Women and shoes (insight)

On Thursday, I was headed to a restaurant in a car with five other people. Three men were having a conversation on the puzzling tendency of the women they know to accumulate an improbable number of pairs of shoes (one said his wife has “easily more than 100”). A woman overheard this, and the following ensued:

“Do you guys seriously not understand where this comes from?”

We allowed as how we didn’t.

“It’s actually fairly simple. Every woman has times when she feels fat and depressed, and needs to cheer herself up. Shopping is often the key to this, but it can’t be for clothing - skirts, blouses and so forth force a woman to confront her clothing size and thus bring her face to face with the weight issue she’d seeking to escape. So she must shop for one (or more) of three things: jewelry, a handbag, or shoes. All of these avoid the weight issue, and so are perfect for this situation.”

I should note that the woman in question is around 40, intelligent, attractive and, while not supermodel-thin, certainly isn’t fat. The two other women present in the car didn’t dissent from her analysis.

Well, I never seriously feel fat (I’m kind of supermodel thin, though). I also have a lot of shoes, but it’s more because they’ve accumulated over the years, or been given to me by my grandmother who wears the same size as me. Hm. Maybe there’s something to that theory. Mostly when I feel down, I go to the gym.

I suppose that isn’t incorrect, in some cases, but it isn’t always the case either. Sometimes a pair of shoes is just too cute to pass up, or it just happens to match a given outfit better than the ones you already have, or you need a black pair to go with something because all you have is an appropriate brown pair and brown just doesn’t go as well, or you’re wearing clothing that’s a bit of a PITA to get in and out of, thereby discouraging you from trying on clothes so you settle for shoes and handbags, or to replace an older pair, but you find 3 that could work just as well so you get them all, or…

There are lots of reasons to buy shoes! Keep in mind that women’s clothing is generally more varied in style and colour than men’s, so a one-style-fits-all approach doesn’t work. The office-appropriate pumps just don’t work with a nice dress to wear to a wedding, while a man can wear the same dress shoes to both.

I love shoes, but buying them is always a pain in the ass for me, because I can rarely find a pair that fits just right (that are also within my budget).

I’m all for retail therapy, but I’m more likely to buy a dress than to buy shoes. I usually have a purpose when I’m buying shoes (as in, I’m looking for something specific); on the other hand, I tend to buy dresses on a whim.

Therefore, marry a woman with big nasty feet

I am an anomoly. I hate shopping for shoes. My work footwear consists of white sneaks, black sneaks, brown loafers, and black oxfords.

I recently needed a pair of shoes for my kid’s wedding - that was easily the worst thing I had to buy.

Bottom line, I don’t understand the shoe obsession some women seem to have. I must be lacking the shoe gene.

For me, there are two basic categories of shoes: Shoes You Can Walk In, and Shoes That Look Cool. For me, there is a modifier, Shoes I Can Ride My Bike In.

I like boots. My favorite are knee-length lace-up boots, but you don’t want to wear those if you’re going to be changing clothes or undressing/ redressing, like if you go swimming, to the doctor’s, or over to your boyfriend’s. :smiley:

So then, you have your zip-up boots. But zip-up boots only zip up over thin fabric pants, like stretch pants. If you want to zip them up under your pants, they have to have flare legs so you can pull the pantlegs up to zip the boots.

But, some of your best jeans are straightleg jeans, so then you have to have ankle boots.

All of these boot choices are affected by the heel/ no heel thing, which determines whether or not I can wear them riding a bike. (I don’t drive.) Guys probably never noticed this, but if you try to ride a bike with much more than an inch of heel, your knees come up past your elbows and you look like a circus monkey. Plus, it’s exhausting to actually get anywhere.

In the summer time, I like sandals. Again, there are Sandals That Look Good, and Sandals You Can Walk In. My cutest pair of sandals also goes flippety-flop when I walk; that annoys the piss out of me. So I have another pair that doesn’t; but those are hard to walk in. So I have a third pair that doesn’t flippety and I can walk/ ride my bike in them. But they’re not as cute.

I’d say the number of pairs of shoes you have is largely a function of your wardrobe. For reasons above plus thousands of others, certain things can only be worn with certain other things.

For instance [Chiefmost Clothing Gripe], many otherwise wonderful pants for women are made without pockets! [/Chiefmost Clothing Gripe] This means that, whenever I wear them, I have to wear a jacket with pockets or tie one around my waist, because I hate carrying a purse, and I am not going to wear my purse while babysitting or around the house; yet I prefer to have my cigarettes and keys on my person. See?

Unlike jeans, skirts, dresses, etc., it is never difficult to find a cute pair of shoes. And you just can’t have too many.

Funny. I don’t own a lot of shoes. But I love them. I love cute, unusual shoes. I love shoes that turn heads, and when I find some that fit and are in my budget, I buy them. I’ve never bought shoes because I felt fat. In fact, when I actually was fat, I didn’t buy cute shoes, I felt I wasn’t worthy of them. But, that’s the way it goes with blanket statements, right?

Of course, in this house, shoes do double duty as my daughter and I wear the same size and have almost identical taste.

You and me, both. In fact, I’m missing that whole female clothes shopping gene. I hate shopping for clothes and I hate shoe shopping especially. I have never understood the idea behind owning 48 pairs of black shoes.

To the extent that I have a lot of shoes, maybe 30 pairs, (I’m definitely a lightweight by diva standards), it is mostly because shoes not only need to be the right color, they also need to have the right “line.” The shoes that look right with one hemline or pants length or shorts don’t look right with the others. Also, being kind of short, I like to wear heels when I can. But being a realist, I often need to wear flats if I have a lot of walking to do. I’m not particularly likely to buy shoes as a treat. I buy them when I notice some that would go well with an outfit, realize I bought an outfit for which I have no truly suitable shoes, or find some that are both cute and practical.

This is true for me.

Jewellery can be expensive; I have a purse I don’t feel the need to change that often. Hence–shoes. So much easier to try on than clothing, so much easier to buy. So much easier to sneak into the house.

Count me in this group. I have three categories of shoes: the ones I wear everyday, the ones for work, and the ones for when I have to dress like a grown up (ie, uncomfortable clothes and heels).

I don’t shop when I feel fat; I don’t hate to shop, but there are many, many more things I’d rather be doing. I enjoyed shopping much more when I had disposable income and I weighed 120 pounds. Ah, my 20s…

I own 2 purses. I don’t like jewelry.
Where do I turn in my girl card?

I have very wide feet. I come by this honestly, as my dad wears an EEEEE or EEEEEE (five or six Es, depending on the style) shoe width. Even if I did like shoes a great deal more than I do, it would be impossible to find enough cute, affordable shoes to need a shoe rack. Right now I wear Berkinstocks and I’m very happy with them.

I don’t clothes shop when I need retail therapy, either. I think that I have more than enough jewelry. I’ll hit the book store or the hardware store, usually.

Yup! You and me both, when I’m fit and feeling reasonably attractive, that’s when I’ll buy the shoes. After all, they’re needed to go with the equally cute outfits.

But it might be important to note that the OP didn’t say “IS fat” for the women doing this, she said “FEEL fat” and even the prettiest hottest bodied girls can feel fat from time to time.

That said, I always find it puzzling when men (the ones who lust after 40k Harleys or truckloads of fishing gear, stereo equipment or electronic gadgets to name a few), puzzle over why we also like to have our personal “fixes”. Why is it so hard for them to understand that for some of us, that is a fun and enjoyable thing to buy?

Make that 3 of us.

I also have very wide feet, which means most of those “cute” shoes that other women lust over will never fit on my feet. I have severe trouble buying formal shoes because they never seem to be made in my size.

When you find out, can you tell me?

I own seven pairs of shoes, total, including the pair I bought for my wedding, and the pair I bought to be a bridesmaid in (ok, nine if you count slippers and the ratty old pair with holes in that I haven’t thrown in the bin yet because I can never bear to throw anything out and, hey, maybe I could use them to do the gardening in or the kids might like them for dressups). I don’t plan to shoe shop again till the pair I like most (and wear 90% of the time) reaches the point where the rain gets in.

I hate handbags and have one “ordinary” and one “dressy” each of which might get used 2 or 3 times a year. I do like earrings, but I haven’t worn any since I first had a baby old enough to go “oooh! shiny!” and once it’s safe again I’ll be happy cycling through the same dozen pairs I’ve had since I was 20.

On the plus side, the lack of the “retail therapy” gene nakes it very easy to stay on a budget.

I have only 1. I got it for $12 at WalMart. I win!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Other than when I was a teen and going to E.J. Korvette without parents was a good time for my friends and me, I’ve never really liked shopping. (OK, I loved when we were shopping for houses, but that doesn’t count.) In fact, I’ve been avoiding the shopping trip to get one rather important piece of jewelry - my knuckles have grown or swollen or something so that I can no longer put on my wedding band. I want to get a plain gold band - probably won’t even cost $100. I hate having a nekkid ring finger, but apparently not enough hate to ask my spousal unit to accompany me to find one. I think if I knew my ring size, I’d order one on line…

Although, back to the OP, my white sneaks are getting kinda grungy, so I may head back to onlineshoes and order another pair.

IANAW, but I own a lot of shoes, and like researching and buying them. Not so much on the impulse buy. I like the idea of use-specific shoes.

I have 3 pairs of running shoes;
6 pair of hiking shoes;
4 pair of dress shoes for work;
4 pair of water shoes;
10 pair of winter / use specific boots;
2 pair of steel toed boots;
1 pair of heeleys;
2 pair of motorcycle shoes / boots.

I’ll often find what I want to get, and then buy them on the net. So while it may be more of an impulse buy, I still have to wait for them to arrive.

A lot of my buying is dependent on availability for future purchase. I can’t tell you the number of shoes my dogs have ruined.

I dunno. I have a pair of high heeled, knee-length lace-up boots, and I find that wearing them to my boyfriend’s place makes everyone happy*… :wink:

*Particularly with a short black skirt… :wink: