I should have known better.
I should have known that it wouldn’t be as simple as purchasing a pair of shoes online and having them magically be everything I wanted and needed them to be. And frankly, I should have known MYSELF better, and not second-guessed my instincts about what kind of shoe I actually wanted or needed.
However, after having gone shoe shopping at multiple local stores in-person, and still not finding what I was looking for, I was frustrated and getting more anxious by the day. My internal thought process went something like this:
Would I find them in time? Would I have to settle for something ugly or cheap looking? Something I would buy for one occasion and then never wear again? Or maybe I would have to forego comfort altogether and just go for something that looks good, even if I want to fling them at the wall after an hour or less of wearing them.
Or, should I go to the other extreme and get something comfortable, even if they aren’t that great or fancy looking? Maybe I should just settle on something I already own, so I at least don’t have to worry about it anymore or needlessly spend money on something I won’t like, anyway.
Shoe shopping stresses me out, if you couldn’t already tell. Especially since there seems to be a real disconnect in the fashion industry between what looks good and what feels good. It always takes me a LOOONNNNG time to find what I’m looking for, whether it’s dress shoes or everyday walking shoes, and a lot of times, I just don’t find what I’m looking for at all. :( I even know some brides who’ve made the choice to go barefoot at their wedding, and I completely understand why.
Are the majority of women’s dress shoe designers out-of-touch men, who just don’t understand that beauty and comfort don’t have to be mutually exclusive??? Or crazy alpha females who just want “normal women” to suffer, whether we wear their impossible shoes or not???
Maybe they’re all sadists, and the only way to rectify this is if people rise up in revolution and demand better shoes.
Or, (*cue heroic music*) if a hero leader takes it into her own hands and designs them herself, FOR THE GOOD OF ALL WOMAN-KIND. (I could be a shoe designer, right??? I mean, I have feet. I’ve worn shoes all my life and I think I have a pretty good idea what makes a good shoe or a bad one. Hmmm…*wheels start turning*…)
Oh, wait…sorry. Back to the point. :)
So, in a moment of desperation, I went ahead and ordered a pair of shoes online, and crossed my fingers, hoping for the unlikeliest of results: that they would just fit and feel good and be beautiful and that I could wear them all day and dance in them all night on my wedding day. I even bought them in two sizes, hoping I could increase my odds of finding the right fit, and just send the not-fitting size back.
At roughly $100 each, this wasn’t a cheap endeavor, but I was hoping that it would be worth it in the end. I was also seduced by their supreme sparkliness (*ooooh, ahhhh*), which I thought would go just perfectly with the bit of bling on my dress.
I was also hoping that they would arrive in time for my dress alterations fitting, but sadly, they did not. So in the interim, I took with me a pair that I already owned that I thought were of approximately the same height.
When the shoes I ordered finally arrived, I opened the box, and was instantly delighted by the packaging. It was fancy and befitting of a glamorous and superior shoe experience, and the product card made bold promises that I was really hoping were true.
However, it was only downhill from there.
Upon inspection, I quickly noticed that one of the shoes had what appeared to be an unsightly glue stain on it, which quickly transformed my positive first impression to disappointment. Really? $100 for this? Nuh uh. That ain’t cool.
Still, I tried it on to at least see how it felt and to determine if the size was right, but, alas, as I had feared, given the style’s pointy-toed nature, they were way too snug on my toes. If I planned to attend my wedding with all 10 toes intact, it sure as heck wouldn’t be in these shoes.
Ever the eternal optimist, I hoped that maybe the other pair, which was a half size up, would end up fitting better. If so, I’d just return the snug, stained pair, and that would be that. But, sadly, neither one fit or felt good. As soon as I put them on, it was clear.
In a bit of denial, I walked around the house a few times, trying to see if there was any way they would work, but I knew deep down that they wouldn’t. I couldn’t walk around in them for even a few minutes without them hurting my feet, let alone a full wedding day. Sigh. They would need to go back.
In the meantime, I looked a couple more times in local stores to see if I could find anything that would do, but everything either looked super cheap, and/or didn’t feel good. Boo.
Finally, on a day when I had some time, and when the weather was experiencing a brief thaw from the Michigan winter (and by brief, I mean, the ice and snow had just melted, but more freezing rain was due later that evening), I got up the nerve to drive the hour or so it would take to get to the nearest Nordstrom (where I had bought the original shoes from online, and where I was hoping their in-store selection would be better than my local options).
I was pleased to find that their return process for the original shoes was easy and hassle-free, and that the refund posted pretty much immediately (score, customer service). As I perused the various shoes they had on display, I realized that their inventory was all behind closed doors. After a short time, they greeted me, and I told them what I was more-or-less looking for.
An associate brought out a few options for me to try, and whether through luck or divine intervention, the very first pair I tried felt better than anything I ever expected. The color was a little bit “off” from my original vision (matching the bling on my dress), so it took me a while to make up my mind, but after putting them on and taking them off and putting them back on, and walking around the shoe section several times, I realized that I just couldn’t given them up.
I mean, they were comfortable (heels not too high, no painful rubbing ANYWHERE), secure (thanks to the thick ankle straps, I could actually walk and dance in them without stepping out of them, tripping, or anything else), and I could see myself actually wanting to wear them again after the wedding was over, meaning they were a worthwhile long-term investment. BINGO.
Not to mention, who was really going to see my feet, anyway? Sure, there might be a few moments here and there when people might ask to see my shoes (do people do that?), but for the most part, my feet would be covered by my dress all day. So even though the color wasn’t a perfect match, that really shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. After all, they were still really cute, and had everything else I was looking for. I had officially talked myself into it.
And thank goodness, because I was SO sick of worrying about it. With just over a month to go, and additional dress alterations appointments depending on the outcome of this decision, I was so glad to have the matter finally settled.
Fast forward to the wedding – how did they actually work out?
Well, they were total champs throughout the day and the majority of the reception. It was only at the very end of the night that my feet started hurting, but for dress shoes, that is still stellar in my book. I’d call that a WIN!