Q is for Quality Footwear

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The most shocking adjustment I had when I returned to full-time work was an immediate realization that my poor feet needed a break. Accustomed to kicking around my home office in a pair of Haflingers, they were suddenly thrust into a series of shoes and boots that had been worn briefly to client meetings and networking events, then shucked off as soon as I returned to the office.

These shoes were not built for comfort – at least not all day comfort. Suddenly, my feet were navigating concrete parking garages, skyways, stairs, and long days. Man, those dogs were tired.

It took me approximately one working week to realize I had to invest in some shoes that were more comfortable. For me, that meant a lower heel and a little more room.

It practically killed me to have to pick up a few more pairs of shoes (not). There is such a thing as too many pairs of shoes, after all (not). How many pairs of shoes does one person need? (An infinite number, clearly.)

Fortunately, it was the end of the retail boot season around here, and I cleaned up at the sales. And you can never have too many pairs of boots when you live in Minnesota – the boot season is about 9 months long. It’s one of the few benefits of life on the frozen tundra.

Read the series at A is for About

3 thoughts on “Q is for Quality Footwear

  1. Sarah, I have been following your series with some interest and I have noticed a certain trend that leans more toward, well, one half of the population. Granted it is the larger half and I’m told the better half and I am not one to deny such truths.

    But take shoes. I’m all for comfortable work shoes. I have a pair. One pair. I discovered a shoe that is durable, comfortable in all situations including travel and being on my feet at a convention all day. It is black so it goes with everything. To clarify, that does not mean much because for work I wear black socks and a black dress shirt. That way, I don’t have to decide what to wear in the morning and my clients always know what to expect. The only sartorial choice I have to make is whether to wear the black kilt or the grey one. My clients are distracted by that only on the first day. But I digress. Back to quality shoes.

    So, I have one pair that works for everything. When that pair begins to become long in the tooth, I replace it with precisely the same shoe. I dread the day that Nun Bush decides to stop making it. Twenty years, the same shoe. And this monogamy of the sole has a distinctly practical value. The palette of choice for men is limited. Consider that we are limited essentially to a color range of black and brown for most work occasions whether it is business or construction. We are also limited to a very narrow range of styles and heel height. I don’t know who makes these rules, but in most respect they are followed strictly.

    Women, on the other hand, are allowed a universe of color, style, and shape. I don’t even know where to begin. Now, I would be the first to admit that the more imaginative shoe styles are probably not the most practical for a work situation, but I have seen some pass through corporate America that were veritable magic carpets. And of course it is still a closed club. If I were to comment, “Oh Sarah, those boots are just darling!” I would be hustled right off to HR. On the other hand, if I were to say, “Love your shoes, Dave.” I would receive a sock on the jaw for my trouble. These are the rules by which society lives. I’m not making this up.

    When all is said and done, though, I am gratified that you were able to find a range of quality boots that fit your needs. I just hope that some of your other terrific efficiency practices are not being eroded by your daily need to decide which pair to wear.

    Cheers, and keep those ideas coming.


    1. A response is necessary! My husband, who is a frequent traveler, has the same issue I have – he has to have high quality, comfortable, durable shoes – and more than one pair. If he doesn’t, they are destroyed within a few weeks of trudging through airports, etc. And even then, he ends up having them re-soled on a fairly regular basis.

      (He has no such issue with his kilts.)

      So while I agree that women are in general more interested in shoes, there are a few exceptions to the rule – and I think you are missing out on one of retail’s great pleasures – my husband also has a few stylish choices, including a blue suede pair. Perhaps a love of shoes just “runs” in the family 😉

      (And make no mistake – there are women out there, myself included, who would love to have someone, ANYONE, comment positively on a pair of shoes it took valuable minutes to select.)


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