These shoes were made for . . . social distancing? I don’t think so.

Another first-world problem has emerged during the current health crisis. I know it’s frivolous but at times like this, we have to lighten up or we’ll go crazy. This past winter I bought some new shoes. Actually, I bought more than one pair of new shoes (the actual number will remain our secret in case my husband reads this). Is there anything in the world that makes a woman feel more glorious than a new pair of shoes? And spring is the perfect time to crack open the box and wear them outside. But, because of COVID-19 and the restrictions of physical isolation, I can’t go anywhere. We’re confined to quarters wearing our slippers.

Shopping for new shoes in the fifties was a rare treat.

Who remembers when we were little girls in the fifties, the first time each spring when we trotted out in our street shoes, unencumbered by clunky winter boots and snow pants? We felt light as a feather and literally skipped down the street with our leather soles clicking on the finally dry pavement. Easter Sunday was often the big reveal when we would finally put on our shiny Mary-Janes with fresh white socks, our spring coat, and no mitts. Back then, shoe stores still smelled like leather and it was such a treat when my mother took me to the Bata store in our small town to buy a new pair of “good shoes” for Easter Sunday.

Spring 2020 is finally here and my shiny new shoes have nowhere to go. I suppose I could wear them around the house but I’ve discovered it’s too much trouble to take them off and put them back on every time I lie down on the couch or recline in my LaZgirl to read a book. So, they languish in the front hall closet. My busy schedule of reading, snoozing and making tea precludes the requirement for shoes. It’s possible they’ll even be out of style before I get to wear them in public.

By the time boomer gals reach the age we’re at now, we’ve pretty much nailed down the brands of shoes we prefer and know our size in each brand. That makes it easy to shoe-shop online and I’ve had great success doing this. There is definitely an upside to being stuck in front of my computer screen. Stilettos and heels are distant memories replaced by industrial-strength arch supports and soft soles. I trawl ShopStyle and Amazon for sales and I’ve scored amazing deals on my faves.

New shoes and nowhere to go.

For years now, I’ve been a devoted fan of FitFlops, the brand (not flipflops the style). Designed by a British foot doctor, they have thick rubber soles and decent arch supports. I have more pairs of their sandals than I care to admit and have recently purchased a few pairs of their slip-on loafers. Many boomer gals prefer Birkies but I find they’re not soft enough and they’re a bit too flat. This winter, I discovered Vionic shoes that have amazing arch supports and certain styles of Ecco that also have substantial arch supports. I have really high arches, one of which is collapsing, and twice I’ve been downed by plantar fasciitis for extended periods of time, so support is essential.

Prior to the current crisis, I’d been test-driving my new Vionics and Ecco shoes to see which ones would earn the privilege of accompanying me on the writers’ retreat in Paris I’d booked in June 2020. I had plenty of walking planned during that trip. Well, it looks like the trip is off, or at least postponed for who-knows-how-long. I’m sure the shoes are almost as disappointed as I am and we can only hope they will see the light of day and tread the streets of Paris or at least a local mall before they go out of style.

Ahhh! If only.

I’ve always likened new shoes to wearing a pair of magic carpets on my feet. They elevate our souls above our mundane daily lives to imagined heights of fashion glory and wearing them inspires a unique feeling of joie de vivre. Shoes don’t care how much we weigh or whether or not we’re having a bad hair day. Gorgeous shoes are guaranteed to elevate our spirits and make us feel invincible. It’s the closest we’ll ever come to feeling like Cinderella at the ball. But, wearing them around the house with my nightgown or sweat pants just doesn’t have the same effect.

Last fall I bought a lovely sunflower yellow blazer at Talbot’s which I was so looking forward to wearing with my dark wash jeans and new loafers this spring. I’m dying to trip out in my new spring colours and styles, putting all those boring black fashions in the back corner of the closet for a few months. But, we’ve been scuppered.

We have no idea how long the current situation will prevail but when it is finally over, hairdressers, nail salons and shopping malls will be stampeded. Boomers with sad, DIY haircuts and long grey roots will storm the Bastille wearing bold animal print shoes, bright pinks, and citrus greens, sporting every accessory we own. We’ll be dancing in the streets, just like they did on VE Day in 1945 but in gorgeous new shoes. It’s important to have something to look forward to. Right?



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3 years ago

Great walk down memory lane Lynda. We only had two pairs of shoes as kids, our good shoes and our every day shoes. My mother always sewed my sister and I matching Easter outfits which we accessorized with hats and white gloves to get ready for the Easter parade…… sending old man winter out the door. I remember my first pair of shoes where the strap folded back around the back of the shoe or having a slightly raised heal making you feel grown up. Times have certainly changed.

Gail from Oakville

Sue Burpee
3 years ago

I can identify, Lynda. With the Easter memories and with the longing to be able to wear our spring clothes. Once the snow melts and the temperature rises a bit I may be tempted to sit on our deck sipping wine in my spring finery… watching the geese on the river. Ha.