Shoes, shoes, shoes…..wear what you choose

I am realizing that it is time to purchase a new pair of athletic shoes. I have a particular brand and style that has become my favorite. I buy a pair and wear them until they begin to look too worn for “good” designation, then I relegate them to “yard” pair and go buy another replacement pair, throwing the previous “yard” pair in the trash. I try to watch the ads and purchase my replacement pair on sale, but in a pinch, I’ll pay full price…….I like this particular shoe that much.

Over the years my taste for shoes has changed dramatically. There was a time I was a real shoe horse. I especially loved color coordinating shoes with clothing and I had boxes and boxes of very high heeled dress shoes and casual flats with all kinds of ornamentation on them. Many had matching handbags. I have to admit, it was a costly and indulgent habit.

I pretty much got cured from that when my daughter started college. One day she told me that some yellow shoes I wore to an event at her college were an embarrassment to her. I decided in that moment to never wear anything but plain black/brown/white/or beige shoes again and, for the most part, I haven’t. There are some hot pink house slides and a pale pink casual flat that break up the monotony of black on the floor of my closet.

As with the athletic shoes, I have a couple of brands whose plain black flats I’ve purchased over and over, changing only when the style was discontinued. The fact that I developed a foot problem several years ago further entrenched my reformed shoe habit… heels, no decorations, nothing to call any attention to my shoes….just sturdy support, comfort, and nondescript style.

Walking through a shoe department does not tempt me in the least. There might be no more than 2 pairs in the entire department that would accomodate my narrow range of preferences. I waste very little time in trying on shoes. I know my style, color, and size and can direct the sales clerk in a matter of seconds to what I want.

Odd how a single encounter can change one’s preference and practice in such a matter. It probably says something unflattering about me……that I am incredibly stubborn and will cut off my nose to spite my face. Rather than have risked another dressing down by someone for my gaudy choice in shoes, I’d simply quit choosing anything that could call attention to my choice at all. Maybe I was overly sensitive to criticism. Maybe I realized how incredibily foolish it was to spend money for decorative features for something that is, essentially, utilitarian.

Sometimes when I read Ephesians 6, about one’s feet being “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”, I am reminded of how shoes brought something less than peace in my spirit. The less I think about shoes the more at peace I am. So day after day I rotate among the 2 or 3 pair currently in the rotation and any discussion by my friends of shoe shopping can cause me to immediately tune out. Shoes, quite simply, are just no longer my thing.

Come to think of it, I’ve also abandoned massages, pedicures, manicures, and eye liner…..all due to similar utilitarian reasons. I am reminding myself more and more of my grandmother, Annie Elma, a real no-nonsense, practical kind of woman. I’ve observed, though, that I have to restrain myself, at times, from making judgments on others who have not made the austere choices that I have. I have to remember that my choices are not a reflection of any moral superiority, but simply personal preferences I’ve made, based on circumstances that have nothing to do with right or wrong.