Head over heels for footwear

May 22, 2013 

I wrote a column several years ago about how you always see that one lonesome shoe on the side of the road. It is never in a pair and there is probably a great back story on how it got there.

Ever since then, my friend Mark has noticed the same thing. I’ll get a text: “Dude, just saw a sneaker on the corner of Tom Hall.”

What I find strangest about this observation is the type of shoe carelessly tossed aside. It is almost always a laced athletic shoe, sometimes hanging out in the bike lane, sometimes taunting us from above, dangling off the telephone wires. Occasionally it is a flip-flop, forlornly far from the beach or a pool. Every now and then, it isn’t a shoe at all, but rather a filthy sock, perhaps trying to find its solemate.

You know what is never haphazardly thrown to nature? A high-heeled shoe.

This is where man’s necessity for function vs. style makes the lack of cast away high heels as a very illogical event. First off, we’ve all been somewhere when a heel snaps. Man’s instinct would be to fling the shoe aside. Women? They try to nurse the shoe back to life like an injured bird with a broken wing. They pick up the pieces, probably weep a little, and stash them in their purse until they can do some emergency repairs later on.

Men also look at walking as a means of transportation, not a chance to show off their leg lines or their calf muscles. If I want somebody to see my calf, I’ll get a tattoo of the Yankees emblem or an Italian flag. I walk with purpose, not like I’m sashaying down Top Model’s runway. You see, men survey the land and sees that not all surfaces are equal. We realize that tile, carpet, concrete and wood all represent different challenges for solid footing to be maintained. That doesn’t even take into account nature’s input. Sometimes we have to travel over rain, snow, ice and hills. You want to attempt to ascend a walk up an icy driveway in four-inch stilettos simply to get to a cocktail party waiting at the top?

Men run to that party confidently with rubber beneath us. We don’t cheat death getting there. Perhaps a man and his liver cheat it later, but that’s a different story. They make funny movies about hangovers, but you rarely get a laughfest at the expense of a sprained ankle.

Men can’t win when it comes to footwear, though. We can’t fathom how geishas would bind their feet to make them teeny, tiny appendages. We also can’t grasp why somebody wants to walk teetering and balancing each step of the way. We don’t do those things for fashion, we do it for danger. I guarantee if I told my wife I was joining the Wallendas as their newest tightrope walker, I’d get a lecture on how selfish I was risking life and limb and if I invested in a pair of stilts, I’d be called a clown.

But I’m not supposed to say a word when $150 is plunked down on footwear that is less stable than ice skates and forces one to wobble like a Weeble supported on a toothpick?

Maybe the ragged tennis shoe ends up at the side of the road to get some peace and quiet, driven mad by a closet full of high-maintenance formal wear.

I don’t blame it.

You can reach Scott at costanalysiscolumn@gmail.com for calf tattoo ideas.

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