There are lots of women in the world who own more shoes than I do, and I’m jealous of each and every one of them. I mean, when I found out in the course of writing this article that I only own 50 pair of shoes – 49 featured here, as one pair ended up in the trash by the day’s end – I was supremely disappointed. THIS is the paltry count that has my husband in a tizzy? THIS is the number that causes my mother to roll her eyes and wonder when I veered from my childhood tomboy path?
Oddly, though, shoes are not a status symbol for me. With the exception of my running shoes, I rarely spend over $100 on a pair and don’t get hung up on labels. Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) is my shoe Mecca, and I’ve spent quality time in its cousin store The Shoe Pavilion. Finding a great pair of heels for a great bargain can make my whole week, and I have a very specific shopping strategy which requires me to visit every nook and cranny of a store to find the best deals.
I like shoes that are fun, look good on my feet, and occasionally make me feel sexy. Comfort is not high on my list of priorities, as you will see. I like strappy straps that snake around my ankles and sky-high delicate heels. I am drawn to bright colors and prints that don’t match a damn thing in my closet. And I like cute sneakers (though my collection is anemic at the moment) to wear with jeans and capri pants.
As I was piling box after box on my kitchen table so that my husband could shoot all the photographs below, I was reminded that like anything else we collect shoes have stories. Awards shows and parties and weddings, these are the things that spur me to shop, and this collection of pictures and thoughts is almost like a diary of the last several years…without all the naughty bits. (Sorry, ya’ll.)
THE SHOE: Assorted flip flops
THE BRAND: Unknown
THE STORY: These are all so old that I have no idea what the brand was on any of them, but they came from places like Old Navy and Target (except for the blue ones, which came from O’Neill Surf Shop in Santa Cruz, CA). Each of these pairs should be thrown away. They’re brittle and carry the imprint of my feet, but for some reason I chose not to get rid of them at the end of last summer when I tossed out several other pair. Because I love flip flops so much and they’re so cheap, I’ll amass dozens of pairs by September.
THE SHOE: White leather braided flip flops
THE BRAND: Aerosoles
THE STORY: I also own these in black (which were problematic to shoot against the black background), and I have never worn the white ones. I’m not even sure now why I bought the white ones, as I never ever buy white shoes. I think it had something to do with wanting a flip flop that was dressy enough for work. When I look at them now I think of old ladies and cruises. The black ones look pretty cute with casual skirts, but they rubbed one heck of a blister between my toes. To be truthful, the fate of these is uncertain.
THE SHOE: Black leather and suede t-strap with 2.5″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Aerosoles
THE STORY: For Halloween last year I bought this amazing showgirl costume off of eBay, and I needed a pair of shoes to go with it that would look right but also be comfortable enough to dance the night away. I always walk by the Aerosoles store and wish the shoes were cuter, because I know they have an almost unrivaled reputation for comfort. It just so happened that, when I was looking for this pair, Aerosoles had the exact right thing. These were the perfect mix of dancing shoe and femininity for my costume. And they are damn comfortable. I highly recommend this brand, which has really kicked it up a notch in the fashion category.
THE SHOE: Gray and black t-strap with 2.5″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Ann Marino
THE STORY: These are great shoes for work. First, they’re several years old and still look almost brand new. Second, they’re comfortable as all get out. Third, they’re feminine but professional, and add just the right touch to almost any black or gray outfit. I am a big fan of the t-strap – my mother has always loved them, and she has these gorgeous tiny feet that look super sexy in this type of shoe. My foot is slender at the heel and wide at the toes, and I’ve nicknamed them Duck Feet. But these shoes look great even on me. People always comment on them when I wear them.
THE SHOE: Strappy black satin sandal with 3″ heel
THE BRAND: Anne Klein
THE STORY: The year *NSYNC performed “This I Promise You” at the Grammy Awards – Madonna opened the show, and Jon Stewart hosted – I was able to snag tickets through work. I already owned a great black strapless dress and a long auborgine velvet jacket, but I insisted on new shoes. These were the ones, and I think I’ve maybe worn them three other times since then because they’re dressier than I usually like and, also, if I have a special occasion I always buy a new pair. Almost always.
THE SHOE: Black leather slingbacks with 2″ heel
THE BRAND: Anne Klein
THE STORY: I just wore these last week, and despite being several years old I got complemented on them twice. They look great with black pants and are super comfy. However, the elastic on the slingback is seriously shot. Each time I wear them I expect something to snap, which will make me super sad.
THE SHOE: Black velvet slingback with 3″ heel
THE BRAND: Banana Republic
THE STORY: These were purchased for my agency holiday party in 2004. I had a sleeveless dress completely covered in bugle beads patterned in a way that was vaguely 1920s. These shoes were perfect for that, but after a night of drinking and dancing, the straps got stretched out and now they always slip off my heels. Also, they’re velvet, and velvet isn’t appropriate in most situations. You’d never know it by looking at my collection, though, because I have several pair.
THE SHOE: Red and cream canvas espadrilles with brown leather ankle ties and 3″ platform heel
THE BRAND: Banana Republic
THE STORY: I was in NYC with an ex-co-worker. I had just purchased the best Marc Jacobs halter dress ever at Saks Fifth Avenue, and whatever shoes I was wearing at the time were killing me. We stopped into Banana to look for pants or something, and these shoes were on sale. Like, a crazy sale. I think I paid $14 for them, and it was one of those weekends in NYC where there was no sales tax. Score!
THE SHOE: Floral canvas slingbacks with 3″ platform heel
THE BRAND: Bandolino
THE STORY: I bought these with my mom and grandma on their last trip to San Francisco. These shoes are great, but what I remember most about that trip was that my mom had just lost a ton of weight and she let me run around dressing her in fabulous clothes that she would never buy herself. I had just convinced her to buy her first luxury blue jeans, and we were all flying from the high.
THE SHOE: Pink patent leather with silver buckles and 3″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Bebe
THE STORY: This was the first ultra pointy-toe shoe I ever owned. I held out on that trend for as long as I could, but this sassy pair broke me. The first time I ever wore them was dancing at Rain at The Palms in Las Vegas with my friends Erin and Amy. We danced for three hours, and my feet were a mess for a week. It was totally worth it, though. The last time I wore them was for a job interview, to spice up a black suit with subtle pink pinstripes.
THE SHOE: Pink and purple t-strap with 3″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: BCBG
THE STORY: These were purchased at Loehman’s at the Beverly Center in West Hollywood specifically to go with an amazing Nicole Miller sweater dress that I have only worn once. They make me feel like a super sexy secretary.
THE SHOE: Tan leather with ankle strap and 3″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Bisou Bisou
THE STORY: I’m pretty sure I paid $7 for these shoes. I was looking for a pair of flexible summer heels, and even though these felt a bit 1982, once I put them on I knew we were made for each other. When all else fails, this is the pair I reach for. They make my feet look slender and cute and they work with anything in my closet. No one else has ever said a thing about them but I don’t care. I love them madly.
THE SHOE: Pink suede Mary Janes
THE BRAND: Børn
THE STORY: My super-cute friend Nicole loves this brand as does seemingly every other crunchy granola girl I’ve met. I found these hiding in a sales rack, the only pair, and exactly my size. They’ve never been comfortable to me, though. The backs make my heels bleed and the straps cut into the tops of my feet after just a few hours. I am gradually breaking them in by wearing wooly socks – but you can tell by how new they look that I don’t wear them much.
THE SHOE: Black leather Mary Jane slingbacks with 2.5″ heel
THE BRAND: Circa Joan & David
THE STORY: I have a weakness for mary janes, especially black ones. A year or so ago I had to cut myself off, because every other pair of shoe in my closet looked pretty much like this. Yikes. I bought these with my friend Andrew at a strange designer discount place. They give me that old-fashioned typing pool look whenever I wear them, but the toe is pretty narrow and causes pressure against my big toenails. Because of this, they’ve never made it into heavy rotation.
THE SHOE: Black leather sandals
THE BRAND: Dansko
THE STORY: This is another brand that friends always rave about. So comfortable! So sturdy! Bah, I say. I bought these when I was launching a NASCAR sponsorship at my old job. Working at these races would require me to hike miles and miles each day around stadiums and parking lots, but required footwear that would still look professional and would be sturdy enough to handle the wear. (NASCAR fans are probably calling bullshit on my wearing sandals to a race, but I always had a pair of sneakers with me in case I had to go into the pit – where open-toed shoes were not allowed.) The first time I wore these the leather insole pulled up at the back of both shoes. Also, the straps would twist at the buckles, causing chafing. People urged me to send them back, but I didn’t keep the receipt. Also, I was annoyed. I don’t know why I still have them – the insoles are held down with duct tape.
THE SHOE: Black leather sneakers
THE BRAND: Diesel
THE STORY: For Halloween one year, the PopGurls had *NSYNC-themed costumes. Melynee and I went as JC Chasez and Lance Bass, while Amy and Michelle went as our hoochie groupies. You can bet there are stories a’ plenty there, but all I’ll say is that Melynee had a yam in her pants to make her an anatomically correct boy. These were the shoes I bought for my Lance costume, and they were so comfy and fun that I still wear them. They’re a big hit with the boys, who always ask if I bought them recently.
THE SHOE: Black leather ballet flats
THE BRAND: Dollhouse
THE STORY: These were in the clearance section at DSW and they looked fun and comfy. Oh, the pain they caused. The elastic that surrounds each shoe rubs and digs into my flesh, especially at the heel. The darling transparent black strap across the top sticks to my skin. Finally I bought some moleskin and applied it to the heels, which you can see in the picture. I can wear them for almost an entire day now without having to kick them off. Huzzah!
THE SHOE: Black leather boots
THE BRAND: Dr. Martin
THE STORY: These were purchased for another Halloween costume, when I thought it would be fun to go as Myself: The Teenaged Years. I thought my coworkers would get a kick out of seeing me goth-out, so I bought some wacky pants from Hot Topic with more hardware than a Home Depot and a spider-webby shirt to wear under a corset I already owned. The Dr. Martins were an afterthought, but I used to own four pair at once and it seemed that Halloween or no it’d be a good idea to have a pair in the closet. Anyone who has ever owned Docs knows that you have to break them in. Somehow I forgot this rule, and wore too-thin socks that resulted in bloody and bruised heels. The costume was off – I bought the showgirl dress instead, and months later I’m still trying to break them in.
THE SHOE: Bronze leather with ankle strap and 3″ heel
THE BRAND: Franco Sarto
THE STORY: I bought these to go with a fantastic strapless silk dress from Anthropologie for my friend Kelly’s wedding. Shoes were bound to be a tough affair, because the dress was made from a dusty rose print with a multitiered skirt, and wouldn’t have worked with something modern. I’d been wanting something in a metallic but hadn’t found just the right thing, until I saw these in Nordstrom. They were feminine enough for the dress but gave it a little pizzazz, and with a bronze Hobo clutch the outfit was complete.
THE SHOE: Black leather with ankle strap and 3″ heel
THE BRAND: Franco Sarto
THE STORY: I keep these around because they’re pretty comfortable and look great with black pants, but I’m not particularly passionate about them. I seem to remember having a similar pair that I had to get rid of, and these were the not-quite-as-good replacement. I can’t remember the last time I wore them, and the leather is in such good shape that I obviously don’t pull them out of the closet that often.
THE SHOE: Black leather motorcycle boots
THE BRAND: Frank Thomas
THE STORY: These were a gift from my friend Jim, for riding around on the back of his motorcycle. In the summer we used to go almost every weekend, and while I bought myself a kick-ass jacket, he footed the bill for these boots and some gloves. I loved riding on the back of his Triumph, going places that made me carsick at other times. Sadly, Jim moved to Texas, so there’s no more motorcycle riding for me. My husband won’t let me buy my own bike, no matter how much I beg, so I should probably get rid of my gear eventually. It’s too depressing to have it around and not use it.
THE SHOE: Black, red and white with ankle strap and 4″ heel
THE BRAND: Guess
THE STORY: These are actually almost a full size too big for me, but I thought they were super funky, fun and 80s and had to buy them anyway. I can’t remember which store they came from, but know that my friend Kristen was with me when I bought them. Because they’re a little big, I usually stuff Peds in the toe which is cushy until about midday and then things start moving around. I don’t wear them often, but when I do I always feel like Joan Jett.
THE SHOE: Brown leather slides with 3.5″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Guess
THE STORY: The only plain brown shoes I own, these pull all the weight when brown is called for, which can be problematic in sketchy weather. Also, when I’ve been wearing them for a while they make that annoying smacking sound as the insoles stick just a bit to my heels. For such high heels, though, they’re pretty comfortable, and as long as they still look good I’ll probably keep them around.
THE SHOE: Green suede and silver sneakers
THE BRAND: Kangaroos
THE STORY: Complete with a zippered pocket for your milk money! I purchased these at a DSW in Cleveland while helping Miss Melynee shop for a pair of shoes to wear to a fancy schmancy donor dinner at her grad school. The rubber is starting to peel a bit at the back of each sole, and the super glue I bought hasn’t been doing the trick. One day I’ll maybe take them to a cobbler to have them professionally reaffixed.
THE SHOE: Brown plaid with t-strap, brown leather ties with ceramic flowers and a 3″ heel
THE BRAND: Keno
THE STORY: These are the most expensive pair of shoes I ever bought on impulse. I mean, look at them. They’re BROWN PLAID! I had to go out and buy a pair of brown pants and a brown skirt just to have something to wear them with, and still don’t have just the right thing. I found these at a DSW and learned that, when you’re buying shoes there that are of a certain price, they only put one shoe out of each pair on the sales floor and someone has to go to the stockroom for the other one if you are serious about purchasing them. While I was waiting for my extra shoe, my friend Eric took a picture of another pair on the shelf that he used to (maybe still does) use on his cell when I call.
THE SHOE: Blue floral fabric with blue leather 3.5″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Laundry by Shelli Segal
THE STORY: I saw these on a shelf at a DSW and fell in love with them. They’re just so impractical. What you might not notice in the accompanying photo is that the print on these is actually 3-D in places. Some of the flowers curl up at the edges, which is so darling. About the only thing you can wear them with, though, is jeans and neutral things like khaki skirts or white dresses and the like. I don’t own many of those, so I don’t wear these often, but whenever I do I stare at them constantly. And if I’m being honest, they aren’t that comfortable and should only be worn when one will be sitting down a lot.
THE SHOE: Teal leather slides
THE BRAND: Liz Claiborne
THE STORY: I bought these in a weak, girly moment and don’t wear them often. I did buy a pair of seersucker capri pants from Ann Taylor that are a perfect match, and with a cardigan I look like a sophisticated mom. It’s such a departure from the kind of thing I usually wear that someone inevitably comments on them. They are amazingly comfortable, but come on. They’re TEAL with a BOW.
THE SHOE: Teal leather with open toe and 3.5″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Marc Jacobs
THE STORY: All I’m saying, pretty baby. La la love you. Don’t mean maybe. < / Pixies moment > Oh, these shoes. They were a steal at DSW, and they are sexy-making for any foot that slides them on. Sometimes I just want to sit around in gorgeous lingerie and these shoes, drinking champaign. That’s how great they are. Sadly, the heel of one got caught in a sidewalk crack and there’s a little knick in the leather. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry.
THE SHOE: Blue paisley fabric with open-toe and 3″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Melian
THE STORY: I purchased these knowing full well that they wouldn’t go with anything I own except for one white eyelet Banana Republic skirt from several seasons ago. But they look great on and are super girly. The first and only time I wore them, the heel broke clean off the right shoe. I kept the box in my office for almost a year, intending to get a referral to a cobbler. Never happened. The shoe is still broken, but I love them, and hope to one day get off my ass and get them fixed.
THE SHOE: Olive green suede boots with 3″ stacked heel
THE BRAND: Michael Kors
THE STORY: The first time I saw these, I was helping my friend Kelly shop for her wedding shoes. I kept walking by and eyeing them, but when I said something to her she dismissed them as ugly. They had already captured my heart, though, so it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that I went back and bought them when they went on sale. It’s too bad that it’s almost never cold enough to wear these in San Francisco. I’ve paired them with low-rise capri pants and hoodies before, and felt just a wee bit like Paris Hilton.
THE SHOE: Brown and pink canvas/leather with ankle strap and 3.5″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Michelle K
THE STORY: I think these are really great shoes, they’re not too uncomfortable, and other women always coo over them. But I never wear them, because nothing in my closet goes with brown and pink. Seriously. I never wear brown, and almost never wear pink. It’s a tragedy, truly.
THE SHOE: Tan leather knee-high boots
THE BRAND: Naturalizer
THE STORY: For a while Melynee was a resident at a theatre company in Media, Pennsylvania. On a visit to see her in The Importance of Being Earnest my luggage got lost and I needed something to wear to the show. I bought these boots at the mall to go with a lightweight denim shirt dress (which I just realized is a style that is back “in”). It’s hard for me to find knee-high boots because my calves are too thick, so finding these in the dead of winter was a godsend. I still wear them often, but they’re starting to look a little worn. I dread finding a replacement pair.
THE SHOE: Brown leather motorcycle boots
THE BRAND: Nicole
THE STORY: I know several women who swear by Fry’s motorcycle boots, but the pairs I have tried on pinched in all the wrong places. I found these at the same time/place as my Kangaroos. They look exactly like Fry’s, but didn’t require a long breaking-in time. They’ve never made my feet bleed, they’ve never bruised me. And they’re great with jeans and cords, and were less than $100.
THE SHOE: Multi color striped canvas slingbacks with 2″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Nine West
THE STORY: I always forget about these because it’s hard to find things to go with them, but they are comfortable and darling on. These are the kind of shoes that even men comment on – perhaps they are less intimidated by these than some of my other pair – and in fact the last guy to compliment them was an ex-boss who I hate. Hmm. I will not let him ruin these shoes for me, and I vow to wear them more often this year.
THE SHOE: Wine-colored floral fabric with ankle tie and 3″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Nine West
THE STORY: I wish I had these in other colors, because they are girly and comfortable and perfect with summer skirts. The scarf-like ankle tie is like nothing I’ve ever owned, it feels amazing against your skin without ever cutting in. Unfortunately, the floral pattern makes these hard to wear with just anything, but I find myself shopping for things that work just so I can wear these shoes.
THE SHOE: Black leather strappy sandal with 3″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Nine West
THE STORY: These are so hot that I feel a bit like a high-class stripper whenever I wear them. And sometimes that’s a good thing, you know? I bought these when the weather in Northern California was still wavering between rain and summer, and couldn’t wait until it made up its mind to wear these for the first time. That just so happened to be a trip to San Jose to see Jay Mohr do standup. Standing outside in line in the cold I got lots of bitchy looks from other women. That’s a good sign, I say.
THE SHOE: Black leather knee-high boots
THE BRAND: Nine West
THE STORY: The first-ever knee-high boots I ever owned – that weren’t from the Army surplus store – were another pair of black leather boots from Nine West. Those had a much higher heel than these, but they fit over my calves and I wore them into the ground. This year I had no choice but to replace them, except I couldn’t find a single pair that worked. I wanted a more reasonable heel, but low heels made me feel like a Storm Trooper. These were a last attempt to recreate the good old days. They fit pretty well and are a nice height. There’s just one problem. They squeak. Loudly and with every step. I have tried everything I know except for taking them to a shoe-repair place to make it stop and nothing works. It’s HORRIFYING how loud they squeak, and unless I’m going to a loud bar I can no longer wear them. It’s heartbreaking, and now I’ll have to start the search all over next season.
THE SHOE: Black velvet and silver leather with ankle strap and 4″ stiletto heel (not pictured)
THE BRAND: Nine West
THE STORY: These were purchased for my agency holiday party, 2005. I looked all over for shoes to go with a black, strapless lace dress, and everything was just a little too shiny and modern. These were actually not the perfect thing, but once I bought them I felt like I had to wear them. Sadly, I mixed Tylenol severe flu with wine and stumbled around the dance floor with a charming proofreader named Peter. Poor Peter. I hope I didn’t pierce his foot with my shoe.
THE SHOE: Running shoes
THE BRAND: Saucony
THE STORY: My whole life I worked out in Nike cross-trainers, but when I started running a little more seriously I wanted a serious runner’s shoe. Luckily, Saucony makes this pair (named the Grid Trigon) that fits my weird arch and controls my pronating. This is my second pair – the first was retired after about 100 miles and would have lasted longer with someone without all my weird foot issues.
THE SHOE: Black leather loafers with 3″ platform heal
THE BRAND: Sbicca
THE STORY: Recently I started a new job by flying to Atlanta and then San Diego for focus groups. Because I knew that I would be traveling with boys, who undoubtedly would be wearing comfy shoes just made for running through airports, I wanted to make sure that I had the right shoes for keeping up. I went back and forth on these shoes. My friend Nicole said they were “like nurse shoes, only cute” and I wasn’t sure that’s the look I was going for. They feel like slippers, however, and they are the right length to wear with most of my work pants. I got them for less than $40, and it was a great purchase. These are lots of fun and never hurt my feet. While they may not go well with skirts, they’re perfect with pants and jeans.
THE SHOE: Teal suede ballet flats
THE BRAND: Seychelles
THE STORY: First, these types of flats always make me think of Micsha Barton, who made the style famous as Marissa Cooper on The OC. Other folks would know better than I, but I think she wears them because she’s pretty tall by Hollywood standards, and her leading man (Benjamin Mackenzie) is short. So, I like The OC but have always hated Mischa for some reason, and therefore I held out on wearing ballet flats. My podiatrist, however, feels that I should wear nothing but flats and out of respect for him I decided to give it a try. Ohmygod! Ballet flats are so cute! But they were not comfortable. Not to me. For a girl who wears a whole heck of a lot of high heels, in the beginning flats were like torture. And even though I easily know half a dozen girls who swear by the comfort of the Seychelles brand, these made my heels bleed every time I wore them until I discovered Dr. Scholl’s heel grips. Which seriously changed my life, and now live in over half of my shoes. Because of that, these shoes are having a Renaissance. I even wore them on my first day of my new job.
THE SHOE: Baby blue leather ballet flats
THE BRAND: Seychelles
THE STORY: I should have bought these in black, but the baby blue ones match my car. No, seriously. I have a baby blue VW Beetle convertible, and ever since I got it three years ago I’ve had a sickness for buying matching accessories. Like iPod cases, handbags, and shoes. Thus, I own these, which I’ve only worn once. They’re darling, but haven’t yet gotten heel grips and therefore cause my heels to bleed. They’ll be great for summer, as long as I can find neutral things to wear them with.
THE SHOE: Purple leather and suede with an open toe and 3.5″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Steve Madden
THE STORY: I feel like I must have worn these at some point, but I honestly can’t remember when. I always put them on with casual capri pants and such, hoping to give my outfit a little kick, but then I realize they are too fancy for that. Or maybe I just can’t pull off that look. I keep them around, though, hoping that something will be just right.
THE SHOE: Black leather with 3″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Steve Madden
THE STORY: These are my new favorite going-out shoes. They’re great with my favorite jeans and sassy with a number of dresses in my closet. For something so pointy and tall, they’re not even too dreadfully uncomfortable to wear. With one notable exception. Last month I went out dancing with some friends, and spent too much time on my feet. I carried the bruises for three weeks…but at least I didn’t dance in a cage like some people I might mention.
THE SHOE: Black canvas espadrilles with ribbon ankle tie
THE BRAND: Unknown from Target
THE STORY: Even though these look kind of sketchy, I can’t throw them away because I can’t find the perfect pair to replace them. These are the perfect example of a pair of shoes that cost less that $20 but can still incite envy in others. People stop me all the time to ask where they came from. I think it’s the cute ribbon tie, which is hard to see in the picture, but can wrap around my leg twice before tying almost to the knee.
THE SHOE: Brown canvas sneakers with pink polka dotted lining
THE BRAND: Unknown from Target
THE STORY: These are a lot of fun, and are strangely matchy-matchy with a pink and brown striped sweater that I bought on clearance at Old Navy a couple of years ago. At the time that I bought these, I had been looking for a pair of actual Converse low-tops, but hadn’t found the right ones. For $15, I thought these were a good substitute. And, while people comment on how cute they are, there’s something weird with the left shoe that causes pain across the top of my left foot. I have to wear thick socks, or else I bruise.
THE SHOE: Trail running shoes
THE BRAND: Vasque
THE STORY: Like most college backpackers, I used to own a pair of Vasque Sundowners. This particular model of Vasque hiking boots used to be the shit back in the day, and mine lasted for years until they were finally destroyed in the red clay of Kauai. My brother-in-law hiked the Appalachian Trail several years ago, and told us that many hikers were shipping home their heavy leather boots in favor of trail running shoes. When my beloved boots died, I took his advice and bought these. While I haven’t done much hardcore hiking since I got them, I have really loved them on the few trails we’ve seen together.
THE SHOE: Black leather with eggshell polka dots, an open toe and 3″ stiletto heel
THE BRAND: Via Spiga
THE STORY: These might be my favorite shoes ever. To begin with, they look absolutely amazing with almost everything. They’re super girly and a little old-fashioned, so that when I wear them I feel like I should be posing with a big smile in a modest swimsuit with an ice-cold Coca-Cola. All that, and they’re comfortable enough to wear all day long in the office and out for drinks after. I would wear them more often, but I worry that they will get worn out.
THE SHOE: Patent leather and snakeskin Mary Janes with a 2.5″ heel
THE BRAND: Zodiac
THE STORY: These are maybe the oldest pair of shoes represented here, and I actually debated about throwing them out and not including them at all. I’ve had them for so long that I can’t remember when I got them or where I was living, but they used to be my favorite shoes. They represent the days when I preferred a chunky heel and a square toe, back before I had such a good relationship with my podiatrist. Oh, how fashion wounds us all.
Anyone else out there obsessive compulsive about her shoes? I’d love to here from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with pictures (150 pixels wide by 100 pixels tall) of your favorite shoes, and tell me why you love them so much. If we get a good enough response, perhaps we’ll create a new article with submissions from our readers!