Birkenstocks, My New Summer Friend…

It’s hot in Arizona. So my hatred of air conditioned footwear is mysterious to most. Long ago, I was a summer flip flop gal. Havaianas. All the colors to match anything in my closet. All, and consistent pedicures to keep my toes and looks away from my toes in check. As a former figure skater my feet are not my best virtue.

My feet have their own special issues, from years on ice, that only became worse with the love of summer sandals. Pedicure or no pedicure. The pain was at a point where intervention was necessary every few months. Thank goodness for the best foot doctor in the state. Literally. But while my frequent flyer status was staving off surgery and earning me requests to take tickets to Sun’s games as a thank you for my continued visits, as he was an NBA doctor on the side. Our visits were nice and he always ended my pain. But this relationship had to end and we both knew it. The doc knew I wanted no discussion of “shoes.” I would rather be booted and wear Louboutins. I was a shoe snob in every way. While I do not recall what number visit it was, or what game I turned down again…I hate basketball. I remember this word. Clogs.

I just stared and wondered why would anyone wear nurse shoes without the entire garb and accoutrements. I came back to his words at his final statement “throw out all of your shoes.” This hurt. He then painted a world of foot surgery and other fun and games unless at the tender age of 40 I got rid of everything and went clogging. Ugh. So, while I vowed to do this, I only tossed the sandals. All. First out went all of the Havaianas, then I made my way to the leather sandals, the patent sandals, the really strappy sandals etc. All the ones I acquired because they were cute. Comfort was not a thought. Ever. So, while they went out the door I still danced on the wild side and became a tennis shoe aficionado and bought every shape, color and brand for my days in the classroom and summer fun. If they were cute, they were mine. But this novelty had an expiration date long before my physical looks warranted the clog.

So while I don’t hate sandals. I do. While they did not ruin my feet, the cuteness of spring and summer fun kept me dodging back for more, only to end up pushing my malformed tootsies to their brink. The fear of the pain was now enough to keep me away from all their cute footsie air-conditioned glory. Until a few years ago when we were in Hawaii visiting a friend and we went shopping on base, because that is what everyone does when they are in oasis, shop in a mega-box world. Well, we went. It was Christmas. Of course, my feet were dying because I snuck in flip flop time. Mistake. But as we wandered aimlessly I found the ugliest shoe in the world, the Birkenstock. Never in my mind did I think I would reach, scramble, and yet try on this corky laden sandel. But, I did. They were the final pair and they were all mine. Did I mention they are silver. Yup. Hate that but I was desperate.. I wore them three times. Yes, three. The fit was tremendous but the look was just too much.

Until this weekend. We drove to Mexico and I slipped them on for the ride, or so I thought, as I was prepared with my tennis shoes. But in wearing them I took a step back to the delightful days of cool feet and the oddness of comfort. So I sucked up the ugly factor and literally floated on air all weekend. Delighted but yet horrified with this look, I balanced the comfort and the plentiful colors and styles they come in for “summer style” and put my mind to rest. Hey, my foot fashion days ended a long time ago and while I will never leave my tennis shoes, clogs (yup have them), ballet slippers with million dollar orthopedic inserts, I now have a bit of summer flair which is obviously in the eyes of those that have walked many a mile in pain!

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