My left foot takes a hit for fashion

Published June 1, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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I brought a pair of flat sandals with me to work the other day because I knew the shoes I had worn would start hurting my feet.

Common sense says to just wear the comfortable shoes first. But I am a woman.

Before anybody takes me to task for being sexist, let me explain. I was hobbling to my vehicle after lunch this day, curling my toes, trying to shove my left foot forward or back, whatever might work to stop the pain, and I switched shoes immediately.

When I got back to the office, wearing flip-flops instead of the trendy leather boot-type shoes I’d been wearing, the first email I read surprised me. It was spam, but I read it.

The dateline was Cedarville, Ohio, and this was the lead: “The stereotype that women wear uncomfortable shoes to be fashionable was put to the test and found to be true by five Cedarville University undergraduate pharmacy students.”

Well, it got my attention. I thought it was a pretty strange coincidence that I was having a shoe issue.

The five people who did research asked female students and faculty if they would wear uncomfortable shoes if they were considered fashionable.

The data collected in April showed that 46.5 percent of women at Cedarville would wear uncomfortable shoes if they were fashionable. Cedarville is above the 37 percent national average found by The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, the news release states. (I had never heard of a chiropodist — I had to look it up. It’s just another word for podiatrist, from what I found.)

Of the 619 responses the survey produced, 288 women said yes, they would wear shoes that were uncomfortable if they were fashionable, and 331 said no, they would not wear shoes that were uncomfortable even if they were fashionable.

Student Emilie Bergsma said she and the other researchers predicted that Cedarville women would be willing to wear uncomfortable shoes.

“[Cedarville is] a more professional environment than most schools, so people tend to want to look nicer,” she said.

I have been wearing uncomfortable, fashionable shoes since I could walk, practically.

My mother calls it the “red shoe syndrome.” When I was about 3, I wanted some red patent-leather shoes. They didn’t fit, but I said they did because I loved them.

Throughout my life, I have had some comfortable shoes. The fad of wearing moccasins when I was in high school was a good one; it was like wearing house shoes to school.

Sometimes I’ve heard women refer to beautiful, uncomfortable shoes as “church shoes” because that’s when you wear them, just for an hour or so, to church.

I try to find shoes that are both fashionable and comfortable, but the two don’t always go together.

I thought the trendy shoes I bought recently were wonderful until I walked in them one entire day. It mainly was my left foot that had excruciating pain.

Hmm. I’ve decided it’s not the cute shoes; it’s my foot.

Reluctantly, I returned them to the store, told the woman at the counter I had the receipt and about my problem, and she actually took the shoes back.

I sadly watched them go, but I’m happier, and so is my left foot.

Now I’m thinking of looking for some gorgeous, comfortable, red patent-leather shoes.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

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