Give Me Comfort Over Fashion Any Day

When I think about women’s shoe styles down through the years, it makes me wonder how normally sensible females (me included) could be so incredibly senseless when choosing footwear. Recently I saw in a catalog that high heels are making a comeback. Undoubtedly, those implements of torture make legs look longer and more attractive, but is that reason enough to suffer the excruciating pain and foot impairment they often produce?

I look back at the kind of shoes my bubbies wore and marvel at how they never bowed to fashion, at least in the shoe department. Both wore identical black oxfords laced high on the insteps with 2 inch block heels. All bubbies, I think, wore them with thick tan hose. We kids thought of them as "old lady shoes". Never could we have imagined that, in the latter part of the 20th century, a similar style would become a must for every fashion conscious twenty and thirty year old woman.

Over the years there have been different instruments designed, I’m convinced, to abuse the feet. My father who managed a family shoe store, had an x-ray machine in his store through which parents could see their child’s bones as well as how far toes were from the end of the shoe. This way, they could be assured that they would not be outgrown for at least six months or more. No matter how much we begged, my father refused to allow his own kids to use it for fear that the rays would harm us. He had no scientific proof back then but rather an uncanny sense of what might be unsafe.

During the "big" war, leather was rationed so for play, we wore "hurachies", imported woven sandals from exotic Central American countries. They were rather cute though stiff and uncomfortable, and you dared not get them wet, because when soaked, they smelled exactly like a skunk on the attack. We therefore wore them only when the sun shone.

Platform soled shoes, another crazy phenomenon during those war years, have recently been brought back. Women loved the way they made them appear taller, but it seemed were unaware that, when they walked, it looked like clunky tin cans had been attached to their feet.

Most women today, including me, are grateful that we can practically live in sneakers. I’m sure that, now that they are making a comeback, women will again buy those 3 inch high heels. I, on the other hand, will probably choose to dress up in my bubbies’ black orthopedic models and proudly proclaim, "To heck with fashion! Long live comfort!"

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