Finally I've developed some guidelines for shoe shopping, and found with a little time and care - and a great shoe store - I can find even high heels I will not hate wearing....
Shoe Shopping Do's and Dont's
At the risk of sounding unwomanly, let me just say it - while I like shopping for shoes, I hate high heels.
I hate the tyranny of style that says I should wear high heels. I hate the feeling of my toes crammed and cramped into the end of the shoe, hate the feeling that all my weight is resting on my poor cramped toes. I mutter about foot binding and Barbie. I remind my daughter "you can't run in high heels."
So what's worse than having to wear high heels? Wearing high heels that don't fit! Once I was the last-minute substitute bridesmaid in a friend's wedding, and standing through a long Episcopal wedding service - including communion - in two inch heels a half size too small was a true act of friendship. My toes were not comforted by the fact that the shoes were dyed to match the dress. Needless to say, I kicked them into a corner when the dancing started.
Now I'm no fashionista, but I do occasionally feel the need for shoes with heels - a respectable pump, decent dress boots, summer sandals with a little flair. I have suffered through some expensive mistakes over the years, and I have my share of shoes in the back of the closet, bought in a hurry and worn only once or twice. Finally I've developed some guidelines for shoe shopping, and found with a little time and care - and a great shoe store - I can find even high heels I will not hate wearing.
First of all, looks are important - but fit comes first! Visit a great local shoe store and have a good salesperson measure your feet. Most of us have feet that are different sizes, and some us have special needs in the world of mass-produced shoes. Ill-fitting shoes can cause real damage to your feet, not to mention your attitude.
Second - try on both shoes (see above)! This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many folks don't bother. Walk around the store, go up and down some steps, run in place. We all depend on being able to get the fit right as we break in the shoe, but a bad fit won't get better with time and wear. With high heels, a bad fit can cause you to fall - not a great look!
Take the time to try on more than one style, as looks can be deceiving. That gorgeous sandal may not flatter your feet; those boots you saw on the red carpet may only look good there.
Third, make sure you understand the store's return policy. Can you get your money back or only store credit? How long do you have? How much wear is too much? A return policy should look like this one from Housershoes.com.
Using these simple guidelines, I've managed to acquire a well-fitting range of high heels - dress shoes, boots and sandals - that I don't hate to wear. Don't tell my daughter, but sometimes I enjoy the feeling of being all dressed up, right down to my toes.
By Georgia Eliot
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