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Feet Fit For Fashion

Kay Newton Images July 2022

Simplicity & Connection Thought Leader –  Kay Newton

For the past 60 years, I have been thinking about foot fashion from the wrong angle.

At last, I feel comfortable putting brand, FOMO (fear of missing out), and commercialism well below my feet. It has meant asking new questions and getting deeply curious about the answers.

What if my feet did not love the idea of those Jimmy Choo heels? Could my feet, especially my big toe, be a vital part of my mobility? What if stuffing my feet into tight-toed footwear was the most harmful thing I could do for my aging health? 

“I constantly caught my toes on protruding deck objects as I was not used to such liberty.”

The Shoe Hierarchy:

As I questioned my beliefs about shoes, I recalled my first job as a trainee manager in a department store. Our position within the workforce, was defined by the size of our heels. Floor staff wore flat shoes, managers wore heels, and the head manager always had the highest. 

I look back at that time and laugh. Did I play along? I can still remember the pain at the end of the day, the relief of kicking off those shoes, and vowing never to wear them again. When I left the job a few years later, I went to work on yachts where bare feet were the norm. 

A total opposite and complete feet freedom. Although, it did have disadvantages. I constantly caught my toes on protruding deck objects as I was not used to such liberty. 

Shoe Fetish:

My mother used to work in a shoe shop. As a child, I spent time climbing the stairs to the upper storage levels and running my fingers over the box labels, wondering what the shoes looked like inside the box. That was the nearest I got to a shoe fetish.

There are many misleading statistics out there. Do you think it is true that an average woman will buy around 500 pairs of shoes in her lifetime? Spending, an average total of $25,000? Are we not deep down Imelda Marcos lookalikes yearning for 3,000 pairs in our closet? Have you stopped reading to work out if you are ‘average’? I know I am most certainly not average!

“Part of the practice has been to re-learn the importance of my feet.”

Over the years, I have not followed fashion, yet I always stop in front of a shoe shop window and eye the candy there. I loved having an excuse to buy the impractical shoes. THE special, never-to-be-worn-again-pair, for a wedding, graduation ceremony, gala dinner or charity event.

There have also been times when I found the perfect pair. You know the ones I mean, the comfiest heavenly-made footwear that feels like you are walking on clouds. My only regret, two years later, is that I had not bought a second pair or a third. Have you been there?

The Life-Changing Message:

I suffered for several years with chronic back pain. Eventually, I found an osteopath who changed my life – there was nothing she could do for me. That was her simple answer. I needed to sort out my fascia. 

This simple answer led to meeting another soul who began teaching me how my body works in space. Part of the practice has been to re-learn the importance of my feet. Each of the 26-foot bones moves separately. I had used them for 60 years without much care – they were stiff and stuck. It has taken time and patience to get them moving freer.

I have had lots of re-learning to walk again. To understand how the toes grab and manipulate the surface, to be used first before the heel. 

Barefoot Shoes:

Now my feet are ready for fashion, I am finding a new world of shoes. 

“Barefoot shoes give me security, and flexibility and allow my toes to separate and move individually.”

Walking barefoot has been part of my back recovery. Yet I am not too comfortable with mountain tracks or dining out without footwear. Thank goodness for barefoot shoes. 

Barefoot shoes give me security and flexibility. They allow my toes to separate and move individually. Two of my favorite brands so far are mentioned below. Please note, I am not affiliated to these brands – there are many other barefoot companies to explore. 

ZAQQ: A German manufacturer who sources their materials locally. I love their ethics as the hand stitched shoes are biodegradable, recyclable, although at the moment not re-solable. My waterproof walking boots fit like slippers and are a joy to wear for either short strolls or long full-day hikes. 

Gumbies: Combining stories from Australia and the USA, founder Michel Maurer conceived the idea of Gumbies. Using a mixture of Jute and recycled tires, they now create fun footwear worldwide. With over 34,000 reviews (not including mine) they are worth investigating. Their environmental impact is worth a mention too. You can check out the details on their site.

Multiple Pairs:

I have more than one pair of Gumbies flip-flops. I have learnt a lifelong lesson at last. When you find something you like, buy different shades!

What about your feet? Do you put their well-being before the shoes they wear? Why not drop a message below. Let’s start a conversation.

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Kay Newton

About the Author:

Kay is the founder of Midlife Strategies, an award-winning International Speaker, and enthusiastic author. She is an acknowledged expert guiding women to find their mojo, through the Midlife Squeeze.

Kay’s books include: 

Today, Kay lives a simple life next to a beach in Mallorca, Spain. You can find Kay here: www.KayNewton.com.