When we first moved to Florida I owned exactly two pair of casual every day sandals. One white. One black. The white ones were expensive S.A.S. brand. I always went to the outlet stores in Castle Rock to buy them and even there they were expensive. They certainly weren't sexy shoes by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, my sister refers to them as "Nana" shoes. But they were comfortable and great for walking. I could and did walk literally miles in them.
The black ones were a super sale deal from Target. They were very cute black flat leather (or something that passed for leather) flip flops that had a back strap. I could walk around the grocery store in them or wear them to work even in the summer time if I had a decent pedicure going on. But long range walking? Absolutely not. They were incredible uncomfortable for that.
The biggest issue with the black sandals are my weirdo feet. Dismissing the many multiply broken and oddly healed bones in my tootsies completely, I have almost no arch at all. My feet are nearly completely flat. So I need a little bit of an arch in my shoe. Many sandals do not have one. So I always need to keep an eye out for at least a small built in arch.
Then there is the fact that my feet seem to be especially, ummmmm, not sure how to describe this....shallow? They are of normal width, so that's not a problem, it's the height (?) of my feet from the floor to the top of the foot. When I wear most sandals, I can fit, at minimum one finger (and often two fingers!) between the top of my foot and the inside top of the sandal. Which means that my foot is loose inside the shoe. It rattles around in there like a marble in a cigar box. Which also means, in a flipflop type sandal, I literally fall out of the shoe. It isn't pretty. I also isn't safe. Especially for someone who isn't very graceful to begin with.
But since I was still working full time back then, I made it through the summer with those two pair of casual sandals. One white Nana shoe and one too loose black shoe. Not a big deal.
And then we moved here. I soon realized that the shoe I would be wearing, the vast majority of the year, would be a sandal. Even in the fall and winter when it actually does cool off, most days I am still comfortable in a sandal, just with long pants instead of shorts.
But because I walk so much and so far on an average day, I used up my good SAS sandals very quickly. They had to be replaced but I just couldn't bring myself to spend $150 or more on a pair of shoes. Especially since A) I'm no longer bringing any money into the household and B) because I walk so much I wear out my shoes very quickly and therefore I would have to replace them within six months or so. So the search began for a pair of sandals that didn't cost the moon, were comfortable for walking and I didn't fall out of.
It took a very long time and a lot of shoe stores. I tried on and disgarded dozens of brands. Either they weren't comfortable for walking, they were crazy expensive or, back to my old nemesis weird feet, I was falling out of them. I began to think that finding sandals for me were like searching for a Unicorn. It started to feel as if I was destined to wearing only sneakers for the rest of my days. I have nothing against sneakers, understand, but there are times when they look kind of.....clunky maybe? I mean, I was doing it, but I wasn't happy about it. I know, I know, how superficial of me. I confess. I care how I look. So sue me.
Finally, one beautiful day, we stopped at a store in Sarasota called Peltz Shoes and found, Clark's. Oh me. Oh my. We found the holy grail.
They are the red shoes in the above photo. Not all Clark's worked for me, but this one did. The key is that all of those three straps are adjustable. The loosey-goosey sandal of the past was exactly that. History. My sandals now can be adjusted to suit MY feet. Huzzah! There is a small arch built into the shoe. They are so comfortable for walking. And even better, priced in the $50's, while it's still more money than I really want to spend, it's reasonable for a shoe of decent quality. And even my cheap little heart appreciates that.
The only one they had that day in my size was red. Ooooo red shoes. I am a sucker for a red shoe. It was destiny. Sold! I wore them to pieces, as you can plainly see.
The day finally came when they were just too disreputable looking to be worn in public. Time for a new pair. Well of course they didn't have that exact shoe anymore. But there was something similar enough to do the trick. Hurrah! But again, in my size I had limited options. I could buy brown or black. Black felt more versatile. I think it "goes" with more of my clothes than brown. So yay! Second pair!
The first ones, my beloved red ones, became my every day, getting stuff done shoes and the black ones were my "good" sandals. I wore them only for teaching or working at the museum or going out to dinner or shopping with my sister.
But of course, since I walk to the museum and to the library and even a lot of my shopping and dinners, within about six months the black ones were beginning to show signs of age. Time to return to Peltz's shoes and see if I can find yet another pair. Which is one of the things we did this weekend.
But this time, they let me down. They had none of the sort of my feet like. Dang. I was disappointed but well, I can always look online. I really try to not buy things on line. I try to support my local shops. Too many of them have already gone out of business because they just cannot compete with online shopping. It breaks my heart. So we looked elsewhere. Other shoe stores. Nope. Nada. We spent far too long on Saturday looking at shoes. Finally, when I thought I didn't even care any more, we made what turned out to be the last stop, J.C. Penny's.
I did not have high hopes. First of all, there aren't many J.C. Penney's stores left. And this was a rather funny little one. Each department was like a miniature version of the old Penny's store. But there was a shoe department, just a teeny tiny one. The few small hopes I still held onto fell like rain in Florida in the summertime. I halfheartedly approached the few racks of women's shoes.
To my great surprise, first of all they had Clark's Sandals! Wow! Then I was further shocked to see that they had some of the Clark's sandals that work for me! Wow! The question was, were there any in my size? There were! Woohoo! There were two, a kind of faded denim blue and a white.
Ooooo decisions, decisions. I really liked the white ones. They looked summery and a little dressy. White automatically looks dressy to me. BUT. The Big But. Bertha But. White also gets dirty so quickly. And in very short order instead of having pretty white dressy looking sandals, I would have grubby looking sandals. No matter how clean they were, they would not appear to be so. Dang. Well then, the Denim colour sandals it is! Not a colour I ever would have planned to buy but I like them just fine.
So the red ones have been further demoted to doing yard work, or dirty household chores. I just cannot bring myself to throw them out yet. The black ones are for every day and the new denim coloured ones are for when I want to look particularly nice. Yay!
I will keep my eyes peeled for sales and eventually maybe I will have every colour of Clark's sandals in my closet. Well probably not. But it's certainly fun to think about.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.