I am not sure when exactly my life long love affair with shoes has started. But it definitely took years to develop and mature. When I was growing up in Russia, we had money for only one pair of shoes each season. It had to be practical — not fashion forward. And each season I would wear it out. Safe to say, I did not have a shoe collection. We moved to the United States when I was seventeen. I enrolled into the local high school during my senior year. It was miserable. I went to the community college after that. And after 3 more years, I transferred to the State University. While going to the university I got a part-time job and finally was able to spend a portion of my salary as I pleased. This was the begging …
“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” Marilyn Monroe.
With a small budget to spend, I started to buy shoes whenever I could afford a new pair. Some people go to church on Sunday, I would go to a mall. I would spend easily half a day, wondering through stores trying pair after pair. At first, it was a sport. The more pairs I had; the better I felt. I did not care about fashion, style, or comfort. All I wanted was to grow my collection because I had never had one. I had this image in my head from all the American movies I watched — closets filled with shoes. My favorite movie, of all time, was Sex and the City. I dreamed of having racks and racks of shoes.
After I satisfied the shoe quantity hunger, I started to want quality and style. Also, I no longer wanted to tolerate a pain that cheap footwear was giving me. I increased my budget to $100. I would look for shoes that were $100 on sale, meaning their original price would be $150 and up. I loved to get good deals. At that time, zappos.com was my best friend. It had free shipping and constant sales. Almost everyday, I would check out sales and order 4 to 5 pairs of shoes. When the box arrived, I would have a little “party” in my office. Few of my co-workers would gather and we would talk shoes. Thankfully, I was very picky when it came to keeping expensive footwear. Most of the time, I would send all of the ordered shoes back. My shipping department knew very well where to ship my return boxes.
Time passed. My salary increased. Zappos website stopped having sales. I had to find alternatives. My next saga was holiday sales. Shoe brands would have great deals during holiday seasons. My budget rose to $200 a pair. This is when I discovered my love. It was Stuart Weitzman’s power pump. It is my favorite for life. I looked for them on every website. I got this shoe in black, nude, blue, and multi colors. It was the beginning of a life long love.
As I grew older, my collection grew bigger. I was no longer buying every week, more like every two or three months. Sometimes to dilute the pile of purple boxes, I would experiment with different shoe brands. BUT I always came back to SW. The combination of price, style, and comfort are hard to find. And I am not saying that every shoe works for me. Sometimes I hate the material, design, or style. I am actually glad when that happens; because, otherwise I would spend way too much money on SW’s shoes.
I wonder at what point the price tag is no longer justified. Right now, my shoes go about $300–400 a pair. They are as comfortable as high heels can get. What about a pair that is $1000? Are they 3 times more comfortable or stylish? Probably not. At that point, is it about a unique vision, a shoe maker, or brand’s name?
I am willing to pay more money for a great looking shoe, but it has to be comfortable. I would not wear a pair that is absolutely beautiful but gives me blisters and pains. The ultimate jack pot is the astonishingly beautiful pair that is comfortable to wear. I think these are hard to come by. The comfort has its limits. For me, SW’s shoes work best with my style and feet. I am sure there are more beautiful shoes that are potentially more comfortable, but I love what I have. And, at this point in my life, I just don’t have time and energy to search for a new love.