Monday, November 21, 2005

Confessions of a recently converted Shoe Snob; Or, Why I Shall Never Again as Long as I Live Shop at Payless

I am the cheap shoes queen. I love a bargain. When I was in college I was the most frugal shopper imaginable: "Love your shoes, FCali!" I'd crow: "Thank you, I paid $7 for them!"

Well, times have changed. I'm on my feet a lot during the day and to be perfectly honest, my feet won't tolerate what they used to.

In short, I've divorced Payless and Target shoes. I've purchased several pairs of shoes at Le Target recently and they've been a disappointment. The price left me exhilarated, but the shoes themselves left me in need of a 4-hour Swedish foot massage. In short, the feet, they doth protest too much. Now this is a crying shame, because there is no way I can have as many shoes as I'd like if I'm paying upwards of $40 a pair.

However, I've decided it's worth it. There is something infinitely sensual and thrilling about expensive shoes. As with any other high-priced item, there are subtle but significant differences in the craftsmanship of expensive shoes. (By expensive, I mean over $40. I'm not yet willing pay more than about $90 unless the shoe is something really special. And by really special I mean, makes me look ten pounds thinner and gets me free drinks for the entire evening. Or whatever.) for one thing, most of them are made of leather instead of man-made ripoffs, which means that they'll stretch and conform themselves to your feet. I find that I wear a smaller size in designer shoes.

In addition, finely-crafted shoes are unbeatable for comfort. Even the raciest stiletto has arch support. That's saying something for someone like me, since finding shoes that correctly mold to my arches is something of a challenge and nothing short of an impossibility when I'm at Payless.

Let's make a comparison. Behold these hot-hot sexy spy assassin boots from Le Target, $29.99. Let's look closer, shall we? The boots are a man-made material. That means they're waterproof, a plus if you live in a cold and wet climate. However, I bought these boots. I'm here to tell you that while they look fabulous, they don't feel fabulous. They aggravate my bunion. Worst of all, they have no shock absorption whatsoever, which means that your feet tire more quickly. Those two factors combined were enough to make me willing to drop any sum of money on comfortable shoes!

Now let's examine these equally-hot boots from Bandolino,
my new BFF in the shoe industry. To counteract my ill-advised purchase at Le Target, I bought a pair of Bandolinos quite similar to the ones shown. Dear readers, I wore them all day on Saturday without so much as a trace of discomfort! They were definitely worth the $80 I spent on them. First of all, the toe isn't quite as narrow, ensuring 1) no bunion aggravation and 2) they'll stay in style long after pointy-toed shoes cease to be in vogue. The heel is thick, ensuring that the shock of walking is distributed more evenly throughout the foot instead of pounding away at one spot on the foot all day long. Last, these boots are finely made of leather, ensuring that with proper care they'll last forever.

You all have to make your own decisions about what fashion items you're willing to drop big $$ on. Me, I'm headed to DSW.