Friday, May 28, 2010

The Power of Shoes

The average woman, in her lifetime, spends about $40,500 on shoes. And I would guess that several of us Winos will have spent well over that by the time we are six feet under.

Why is footwear so compelling to us and why do we wear the shoes we do? (And why do I crack up every single time I watch the "Shoes!" video on YouTube?)

Because shoes are much more than things to walk in. Shoes are a form of expression. They bring out certain characteristics in us. They make us feel—and maybe even act—a certain way.

Let me explain. Pictured above are the pairs of shoes that I wear most often.
  • My chucks bring out my inner hipster (and my dog obviously loves them, too!). When I wear them, I feel the urge to peruse used record stores looking for unreleased Velvet Underground singles.
  • My ballet flats make me feel feminine but practical. They are usually the shoes I wear to work.
  • My flip flops are synonymous with laid back. Thinking about them conjures up images of basking in the sun and reading at Dolores Park.
  • My heels make me feel sexy. It's impossible for me to wear them without wearing lipstick and gettin' low, low, low, low.
  • And my boots are warm and comfy. I imagine pairing them with a cute winter coat and going Christmas shopping.
A few nights ago, I spent $130 on a new pair of shoes to add to the repertoire. Observe:

I bought this pair of top-of-the-line running shoes to wear as I start training for my forthcoming Half Marathon. I just started training last week, and it's been tougher than I expected. We have team workouts twice a week—but on the other days, it's up to me to motivate myself to get out of bed at the crack of dawn to run, run, run.

The shoes have helped. The night I got them, they sat on my nightstand while I slept. When my alarm went off at 5:30am and I saw those shoes staring back at me, I got up, slid my feet into them, and headed out to run 3 miles. When I got home from my run, still wearing the shoes, I was hungry. I had passed a McDonald's on the way home and couldn't help but salivate at the the smell of the warm hashbrowns that permeated the air.

Nope—not in these shoes! I had decided. So instead I made myself a 100-calorie english muffin and egg white sandwich with a glass of orange juice.

In the days following, I have continued to sleep with the shoes on my nightstand, and I have continued to notice that they provide just the push I need to stay on track and work towards my goal.

The average woman spends over $40,500 on shoes in her lifetime, so clearly, shoes have some sort of power over us. But if a pair of shoes can get us to change our actions for the better... well, maybe the power of shoes is even greater than we realized.


  1. I feel the same way. Wearing my workout shoes always makes me feel productive and accomplished. I walk faster, and feel goal oriented.

  2. Yeah, pretty much the only thing that will make me do chores around the house is if I have my tennies on! Sad.