A few weeks ago, I wandered into Target looking for a gift for my cousin. I ended up purchasing a book (for myself), a pair of shoes (for me), some anklet style socks (to go with the shoes), a bouncy ball that lights up (yes, I was beginning to get desperate), and if I remember correctly, some kitty litter (for my stink-puss). Despite my utter failure to accomplish a goal - my cousin got money and a bottle of Captain - I was especially pleased with my purchases. Most especially? The shoes:
Aren't they totally awesome? I have gotten many positive comments on them. This lead to idle shoe research:
Since ancient times, a person's shoes were a symbol of their rank in society. Peasants wore no shoes or very rudimentary things that barely protected the foot. Skilled laborers and soldiers wore practical foot coverings which allowed a certain degree of movement. The aristocracy wore dainty shoes with ridiculous add ons like stilts and pointed toes. These shoes made it difficult to walk - but hey, they were the aristocrats. The fact that one could wear a shoe that caused tripping and stumbling was testament to the fact that he or she did not especially need to walk much.
In Europe during the 16th century, laws were passed limiting the length of a toe. Too many people were attempting to walk with shoes that extended far beyond the foot, as was the fashion of the day, and tripping over the limp toes as if they were attempting to navigate while wearing flippers. And apparently, the "stilts" applied to the bottoms of shoes at the time made even the most outlandish of stiletto heels today seem itty-bitty. Laws were passed to limit the height of shoes after many prostitutes (ladies of the night) stumbled to their deaths when they fell from their lofty shoes.
Today, many people probably pay a lot of attention to their own shoes, but not so much to the shoes of others. But once, a friend was checking to see if I was in the bathroom when we got separated. She carefully examined the shoes in the stalls, seeing flip flops, heels, and mary janes. She concluded - correctly - that I was not in the loo when we reunited, pointing knowingly to my pracitical hiking shoes.
I wonder, would she peg me if I had been wearing these babies? Practical and stylish. Its a win-win!