Sensible Shoes

fullsizeoutput_6477It’s been three weeks since I broke my foot, and since the break was really just a “hair-line fracture” of only one bone, I am now allowed to walk around without my big bulky boot.  And while I’m absolutely thrilled that I’m no longer clomping around like the Frankenstein monster, there is a catch:  I have to wear supportive footwear for at least the next four weeks.  Apparently, it takes a long time for bones in our feet to completely heal, and until they do, they’re still fragile and at risk for a serious break that would require surgery.  And obviously, foot surgery is something I want to avoid.

The upshot is that I spent yesterday shopping for shoes and sandals (it’s too hot in July to wear shoes all day) that will adequately support my foot for the next month or so.  I quickly realized that footwear falls into two distinct categories:  shoes and sandals that are cute and offer no support at all, and shoes and sandals that are supportive, but were designed for maximum ugliness.  And I say this as someone who has never been particularly obsessed with shoes.  I don’t have a closet full of shoes, and the shoes and sandals I do own were selected more for their comfort level than for their style.  I don’t own anything with more than a one-inch heel.  So if I call a shoe ugly, you can bet that it truly is ugly and not simply unfashionable.

I finally found a pair of sandals that fit perfectly, support my feet completely and are pretty darned comfortable.  They also look like the something my ninety-year old mother would wear, and she buys her shoes custom-made via a prescription from her podiatrist.  (She has fallen arches, bunions, and hammer toes.)  I’m ashamed to say that I was actually feeling a little sorry for myself when I left the shoe store.  Partly because I had just spent a whole lot of money for a pair of sandals I didn’t even like, and partly because, despite my actual age, I still think of myself as far too young to be wearing “sensible shoes.”

But then, thank goodness, I finally began to get a bit of perspective.  I may have spent several hours searching for supportive footwear that actually looked good and come up empty-handed, but I did find a pair of sandals that would protect my foot while it’s healing.  And they not only look better than the boot I’ve been wearing for the past few weeks, they’re a whole lot more comfortable.  Plus, I don’t have to keep a big plastic bag stashed in my purse to cover my boot in case I get caught out in the rain, and I can drive without having to change my footwear.   Those are all good things.

As the old saying goes, “You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.”  Sometimes it takes me a little while to remember that, and to stop wasting quite so much time fretting about the things I can’t control (like breaking my foot) and to work a bit harder on how I cope with the things life throws my way.  So I’ve decided I’ll wear my new sandals without complaint, and when my foot is fully healed, I’ll store them away for use in my old age.   And if that day does come, I hope that I’ll remember to be grateful that I actually lived long enough need, and maybe even appreciate, sensible shoes.

97 thoughts on “Sensible Shoes

  1. I haven’t worn a pair of heels since 2002. I know the date, because there was a funeral involved. They’ve been in the closet since then.

    My sensible shoes are made by Sperry, and they’re sensible because they’ll keep me from breaking a leg on a boat deck. When I attend social events, they’re usually billed as cruising casual, so I pull out my fancy pair of turquoise Sperrys. I have work Sperrys, and run-around town Sperrys, and worn-out Sperrys for washing the car or doing yard work. My only other footwear includes a pair of snake boots, a pair of knee-high muck boots, and a pair of really good hiking boots. They’re all quite sensible — particularly since, the way I live my life, sandals or high heels could lead to significant injury! They’re my old lady shoes, and I love them!

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    • I have several pairs of Sperrys! They actually fit my feet pretty well, and they’re very comfortable. Trust me, the “sensible shoes” I’m talking about make Sperry shoes look like high fashion. But I get what you mean, at some point we wear the shoes that work for us and our lifestyle, and if others consider them “old lady” shoes, so be it. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. My mantra to my children has been ” You can’t control other people’s actions only your reaction to it”. I never thought of it as you have written, “You can’t control what happens”. I will add that to my repertoire.
    Then, in your comment to ruthsoaper, another saying I constantly have used on my children, “Is this going to matter in 5 years time?”.
    There are some more I regularly use, even now and they are all over 21, but the first one my son actually uses on his girlfriend!

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    • It sounds as if you have taught your children well! I really do believe that perspective is everything. Sometimes we need to just back up a little bit and try to look at the situation in a fresh and unbiased way. And to recognize the difference between what we can, and can not, control. At least that’s what I’m working on….sometimes more successfully than others, I’ll admit!

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  3. I’ve been laughing way too much on your blog these days! I do have a bit of empathy, though. When I had something wrong with my left foot (from running), I had to start wearing more supportive sneakers; that’s when I first noticed that “supportive” and “cute” are not mutually exclusive lol

    Best of luck as you continue to heal ❤

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    • Actually, I’m glad you’re enjoying them! I think the key to life is to learn to laugh at how utterly ridiculous it can sometimes be… And guess what? Tonight I actually found another pair of sandals that are supportive, and not nearly so ugly! So you’re right, sometimes a shoe can be both supportive and cute, or at least not ugly. Thanks for your good wishes!

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  4. As someone who’s broken her ankle and suffered from plantar fasciitis (don’t even), I know your pain. I also have small feet, which complicates the search for shoes. I have discovered that Taos, Danskos, Chacos, Merrill, and Brooks and ASICS have good support. If you can tolerate shopping online for them, Zappos lets you filter based on supportive features as well as brand and style. I hope it resolves soon. Also thinking of Dave!

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    • Thanks, Joanna! I have shopped with Zappos, and they really are easy to deal with. I’ll try those brands, and I already have a pair of Asics athletic shoes, which I love. And Dave has had plantar fascitis too, so I know how hard that can be. I hope your future is free from all foot pain! And I’ll pass on your good wishes to Dave, too.

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  5. My 27 year old daughter went to a foot doctor for a hurting toe and was told to get all leather supportive sneakers to wear instead of cute shoes. Apparently, there has been an outbreak of COVID toe from walking around in bare feet.

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  6. I was not a happy camper when I first had to trade my cute/stylish shoes in for less attractive “old lady” ones. As is my nature, I complained about it to one and all until my sister called me out reminding me of one of our no-nonsense Mother’s favorite sayings, “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet”. I still don’t like my “old lady” shoes but I remind myself to be grateful I still have 2 working feet to wear them on.

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    • I can relate! I tend to complain to anyone who will listen when I’m unhappy too, until I remember that I don’t really have it quite so bad. Old lady shoes aren’t fun, but if they protect our feet when they need it, then they’re absolutely worth it!

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    • Thank you! That is actually a way to go! Teva don’t fit me quite as well, but Merrel is just as good and they seem to be made more for the long, narrow feet I’m blessed with. (My husband always tells me I could go water skiing without the skis, and I think he’s right…..)

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    • I like you! I am old, 72 years old, but have had to be physically brought into old age, kicking and screaming. I finally took 221 pair of precious looking sandals and totally sophisticated high heels to the church’s “free closet.” I now look in the mirror and say “Who in the world are YOU, and why are you all occupying my body? Golden years, my hind end!

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  7. Glad your foot is getting better Ann. I’m with you on shoe shopping. I give up on appearance every time and go for comfort and function. Once I find a shoe or boot that gives me what I need, I keep replacing with e same as long as I can. Stay well and happy recuperation. Allan

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    • Yep, once we’ve found something that we’re comfortable with, there’s really no point in looking for anything else. The “ugly” shoes that I found do give the support I need now as my foot heals, but I don’t think they’ll be my go-to shoe for a while yet. But that’s only because I have other shoes, that are mostly sensible, that also feel comfortable and give the support I normally need without me thinking, “was I drunk when I bought these?” every time I look at my shoes! LOL!

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    • Incredibly hard work! My feet are somewhat flat, have wide toes and narrow heels. So when I find a brand that fits me, I tend to stick with it. (I have a lot of Sperry shoes in my closet!) But shoes that allow my hairline fracture to fully heal are a whole different story, and I’m still figuring this out. Meanwhile, I found another pair of sandals that also offer good support and aren’t nearly as ugly…..so now I think I’m all set , footwear wise!

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  8. I have to wear sensible shoes for a problem I have with my feet. For me, that means mostly sneakers (runners). Normally I wear boring white socks, but it seems to me bright colored socks that don’t match would add an element that would be fun.

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    • I’m sorry you don’t have a choice in footwear, but I don’t think runners are so bad. I wear them a lot, because they’re so comfortable and I can wear them for a long time without my feet hurting. Sadly, sensible sandals tend to be look like Mickey Mouse shoes, in odd colors, and with holes in them! But I’ll get through it. And I love your idea of colorful socks to add a little something to the look!

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  9. My feet are very big, Ann – a size 13! I’ve never been able to find cute shoes. I completely understand your frustration because I wore a boot for 3 months after breaking my ankle two years ago. It sure taught me patience.
    The only good sandals I’ve found are made by Easy Spirit. I have had some luck buying them online, since there aren’t any stores around selling them these days.
    I hope you’re hairline fracture heals up quickly. Big hug!

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    • Thanks, Judy! I have a friend who wears a size 12, and she says the same thing: there’s not much to choose from. It seems to me that the size that offers the most variety is size 7, but my feet are two sizes bigger than that. I’ll look for Easy Spirit shoes online, thanks!

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  10. The apparently simple post contains a valuable life lesson, but I guess that is how most of your posts are. I was briefly reminded of the accident that I had when three of my metatarsals had cracked up, and the latter days when I frenetically searched for a suitable footwear. Many an orthopedist later I chose a pair of sports shoes, and I can tell you nothing beats them despite their unofficial appearance.

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    • That’s the bone I broke too, but only one, thankfully and it didn’t actually separate. I can’t imagine how breaking three of them must have felt, and I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Sports shoes are wonderful, and what I wear when it’s not too hot for them. They have padding on the bottom, and I can lace them up tight enough that they hold my foot securely. And like you, I don’t mind the appearance!

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  11. lol you do make me laugh Ann … having broken several bones in my foot at 19 yo in a motor bike accident I’ve worn ‘sensible’ shoes since, never really tried high heels! So count yourself lucky you waited until 60+ to go there 🙂

    I certainly count myself lucky that the idiot drunk didn’t kill me! And a few decades on I’m still here to tell the story 🙂

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  12. I love your post and could relate to so many incidences. Even ” shoes and sandals that are supportive, but were designed for maximum ugliness.” sounds like me talking aloud. Enjoy your new pair and get well soon.

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  13. Sorry I missed the fact that you broke your foot! Ouch!

    I am a sensible-shoe sort of gal. I live in a sensible-shoe sort of community. The clothes-horses are the ones who stick out for their trendy, glittering, posh clothing.

    Relocating to rural northern Ontario is not a sensible solution, though, for most people. In the meantime, enjoy your footwear freedom from the clunky cast!

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    • Nothing wrong with sensible shoes! And it’s funny, because people have such different definitions of what they are. The way I look at it, tennis shoes and Sperrys, etc., don’t count as sensible and I wear them all the time. But the sandals I’m wearing now really do look like something designed for a 90-year old woman. Although a few of my friends have said they actually think they look good. Which just goes to show that ugly, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder!

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  14. When I got planters fasciitis a few years ago I resolved that my shoes would need to veer towards sensible as opposed to pretty. I’ve taken to buying fun sneakers to wear on days I walk a lot (striped converse, black suede, etc) and I really try to look for things with comfort in mind. As I was telling a friend yesterday, I may well end up with ballet flats in five different colors for “dress”

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    • I actually like sneakers! Before I broke my foot, I was also a fan of flip-flops, but I’m not sure how soon it will be before I can wear them again. And I can totally relate to your dress up flats….I’m sort of doing that now! I have very low heels I’ll wear for either really short periods of time or when I really need to look dressed up, but I’ve been known to wear “nice” flats for dress up shoes as well. Probably 90% of my shoes have no heel whatsoever!

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  15. Love your perspective… and my shoe closet is much like yours! I remember needing Rock port shoes when I was much younger for my back, and they were hideous as well, I can relate!

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  16. I’m on Team Sensible Shoes. Have been almost all my life, so wearing old lady shoes is a given for me. That being said I like your frugal approach to wearing them now, saving them for later. Of course, later may sneak up on you once you realize how comfy they are!

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    • That’s true, I may just get to like them. But I don’t think I’ll ever like the sandals I’m wearing now, mostly because they’re a combination of white, navy and puke brown, all stacked on top of each other. Still, I already like tennis shoes and flats, and I favor Sanuk flip-flops because of the padded soles. I think I’m already on my way to converting to sensible shoes…..

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  17. I pray that your foot continues to heal beautifully! You give such good advice here…it is wonderful that you found little blessings amidst the trauma of an injured foot. Upon reflection, these little blessings sneak up on us, one by one, revelations that life is good, and God provides in the rough patches. The rough patches come to us all; it is a gift to see the beauty of a dandelion amidst a sea of endless weed!. The onion grass has its own perfume, and the dandelions are such a sunny yellow. (The hay fever is tough, but the ability to walk beneath a blue sky in a field of dandelions is still a lovely thing.)

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    • Thank you, Linda, for writing that. It really is a matter of being able to see the good in even the difficult situations. Once I got over feeling sorry for myself for not being able to find the shoes I wanted, I realized how very lucky I am to be able to trade the boot in for sandals at all! And that cheered me up no end. Blessings are always around us, we just have to open our eyes and see them.

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  18. Fashion styles come and go. They even go in cycles. I have a sister-in-law who keeps all her dresses just in case they will be in vogue someday again.
    I find some of the new fashions downright ugly, but that is strictly a personal matter of taste. Comfort for me is the most important aspect in deciding which shoes I buy. Then again I am not a woman. But I know that you will understand, Ann.

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    • That’s so true! My dad never got rid of his ties, because he said they’d all come back in style, and he was right: narrow ties, wide ties, they just switched what was in style every few years. I also buy my shoes mostly for comfort (and the few I don’t I just wear for a very short time, when needed). But now I need shoes that support the side of my foot and protect it while the bone finishes healing, so that’s more of a challenge. Thanks for the comment, Peter!

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  19. At my age, comfort is the most important thing. Heels are for funerals and wedding most of the time. I like Clarks brand as they have sensible sandals that don’t look too bad. And I have found one pair of heels that look good and are comfortable. Down here I wear sandals almost year round. Glad you are out of the monster book!

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    • That’s what I do too! I wear flats except for really dressy occasions, and even then my heels are just one inch high, which is all I can manage to walk in. And you’re right about Clarks. After I wrote this post, I looked at a Clarks shoe store and found a pair of very comfortable, supportive and even nice-looking black sandals! So now I have two pairs I can wear for the next month, and I only think one of them is ugly. That’s progress!

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    • Those heels will not be worn for the next few months, I’m quite sure! Plus, I only wear them when I have to be really dressed up anyway, which isn’t very often. And you’re right, most people don’t notice what other people are wearing on their feet anyway, so why worry? Thanks for the good wishes!

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  20. Hahaha!!! I have a pair of those shoes!!!! Maybe not the exact pair but yea, I have a pair. Searched a week to find them. Pain eventually made me choose the black ones. OMG, I had to wear them to the market, to get gas, to my brother’s place. With some Dr. Scholls fotpads! Of course, just because I stare at other people’s foot wear does not mean they care about mine. Most people could not care less about what my shoes look like. But I want to have on shoes that look cute and match my outfit. I want to wear those sparkly sandals. However, I also want to walk without a limp. Someday I may get over worrying about how I look to others. I’ll be that old lady who wears purple.

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    • You and I think alike! I want shoes that protect my foot and let that bone heal, and I know that most others don’t care about what shoes I’m wearing, but darn…..I want to look down and my feet and not think, “wow, are those ugly shoes!” I may not wear heels, but I do like my shoes to match the rest of my outfit. But, sadly, we don’t always get what we want out of life, and for now, I agree with you: the ability to walk without a limp is the most important. And someday,when you’re the old lady in purple, just know that there’s another old lady in purple out there too: me!

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    • That’s true! Dr. Scholls sells arch supports that work really well, and I think you can get custom made supports from podiatrists, too. (That’s what my mom has. She bought a pair of very supportive shoes, and then they altered them to address her particular issues.) Right now, the main issue I have to address is to make sure the shoe holds my foot firmly in place so that I can’t twist it. That’s how I’m supposed to protect the bone as it heals. Thanks so much for this comment!

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  21. Ahh-that shoe thing . . .I adore cute shoes, though I limit myself on how many I have. Cute takes a back seat these days to comfortable and safe, though. Clothing too is comfortable first and sensible, These days I stay far away from flash! Well, friend I so hope your recovery is quicker than you think. My those sensible sandals carry you on happy trails!

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  22. We can face so much with great courage, yet, suddenly something small comes up, so tiny against all we have been through, and…. we seem to wobble.

    I’ve gone to God so often about this wobble. What does it say about my faith when all it takes is a wee thing to get to me?
    Through your post God replied,
    Lean against Me like a child and I will comfort you.

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    • I think it is often the small things that challenge us the most, maybe because we didn’t gather our strength in advance, the way we do when we know something really hard is coming our way? But for whatever the reason, it happens, and then yes, we do need comfort from both God and other people. I’m so glad that my post helped you today!

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  23. Way to go, Ann, looking on the bright side! I, too, haven’t worn heels in AGES. Working for myself in a tech field practically insures my feet aren’t in the public eye, so it’s moccasins, sneakers, and boots for me. Plus, I have inherited bunions and probably ought to swap over to “sensible shoes,” but I just can’t force myself to do so. Hope you heal soon and can get back to cute shoes again!

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    • I’m so glad you’re able to wear comfortable shoes while you work! And yeah, it is hard to switch over to sensible shoes, especially if you define them as basically orthopedic shoes, which I do. But I know I’ll be able to wear my normal shoes once again, and that helps. It’s a good thing that my normal shoes aren’t high heels! Thanks for the comment!

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    • There’s nothing wrong with sensible sandals! (Although like you, I prefer not to wear them with socks.) I’m not a huge fan of the first pair I bought, but they are comfortable so they get the job done. But I also found a pair of Clark’s that are sensible and decent looking, so who knows? I may be a convert!

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  24. Oh, I missed the break. So sorry about your foot. I am not really a shoe person and have always opted for comfort over fashion because to me when a woman wears those great looking shoes, but can only do it for the first 45 minutes of the event (date/wedding/whatever) and then spends the rest of it walking around barefoot, it would be better to just wear comfortable shoes. Or when a woman wears some great looking shoes but looks like she is having a seizure as she walks in them . . . again, it would just be better to wear comfortable shoes. So . . . I applaud you in taking on your new attitude!

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    • Thank you, Terre! My foot is healing, and I’m learning to love my comfort sandals. And I’m like you, I don’t care to wear shoes that hurt, even when I’m not dealing with a broken foot. My idea of dress shoes is a nice pair of flats, and my idea of really dressy shoes is a one-inch heel! (Which do indeed come off after an hour or so…..ha!)

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