$100.00 and Under

I have 32 pairs of shoes, three of which I wear 97% of the time. Of the remainder, 1% is spent in my Ugg boots after work, another 1% is spent in athletic shoes and the final 1% is devoted to my trusty, broken in Rainbows on the weekend, rain or shine. My brother calls Rainbows “the Cadillac of flip-flops,” and I do believe he’s correct.

I have no idea if 32 is a high or low number compared to other women, but I do imagine that focusing so heavily on three pairs isn’t the way to go. It’s certainly no way to get a decent date.

Today, I decided to give those three pairs some new friends. I should explain that the three I’m referring to aren’t the sexiest as they are, in fact, my post-surgery solution to footwear in the workplace. The maximum heel height of all three is maybe an inch-and-a-half, and one pair even came from Naturalizer. Sigh.

Sometimes I feel like I’m 35 going on 80. Not even two weeks ago, I purchased my first wide (gasp) pair of shoes, and I did so because my custom orthotics (gasp again) were making me look more clubfooted than sure-footed. It was likely because I was shoving them into my regular pair of Adidas shoes which, even with the insoles removed, weren’t too keen on accommodating them.

When the wide pair arrived, I begrudgingly brought them inside and placed the orthotics where the insoles used to be.

I swear to you, it was as though I’d won the lottery, been given an Aston Martin V12 Vantage and inherited a luxury villa on Lake Como. Those wide shoes had me over the moon, and I don’t know what’s more sad — that I was singing the praises of a wide, $35.00 pair of pink, gray and white Avia tennis shoes, or that I suddenly didn’t care about the shoes I wore to work (because I totally wanted to rock them in the office).

But I digress.

Seven pairs of shoes are on their way to my familiar three, courtesy of Zappos.com. It’s not that I lack the desire to go to a store to try on shoes, it’s that I feel really, really badly for the employees in the store that I visit — generally on a weekend when it’s most busy.

I’m indecisive.

I have weird feet. Sometimes I call them fat feet, but they’re not truly wide. They’re also definitely not a true medium. There’s a serious Goldilocks issue here, folks, and until I find my “just right,” I wouldn’t wish this scenario on any shoe salesman or woman anywhere.

With Zappos.com, I can fill my digital cart to its brim, walk away, come back 15 minutes later, review, delete, add and ponder, all while irking nary a salesperson. My busy little mouse is the one burning calories, not the store employees, and they’d thank me for it, I’m sure.

While I consider my feet “problem feet” and my healing knee the thing that keeps the problem — these days, anyway — front and center, I somehow refuse to spend more than $100 on any pair.

Which leads me to the title of this post.

“You get what you give” is a common phrase, because it’s true. While I was looking wistfully at a super cute $200+ pair of shoes that I have no business putting on, I wondered if they’d deliver everything those 20,000 pennies promised.

“Sure,” I thought to myself. “Why not?”

Then I remembered why not. Two words (in this case): designer label.

You’re not paying for a designer label to cradle your foot in a hammock of bliss, you’re buying it to say simply, “Hey, look at my designer shoes.” In the meantime, you’re walking around in pain, but what’s a little limp when cuteness is front and center?

I thought it might be best to delete four pairs of the shoes in my cart and replace them with two really, super quality [non-designer and uber-sensible] shoes, but I couldn’t do it.

I don’t know that I’m ready just yet to spend a solid wad of cash on a pair of shoes that I, as history has taught me, may very well push to the back of my closet because I prefer others instead. Maybe someday, though.

$100.00 and under is more than a way to filter your search on a shoe website. It’s a life lesson that reminds us that if we take a chance on something that could promise more — more style, more comfort, more of anything — we’ll get more.

Now, whether “more” ends up manifesting itself in the form of foot pain, credit card debt or — since it’s not impossible — the most comfortable pair of shoes you’ve ever owned, the learning (good or bad) often times is exponentially higher the more you invest.

Tonight I am thankful for the little reminder that my choice-narrowing filter gave me. Go less, and you’ll get less — of something. Go big, and you’ll get big — of something else. And if you’re most comfortable in the middle-ground, don’t forget about those bigger things out there. They’ll be ready for you when you’re ready for them.

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