I remember the year my mom got her first pair of Birkenstocks because her feet didn’t hurt after walking around all day it was the first year we got to stay as long as we wanted at the Alaska State Fair. I remember thinking at the time that being old sounded terrible.
Recently I realized that my mom was younger then than I am now.
Sensible shoes have never been my thing. In fact, many of the shoes I owned as a child fell into a category my mother dubbed “stupid shoes” because they lacked any sort of traction and forced me to learn to step very carefully during the long Alaska winters. (You say “stupid,” I say “helped me develop the grace, poise and elegant sense of balance that define my physical presence to this very day.”) Still, at a certain point (read: after having children because while they are making life beautiful and magical children are also ruining everything), I started sliding into an opting-for-comfort pattern that has basically boiled down to a simple formula: Uggs in the winter, Toms in the summer, mid-heel ankle booties in between.
This is sustainable, yes, and also boring as f**k.
So this summer I’m looking to diversify my footwear game without losing sight of the fact that I will spend much of the season chasing, wrangling, carrying, hefting, wrestling and toting two small, lightning-quick, wriggling bodies. Here’s what I’m looking at, along with some I already have or can’t justify buying but want you to know about.
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Guys, Birkenstocks have gotten a lot cuter since we were wearing them with wool socks during peak ’90s hippie grunge. These are almost delicate (or as delicate as a sandal built on a chunky orthopedic cork footbed can be), and they come in black patent, among other colors and finishes.
Re: The ’90s. Did your junior high have like one tube of barge cement that everyone passed around to seal their cork when they got new Birks, or was that just my school?
Another Birkenstock? In for a penny, in for a pound, I guess. (Obviously once you start writing blog posts about comfort footwear instead of wild nights out, you’ve crossed over into a dark place and might as well lean into it.)
These are also as close to cute as you’ll probably get in a shoe that’s primarily designed to feel good, and they come in a million different upper options. I’m partial to the metallic purple myself.
Hello, these are orthopedic shoes.
Getting old doesn’t seem as terrifying anymore.
Frye Carson Ballet Flat
I don’t personally have an excuse to buy these because the Frye flats I bought on sale 10 years ago are still in exquisite shape and are basically like wearing a second pair of feet on the outside of my feet except in a less creepy, less cannibalistic-sounding way than I just put it.
Sorry if I just ruined these shoes for you.
TOMS Desert Wedge
Have you ever walked all over downtown Nashville, which tends toward hilly, while wearing a pair of uncomfortable shoes? I have not, because when I went to Nashville I wore these.
Tory Burch Minnie Travel Ballet Flat
I will be 100 percent honest: I had never in my life felt any compulsion to own a pair of Tory Burch flats. And then I saw these.
Neon pink designer shoes are the new “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple” for the basic bitch. The neon is hard to find now, but they come in other colors and some prints if you’re not in the mood to obsessively search the internet and then pay extra for a shoe I lucked into for fifty bucks at the Rack.
Crocs Isabella Strappy Sandal
God help me, I’m putting a pair of Crocs on this list. Somebody check the weather in Hell.
Jerusalem Sandals Tamar Buckle
Jesus would definitely have worn these if he had been a fashion girl.