Women and shoes. Forever together, forever a slave to each other yet a fashion MUST–is this a good thing? I myself try hard to stay away from obsessing over this fashion item. I mean, I like shoes, but I don’t own fifty pairs of them, that’s for sure. There is something about fussing over shoes that connotes a certain feminine shallowness about it. I understand women’s interest in finding great footwear, but throughout my life, I have always fought its grip to be able to be seen as a thinking, creative woman (maybe even for feminist reasons). Why should we justify spending half of our paychecks on a fashion item that on most days, is not practical enough to wear?
Take from culture: Carrie, a character from the tv show Sex and the City. She was a role-model I had during my late twenties. An independent urban spirit with a designer shoe addiction, Carrie was still able to hold her own; career-wise as a writer, and socially with her group of friends. This is only on tv, but then I see how girl friends of mine collect shoes, and remember how my own mother had around 30 pairs of similar looking black pumps, and I wonder now if this image of women finding self-esteem and worth from fabulous footwear is actually closer to reality than I thought.
On this note, I have a pair of black stiletto pumps that I have been trying to “break in” for a year now. Why do high heels have to be such a pain to wear? It’s not my first pair of heels, but this is my first stiletto pump. I’m used to clunky heels on boots, but stiletto pumps are a totally different animal. Buy pumps with room for your toes and the back heel slides off. Get a pair that are tight, and your toes feel like they are being murdered when you walk. I got a size smaller because the salesman said that leather only gets bigger when it stretches, and the smaller size was the only one that didn’t lift in the heel when I walked. He said I would have to break them in…and that was a year ago. Til recently, these pumps have mocked me when I looked at them, they were so difficult to break in.
And guess what? I actually conquered them! It took me a week of pain, but when the event I wanted them for came, I wore them all night beautifully, without any pain at all, and they went great with my outfit. I must say black pointy pumps are a fashion staple. But have I been converted to a shoe junkie? Do I see shoes as an obsessesion worthy piece of fashion? Well, let’s just say I’m now a slight believer, yet I still advocate for a modest shoe collection, if possible!
How I broke in my leather pumps:
1. It is true, leather stretches. Which means getting a pair of pumps with space to move can be more hazardous to wear when it stretches and keeps slipping off your feet. You can buy heel huggers, but they only work on tight heels anyways…so buy a snug size, and try to break them in yourself.
2. What I did was use rubbing alcohol on the shoes. I applied it many times with a cotton swab, inside and out. And them I wore them around the house to stretch them. This was probably the most uncomfortable part of breaking them in. It took me several days of doing this at night time whenever I was home.
3. Condition and re-condition with coconut oil: I noticed when leather is “dry”, it doesn’t keep it’s stretch. So after using rubbing alcohol on the shoes to stretch it, unwind the leather by applying a bit of oil on a cotton swab all over the shoes. Consesquently, you can also focus on areas that are still too tight, like I did with the toe box. Mine were still too tight, so I repeated steps 2 and 3 a few times over the course of a week.
4. Wear them outside for a practice run: Bring back up shoes in case they irritate you in a way you didn’t expect them to while out. I test ran my pumps while having lunch with some friends. It was a good idea, because apparently, I had to practice walking in stilettos. It is as hard as it looks! I had nearly wiped out twice! 🙂 But all in all, enjoy your great shoes, but don’t obsess!