I just assumed I’d spend all my adult years wearing heels. After all, I’m not that tall, and that’s what women do, right?
Over time, I’ve built up quite a collection of “grown-up” shoes, in colors from black and pink to red and lime green. When I lived in Chicago proper, I wore stilettos for my standing commute on the El, walking blocks, sometimes miles, in heels and never thinking twice.
Since then, I’ve lived my theory of commuter shoes, which stipulates that the easier the commute, the more comfortable the shoes. I typically wear a relatively comfy pair of atheleisure shoes or sneakers for my commute, then switch at the office.
But this fall, I’ve encountered a couple big obstacles.
First, now that I’ve started grad school, my work bag is stuffed beyond capacity. By the time I haul my laptop, giant packet of readings, lunch and dinner, travel mug and notebook, I have no room left for leisure reading material (not that I have time for such a thing!) or shoes. And in my own vanity, I don’t want to wear the ugly commuter shoes to class. So I’ve been stupidly wearing pretty shoes for walking to the train, to the office, around all day, to class, to Union Station, and finally up the hill to home.
Second, now that I’m running, my feet just can’t take the heels anymore. This week made that especially apparent. After an eight-mile run last Saturday, I developed a small blister on my toe, and my feet were sore. Fair enough. Then Tuesday, I wore relatively low heels all day, including to/from the off-site meeting a few blocks away. Normally, this wouldn’t be any big deal. But the combination of already-sore feet, a blister, and more walking than I intended left me limping by the time I got off the train late Tuesday night.
Wednesday, I woke up with feet that were downright numb. They screamed as soon as I put weight on them. The numbness persisted through a five mile run that evening, all day Thursday, and finally began to ease a bit by mid-day Friday – just in time for today’s long run.
A couple years ago, I sprained my ankle and had to go out and buy flats. I wore those two pairs daily for about three months, then returned to heels. I’ve been wearing those two pairs again (and again) and think it’s time to expand my collection.
Plus, even my old shoes – the ones I’ve worn faithfully for years – suddenly cause problems. They almost feel too small – as if my feet have grown since I started running.
I won’t swear off heels entirely. Sometimes I like the boost of height, and for special occasions, they just seem right. (And what if I meet a really tall guy?) But I’ll start treating my feet – and myself – better.
Besides, thanks in part to running, I feel taller than ever before. So goodbye, heels. It’s been fun.