Shopping for Shoes (Men)

(Note: This picture does not do these shoes justice.)

I went shopping for shoes this weekend.

My shopping trip should have been simple. I knew exactly what I wanted: a pair of brown strappy heels perfect for summer days in the office. 

As the weekend approached and the various commercials advertising great deals aired, I thought that I was sure to find what I was looking for.

On Friday, I went to five stores near my house, but found nothing.  Not a problem, I thought. I still had time.

On Sunday, I checked Nine West, Aldo, and six more stores and found a few pairs that I liked.  I spotted a pair of Mary Jane flats that were super cute, even though they didn't have straps and weren't heels.  But, the store didn't have them in my size.  Then, I spotted a pair of brown pumps. They were open toed, very lovely, but had no straps. Plus, they were a little more businessy than what I had wanted.  Should I buy them, I wondered.  I decided to.  They were cute, on sale, and I could return them.  I knew that I could probably find a pair that I liked better somewhere else, but I wanted to have them as a back-up, just in case, because I was tired of looking.

On Monday, I made my way to Nordstrom's Rack and DSW.  I told myself that if I didn't find a pair at either one of these stores, then I would just keep the shoes I had found at Aldo.  The Rack, with tons of cool, chic shoes, was a feast for my feet.  It had flats and heels in every color and size.  (Gladiator shoes and flip flops were in particular abundance on this day.)  Then I spotted the most gorgeous pair of two-toned brown strappy heels. The price: two times what I had budgeted to spend on shoes.  I tried them on, just to see how they felt, and they felt like silk, and for a split second, I almost felt as if I were Cinderella.  The shoes felt like they belonged

on my feet. They looked great and felt amazing.  I walked around the store wearing them, imagining what it would be like to own them, even though I knew that I couldn't afford them. So, after a few moments of convincing myself that it was silly and emotionally turtuous to prance around the store in shoes I knew that I wasn't going to buy, I took them off.

Headed for the exit, I spotted a pair of brown flats, with straps. They were cute, comfy, and well within my price range. I liked them. My mom liked them.  I was going to buy them.  But then, I envisioned myself wearing them, and I was bored.  They were boring. They had no pop, no pizzaz.  So, I left the store, frustrated.  Nordstrom's had hundreds of pairs of shoes in my size, and I had found nothing.  I got in my car, further upset by the fact that I had paid two dollars to park.  

Would I have to deduct that two dollars from my shoe budget?

I drove to DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) pseudo-confident that I would find something, "If I don't find anything here," I told my mom, "then there's no hope."  Immediately I headed to the sales rack.  A beautiful pair of brown leather heels waved hello to me.  They had straps and were definitely what I call Bad Mama Jamma Heels. They were just what I was looking for.  And, they were the same price as the back-up shoes I had purchased at Aldo.

I put them on, and checked out my feet in the mirror.  They looked really good.  I felt like a model in a magazine.  I decided to wear them while I shopped, to see how they would feel on my feet after an extended period of time.

As I walked, I noticed that the shoes didn't offer much support. In fact, they felt kind of loose, even though they were my size, an 8 1/2.  I told myself that I would just have to make sure that I was careful when I walked, relying on myself, rather than my shoes, for support.

"Do these shoes look big?" I asked my mom. "Yeah, they're kind of bulging,"she said.

"Really? You think so?"  I didn't want to hear the truth--that my perfect pair of shoes wasn't perfect-- that I had been looking for three days and had gone to more than fifteen stores for this let down.  Neither did I want to acknowledge the fact that my feet were really starting to hurt. 

So, I took the shoes off, and put them back on the rack. I tried to convince myself that I would find another pair that I liked, but as I searched the racks, I found nothing.  I decided to check the section of size 8 shoes, though, before I left.  Maybe I could find a shoe there that fit me; sometimes shoes ran a little small or big.  Then, I came across the same pair of brown leather shoes, in a size 8. I grabbed them, just to see if they fit.

They did. There was no bulging, and I felt fully supported.  They still hurt, but what four inch heels don't?

I put them back in the box and walked them to the register. I bought them.  Once home, I took them out of the box, just to admire them.  Now, I'm just figuring out the best outfit to debut them with.

As I was shopping, I couldn't help but compare shopping to dating.

I feel like I know what I want, what works well for my personality and lifestyle, and what doesn't.  I'm in my thirties, now.

Finding what I want, however, isn't always so easy.  The search is filled with promising starts, dead ends, frustration, fatigue, and hope interspersed between.  

Sometimes I feel tempted to settle for a pair that I like, versus waiting for pair that I love, or maybe even adore.  

And then there's still the issue of longevity.  Will I even like my pair of brown leather strappy shoes next season or next year?  Will they fit my feet five, ten years from now?  Will I want them to?

I'm learning that in shopping, patience (coupled with selectivity), is everything.