairs of shoes, this was not going to be my goal… at least right away. One problem with this was because I live in a region that experiences all types of climate, I still needed the necessary weather-related footwear: snow boots, rain boots, and sandals. While still thinking of the basics, I also “needed” to include slippers and sneakers. That was already at least 5 pairs of shoes, so for my peers who had on average 10 pairs of shoes, I knew that the rest of my collection needed to be able to be multi-faceted.

Right away, I was able to slim down my 36 pairs of shoes to 27. I got rid of the shoes I haven’t worn in at least a year, those that hurt my feet when I tried to wear them, or those shoes that I had worn so much, it was embarrassing to be seen with such threadbare shoes on. In going through my shoe collection, I concluded that there are four types of shoes that filter into two different categories: if I could walk in the shoes or not.

As I reflected upon my collection, it occurred to me that most of my shoes fell into categories 2 & 3, which basically means that I have been overlooking comfort for fashion during my years in my 20’s. This did not surprise me, as my 20’s were filled with bad decisions, and now that I am in my 30’s, I am hoping to change my misled ways and make more *reasonable* decisions.

Some of my shoes appeared walkable at first sight. Maybe I could walk in them for a short stroll through the shoe store, but then when I took them out for their first real life trial, for one reason or another, they deceived me. Too often I would buy a pair of shoes to wear for one occasion, but after that occasion passed, I realized that although they worked reasonably well that one time, I would never again actually wear them. I was compulsively buying shoes when I needed them at the last minute, though not instead buying staples for my wardrobe. Things had gotten out of hand and I was dashing to a cheap store to buy any shoes to relieve my feet from wearing other failed shoes that I had thought were a good decision at the time. One pair of bad shoes to replace another pair of bad shoes. Not good.

This goal is not only about getting rid of unworn shoes, but also to chose longer-lasting, more quality materials, and support for my distressed feet. The new problem I have encountered however, is how to find such reasonable footwear choices, that can still look fairly age appropriate. I have been finding that “trendy” and “quality” don’t always blend together, especially if I don’t want to spend a fortune. Either way, I have been getting more acquainted with my comfort and sensibility. Even if this means a lot of trial and error, if in the end I can achieve a “shoe nirvana,” then I would call it a success. And when I think of a 30-some year old, I would like to think they can at least get their wardrobe in order, starting at the bottom.

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