This winter I found the cutest pair of boots. They were utterly impractical “puck” boots, and I knew they would look absolutely adorable with the new skirt I got. (The skirt was specifically chosen because I could stay warm in it, it looked good, and it was light-weight: fashionable and fibro-friendly.)

I don’t normally indulge in fancy shoes, but I was filled with fantasies of myself wearing these boots with my new skirt, dazzling my friends and having a night on the town. On a whim, I bought them. They didn’t hurt too much in the store, so I figured I’d be safe. I wore them around the house for a few hours the next day, and quickly realized that my feet (and body) would be in agony if I wore them for much longer. With much regret, I took them back.

What to do about my lovely black skirt?

Given my current foot/pain issues, I’ve been sticking with shoes I know will be comfortable. I have Asic running shoes with custom-made orthotics. Unfortunately, they come in running shoe color: blindingly white with blue reflective trim. They do not merge well with a floaty black skirt. I’ve taken to wearing both, and screw anyone who wonders if I might be a nurse who’s just come off of night duty, or a runner who’s forgotten to change her shoes.

When my foot gets better and the weather gets warmer, I have permission from my podiatrist to wear either Teva sandals or Birkenstocks. I think they make fancy Birkenstocks now, so I’ll have something to wear to my sister’s wedding besides bright white sneakers.

Why does practical, comfortable footwear seem to conflict so readily with fashion? The orthotic shoes at the podiatrist look like they were made in the 1950s. It’s bad enough that I already feel self-conscious about having a handicapped placard when I “look fine.” Do I have to draw attention to my feet as well?

I suppose this isn’t solely a disability issue. Women have been crippling themselves on the altar of high heeled shoes since they were created. Let’s not forget ballet flats and platforms and all the other fashionable killing machines people seem to put themselves into.

I dream of a day when our society realizes that an attractive woman is one who knows how to pick a practical pair of shoes for that long walk on the beach at sunset.