I complained to my mom. I didn’t want to go and now my feet hurt. My elementary class was singing and performing for the residents of a local nursing facility. My mom yelled at me that if I didn’t get a move on, I was going to be late.
I wanted to stay home and watch TV. It was a Friday night in February. I was nervous and trying my best to get out of the situation. We were going to sing “This Land Is Your Land,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain,” and a few other songs. We had been practicing for the big night for months.
On top of that, I had to wear my brother’s old dress shoes, because we had to look “presentable.” I wasn’t sure what presentable meant, but I was pretty sure it had something to do with “pain in the you know where.” My feet were pounding, and we hadn’t even left home yet. My mom shushed me and shuffled me out the door.
In the heat of the moment, I promised myself that, when I was old enough to make my own decisions, I would never wear dress shoes again. We make lots of promises to ourselves as kids. But, boy was I ever wrong on that one!
Looking fine, pain on the inside
I lost that battle as soon I entered working life. I’ve worn a ton of different dress shoes over the years in my professional and home life. Wing tips, Loafers, Oxford, Plain Toe, and they’ve all been about as comfortable as a stepping on a bed of nails or burning hot coals. They’ve been stiff and hard and felt like a screw was stabbing me in center of my foot until I had broken them in for a few weeks.
A change in the business
I don’t know much about the shoe industry, but whoever’s designing today’s dress shoes must have been a fly on the wall in my house growing up, hearing me whine and complain to my mother. They must have watched me shimmy my foot this way and that.
The pain came back to me recently, when I saw an advertisement for men’s shoes that promoted the shoes as “feeling better than sneakers.” They didn’t have raised heels and were made with a rubber sole. The rest of the shoe was made of leather or suede. With soft soles, these new shoes looked just like the name promoted, a comfortable dress shoe.
They looked soft like a sneaker, but flashy and dressy enough for the office. I haven’t had to dress up much in the two years since the pandemic hit — my standard work outfit now is a nice shirt and sweats and comfy slippers or socks — but I know one thing, the next time I have to buy dress shoes, I’m buying ones that look and feel like “Air Jordans” or the Lebron 19 (basketball sneakers) for executives.
I’m going to be prepared. I’ll be ready for anything — to slash to the hoop or give an hour-long presentation on the best way to help our customer base. Who’s with me?