Kimmie Jones' Tao Of Shoes

 I'm so happy to have another guest post from my beautiful, talented IRL friend Kimmie Jones, also known as That Girl in the Wheelchair. Yup, she actually puts up with me in real life! This time around Kimmie shares her practical experiences and advice - her Tao, if you will - of shoes. 

Being seated 24/7 has led to a lot of thumbs down/not so fun fashion moments. [Tangent: There was that time my flip flop got stuck in the wheel of my motorized scooter, pulling me out and taking me for a joy ride. Then there is the harsh reality that because of my stature and just because of physics, the holy grail of winter chic-ness, the knee length car coat is something that will never grace my torso. So tragic.] However, there are a ton of things that are fiercely impractical that I can embrace. [Example: A dress that may be booty baring on someone else will be modest on me because no one sees my booty!] Shoes are one of those great upper hands that us wheeled ones have. Our soles remain semi-pristine and in great shape much longer than our upright compadres and a white shoe stays white! 

In my youth and adulthood, I have rocked every style of shoe…pointy, kitten heel, flat, athletic and even those platform lug sole monstrosities I thought were so cutting edge when I was 15. Along the way, I have learned some lessons that I don’t mind sharing. My shoe philosophies will surely differ from some of my fellow ladies on wheels, but I think some truths are universal for every ability level.  

1. Breaking in shoes is a bitch!  
The basis of a good shoe break-in is walking and if you can’t do that…then you are a bit out of luck. Tutorials to speed along the process are a google away, but there is a more cost-effective method to circumvent this head/footache. If you are after a good pair of cowboy boots or some similar style that calls for softening, simply buy them used. I bought mine for $20 at the Nashville Flea and they were pre-loved and thus ready to wear. This was such a time and money saver.

2. Fashion can trump function (for a limited time)

You know when people say, “How does she walk in those shoes?” Well, I don’t have to! I used to think this was my invitation to wear clunky impractical to most heels, but through trial and error have learned that high heels can not only be hurtful to walk in, but in my case, also painful to sit in. Keeping my feet in “Barbie pose” for hours on end at work or play gave me wicked shin splints. For this reason I give myself a 2 hour max on heel sitting.  I pretty much opt for cute wedges or flats instead. 

3. Size and department is just a suggestion

As I type that I am reminded of my favorite Steel Magnolias quote, "I wear a size 6, a 7 feels so good, I buy a size 8!" My shoes run the gamut from size 5 to size 6.5. I am not afraid to turn down a cute pair of shoes on the sale rack because they might be a half size too large. [Tangent: Unless it’s a sandal, and then that is a no-no!]  Just stuff something in the end of those bad boys and they are good to go. You might have a little more toe cleavage, but oh well.  That’s a sexy look, right? 

Also, if you’re a petite footed gal, like myself, GO INTO THE KIDS DEPARTMENT…specifically the little boys. I have been rocking these little boy’s boat shoes from goodwill for a couple seasons. They are like little clouds for your tootsies…so comfy and functional. 

4. Stick with what works and what fits your needs

Sometimes when you have specific orthotic needs, it’s ok to be conscious of it and be practical. Example: My feet are insanely flat due to some tendon transfers I had as a child, therefore I need a wide flat (the ones from Target seem to work best…so I have Target flats in every conceivable color palette). 

Also I can’t reach to tie my own shoes, so in the spirit of independence, I don’t own many shoes with laces. Instead of rocking a sneaker with a casual outfit, I wear my Toms flats. [Tangent: I am semi-obsessed with the Jonathan Adler collection for Toms right now!] 

5. Resell! Resell! Resell! 

I am a fickle lady, and sometimes I’ll wear a shoe for a season and just get sick of it, so I live to resell things on sites like ebay and apps like Poshmark.  Since they are usually still in like new condition, I don’t feel bad about asking more for them than probably would if I’d worn them to hike all over. The condition is still good so take advantage.