Can you footwear make you happy?

It’s flip-flop season again.

Once winter ends, I pull all my flip-flops to the front of the closet. It’s rare for anything without a toe strap to adorn my feet from now until the frost returns. Even then I give it a few days. I make sure the cold weather is sticking around before I pack things up. In the interim, my sock drawer gathers cobwebs.

I don’t even grab socks to wear with my sneakers. I sport them au naturel during spring and summer. Giving up socks for me is pure joy; I’ve never found a truly comfortable pair though my current mid-calf bamboo ones are close. Socks make me feel bound up and restricted. And the seams are irritating. I’m thrilled when they go.

I have about nine pairs of flip flops that come in varying levels of sophistication. I feel bad about my conspicuous consumption despite my friends’ collections leaving me in the dust, numbering as they do in the double digits.

Most of my circle are breaking out their versions of summer footwear. Most of them appreciate sandals for their “be kind to your feet” ethos. I abandoned uncomfortable shoes seven years ago; my friends have yet to see the light. They’re still committed to the sexy but ultimately uncomfortable.

It’s not that I seek out ugly; my shoes don’t look like historical orthopedic wear. I simply got tired of feeling the weird pain that’s sort of relief but mostly pain that happens when you slip off your heels. I got tired of blisters from poorly-fitting straps. I got tired of ingrown toenails, a problem I thought I’d outgrown that re-emerged when pointy toes made a comeback. I got tired of facing six-block walks with dread.

Are flip-flops peak shoe construction? Are they perfect? I’m sure they’re good for you. They expose the tootsies to fresh air. The lungs on your feet will appreciate that. They also let in sunshine and natural light which helps them grow. Plus, walking in them is good for the calves and the glutes. Toe-clench your way to a perkier ass. Dr. Scholl’s had a whole advertising campaign built around that very principle in the nineteen-eighties.  

I wonder if there is a perfect shoe, a unisex wonder design that improves posture, invigorates the feet, and makes the wearer happy? Few things drag you down like tired and aching dogs. Is the secret to a satisfying and meaningful life already known to cobblers?

I checked with my oracle and listened to the words of wisdom about footwear on offer. According to Google, there is no perfect shoe. Apparently, different tasks have different requirements. One cannot take one’s golfing shoes to the seashore. Though you could wear flip-flops to both.

I’m just saying.

Although they might make you leave the golf course. I’ve heard they can be testy.

Perhaps the question should be rephrased. Perhaps it’s not “is there one perfect shoe for everyone?” Maybe we should ask, “Does everyone have a shoe that gives them happy feet, a meaningful and joyous life, and energized legs? Is there a sole mate for everyone?”

I’ve found mine. The perfect shoe within the perfect family of shoes.

If you expect a shout-out to famous flip-flops like Oakley or Havaiana, you’re going to be disappointed. The perfect shoes are cheap ones I found at Walmart. They’re made by a company called Star Bay.

They’re synthetic rubber, like Crocs. They feel soft and smooth; no break-in period is necessary. They shape the foot and have nice arch support. They have a little lip around the edge that stops the feet from collapsing off the sides. They’re reasonably cute in their two-tone incarnations and have a textured footpad that’s a joy.  

Having comfortable feet and legs is important to me and it can be a challenge. I have a birth defect in the left hip. It needs to be replaced. Ditto the right due to damage to the bone. Both conditions cause pain and make finding decent footwear important. I also have the aforementioned chronic problem with ingrown toenails to consider. And, seven years ago, I fractured my lower back. It was exceptionally inconvenient but did inspire the footwear changes and the quest for the dream shoe.

I went through a lot of frogs before I found my prince. My current loves make my feet and legs sing – or at least not weep at the end of the day. My ankles no longer get puffy. I’m not desperate to rip what might qualify as torture devices off at the end of the day anymore. I waved good-bye to my stilettos with only a tiny pang of regret. I do, however, miss regularly wearing kitten heels.

But flip-flops have become my jam. Once I can safely get a pedicure again, they’ll be perfect.

Happy feet don’t fix everything. But miserable feet bring misery. That’s a guarantee.

Do you have a favourite shoe style? Do you have multiples of favourite shoes?

4 thoughts on “Can you footwear make you happy?

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