If there is anywhere you can travel in the United States and look absolutely as bodacious or hellacious as you wish, it is New York City.
I personally like to land somewhere in between a ragamuffin and royalty, which leads me to dress simply yet stylishly. Looking fashionable in New York in the winter means boots on the feet, so this is what I wore on my last day trip to the city with my boyfriend. We like to walk rather than take the subways or cabs, so for New York purposes I own a couple pairs of stylish yet perfectly comfortable boots. Very unfortunately, on this day I chose a different pair that, although previously worn when walking the city streets, now lashed out at me. After an hour, the soles turned to steel, the leather hardened into concrete and what had been boots morphed into foot severing devices. I wanted to rip them off my feet and throw them to the ground. So I did.
On the floor of a shoe store is where I actually hurled them, an emergency pit stop that saved the day. “Come on, pick them up,” my boyfriend said, as I walked away, leaving them alone on the floor to die. “Later you’ll be glad you have them.” So I threw the things in a bag as I walked out of the store wearing my newfound best friends – $30 cushiony pillows of joy known as sandals. With these and a pair of newly-bought thick socks to shield my feet from the cold, I felt like I was walking on sponges. The relief was intense.
If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking when you travel, here’s some advice to help you avoid sinking so deep into a pit of pain that you have to unexpectedly spend money just to put one foot in front of the other.
1. Think. Before you walk out the door for even a half day of walking, ask yourself are these comfortable shoes for traveling more than one mile? (that’s approximately two kilometers to everyone but us Americans). If the answer is yes, ask yourself again. Really? Am I positive? Have they caused me even a little pain before? Minor discomfort while strolling the mall can turn into fiery jabs that feel like death knells when roaming around all day.
2. Bring relief supplies. Namely, Band-Aids and a pair of socks. Seriously. Band-Aids might cushion any blisters or cuts well enough to get you through the remainder of your day. If you’re wearing sandals, bring a pair of socks in case the sandals begin to hate you. If you’re wearing shoes with a pair of thin socks, thicker socks could help lessen the blows of the shoes if they begin to attack your feet. If the socks you started out with are thick, a thinner pair might help, as they won’t shove your feet quite as tightly into the offending shoes.
3. Carry backup shoes. Chances are if you’re on a day-long walking excursion you’ll be carrying a small backpack or a large bag anyway. So throw in a pair of comfortable walking shoes like lightweight sandals or sneakers. If you’re concerned about appearances, rest assured you’ll look better wearing these than you will hobbling.
As for my scythe-like boots, am I glad I didn’t leave them lying on the floor where I threw them? No.
Five-inch heels thumbnail photo by Northhampton Museum