Luxury is comfort, no question. There is no joy to be had if your feet are hurting, your handbag is cutting into your shoulder, your waistband is too tight, and your bra too small, especially if all of these are happening simultaneously.
I’ve eliminated most of these issues in life, but I am still putting together the perfect, stylish, yet comfortable shoe wardrobe. I am currently in Fiji, lucky me, at Turtle Island resort where the wearing of any shoes at all is optional. That to me is the ultimate, the ability to sink your toes in the sand at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“I broke my only pair of sandals a couple of months ago,” the yoga teacher confessed to me yesterday after our mid-morning lesson.
Alexis literally has no fixed address, spending her life moving from resort to resort teaching meditation and yoga, and she has caused me to question my entire life choices thus far. She’s off to Nicuaurgua next.
“I’ve got a pair of Converse, but I haven’t put them on. I’m not sure where they are,” she said, without a care in the world.
My first thought was to give her whatever shoes I had in my suitcase, because I had now decided that footwear was an archaic and societal construct, and should be entirely optional, but figured she might need some for the plane trip.
I brought a couple of pairs of flat sandals with me, and some Allbirds sneakers, but the idea of leaning over to do up the ankle straps or laces is far too onerous, so they have stayed in the suitcase.
I perhaps should have brought slides simply for the ease of lazily shuffling into them, but I find the sheer flatness of them quite hard on the feet (podiatrists would agree with me). So totally barefoot and extremely happy it is for me this week.
In the magnanimous spirit of Chinese foot binding, fashion has always suggested to us that the most constrictive and painful footwear is the sexiest, but I’m not sure that sore, mangled feet in later life are erotic.
I met someone recently who has a business importing what used to be referred to as “health sandals” – functional, somewhat clunky and to be honest not particularly attractive footwear that I used to snigger at, especially when worn with socks.
But it’s all the rage now, even in the designer category. She asked me if I had ever practiced ‘toe-ga”, foot-friendly exercises where you splay your toes and stretch all the muscles in the foot. She was so adept, she could move each toe independently, which was weird to be honest, but it did make me look at footwear in a much more informed way.
Pointed toes are a horrorshow, completely against nature, as are high spindly heels that put all the pressure on the balls of your feet. Block heeled sandals and boots; square-toed pumps and low wedges are the best option for happy feet. Oh, and flippers.