I do not understand shoe obsessions, I have better luck understanding people who have shoe obsessions, until they start doing anything with shoes.
I hate shopping for shoes more than I hate wearing shoes. I’ve been known to wear shoes much longer than one should simply to avoid the torture of looking for a newer pair. Nevertheless, I make myself attempt to find a new pair every year (usually during tax-free week, just to take some of the sting out of it).
I’d rather be doing anything else on this particular day, still I rolled into the store hoping that just maybe I’d find a pair of shoes without much emotional distress, but I see at least two sales associates I don’t particularly like so I duck into an aisle and start pulling any pair in my size.
Suddenly there was a sales associate standing three feet from me.
“Those are 860s. Those are great shoes. I didn’t mean to overhear your conversation.”
At this point I’m looking down at my feet wondering how on earth she knew what shoes I was wearing based on sight, especially since they were on my feet and I couldn’t find the number printed on the side.
“If that’s what you’re looking for I can try to find them for you.”
I didn’t like the shoes I had on, but they had a few things working in their favor, they weren’t painful their first second they were on my feet, they fit both of my feet, they still fit without much wear and tear or any deconstruction.
“We keep the smaller sizes in the back. What size do you need?”
I’ve been through this song and dance before so I tell her what I need and continue my own search.
“Are these OK?” she says holing open a box which I look upon with skepticism.
Footwear viability has to pass three phases for me:
-Can I get them on my feet?
-Can I tie them without discomfort?
-Can I walk in them?
The first phase may seem silly but you’d be surprised how quickly a pair of shoes gets a failing grade.
“We’ll have to see if they fit to answer that.”
I make my way to the nearest bench, conveniently out of the eye line of the other sales people and most customers, and proceed to “take apart” one shoe fully expecting the sales associate to voice an objection under the camouflaged as help or left to help someone who actually seemed to need it.
Instead she picks up the other shoe removes the insole and precedes to re-lace the shoe in the same way I had before handing it to me, without making a single comment.
I cautiously put on the right shoe, because if the right shoe doesn’t work there’s no point. Then the left.
Somehow, somewhat miraculously, they fit.
I got a pair of shoes that day, that will probably last until next year, when I repeat this process (and I’m already dreading it).
It’s highly unlikely that the right pair of shoes will help me change the world but a sales person who spends most of her week with shoes changed my experience, even if it might be just once (although I hope it’s not).