Everything I Know About Being Resilient I Learned from Shoes


Okay, so that title is clickbait, but I must say that I am continually impressed by the durability of a pair of good shoes.  If you were recently in college, you may know of the wardrobe staple that is fondly referred to as the ‘frat shoe’, i.e., the shoe attractive enough for going out but humble enough for crowds, overwhelming heat, and contact with foreign substances (hopefully only alcohol).

Compared to some of the things my shoes have been through, the canonical frat shoe might as well be taking a walk in the park (I’m really trying to avoid the footwear puns but it’s so damn hard).
Here’s a quick list of the worst things to which my shoes have been subjected.

The oldest pair of shoes in my closet is a pair of ankle height black riding boots that I got in seventh grade- almost ten years ago.  They still fit and I still wear them all the time, particularly in the fall.  Apart from being stepped on by big and heavy horses, I wore them so much that I wore a hole through into the hollow space of the low heel, which then proceeded to collect gravel and sand and stuff.
I recently got the resoled and look forward to wearing them for another ten years, at least.

After that I have my pair of almost-frat shoes.  Except they started as quinceanera shoes when I was in ninth grade (not my quinceanera).  I think they were a pair of tan Naturalizer heels, not the most stylish but ridiculously comfortable and I wore them out dancing. Almost every single time.  During ballroom initiation I left them out in the rain for 5+ hours (Accidentally! It certainly wasn’t my intention to be running around New Haven barefoot for that long- my feet were bloody by the end of the night).  They were my late night out, late night/early morning walk-home shoes.  Unfortunately they are no longer with us, but their loyalty and stamina are fondly remembered.

Navy boat shoes have been a mainstay in my closet for a while- I’m on my second pair, after having completely worn out my first.  I wore them in the rain at Disney World, I wore them to Spring Fling my freshman year (after which most people threw out there shoes- but not I). And in the middle of all that, I actually stepped ankle deep in wet pavement while on my way back from the library.  And the shoes made it through maybe three or four years after that. After being completely submerged in wet concrete.  If someone submerged me in concrete I don’t think I would have done nearly so well.

Last but not least, my snakeskin Theory ballet flats.  I bought them used around freshman year of high school and they’re still going… semi-strong.  They’ve been very loved.  The summer after freshman year of college I was taking a walk outside when I was caught in a VERY sudden thunder shower… and flash flood.  I was wading through streets filled with water past my ankles and the hills were just waterfalls.  But they dried out and lived to fight another day.

So reasons to buy good shoes: They last a long time, they’re more cost effective, they look prettier longer, and they will inspire you to persist regardless of all sorts of adverse circumstances.


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