They’re Borns

There’s just something about a heel.

The first real heels I wore were little woven 4-inch platform numbers my grandmother had bought in Greece. They’d been gathering dust in her closet as her ankles weakened, and finally, on an unnamed summer day, she offered them to my mother (who was too practical to wear them), who in turn, offered them to me (who was not a bit too practical to wear them).

I wore them MINUTELY.

They were my pride and joy. My 8th grade legs just towered in them, and they were different (they were Grecian!), and I loved being different (I loved being Grecian!). While other junior high girls were running in hallways, practicing cheerleading stunts, glue-gunning spirit week posters, I was focusing on one thing only: Deep breaths, Erin, stare straight ahead, do not fall down in your favorite shoes.

They were the best worst shoes in the world.

What I never did figure out was this:

That even though my favorite little platforms had made me smile, they’d kept me from doing much else. Walking was a chore, and I was far from graceful as I hugged the handrail to keep myself from toppling up and down staircases at church, school, friends’ homes.

After I’d worn them to pieces, after the wooden sole and the rattan finally separated in a dramatic wop, I’m sure I heard my mother and grandmother – everyone! – cheer for joy, sigh with relief.

The Grecian goddess was dethroned.

I’d no longer walk through life with my shoes wearing me, rather than me wearing my shoes.

I still have embarrassing recollections of that old Grecian goddess, and even now, when I wear heels, I still feel a bit like an 8th grader trying her best not to topple over.

Mostly, I stick with flats.

My friend introduced me to Born shoes years ago. I’d watched her at the Mexican restaurant, had seen her juggle three kids under five in the parking lot, had observed her striding gracefully in a block heel and striped dress.

You’re wearing heels! While chasing children? How does that even work?! I ask.

Oh, honey, these aren’t heels, she says. They’re Borns.

She was right.

When I think of the many restrictions I’ve placed on myself in the name of style, I cringe. Leather pants to a summer concert (so hot), white blouse to a rib festival (so, so messy), uncomfortable shoes to a conference (so, so, so many Band-Aids).

Surely they’re a small price to pay to acquire Grecian Goddess status, right?

Right?!

Wrong.

I know better.

Sometimes I choose fashion. (I always regret it.)
Sometimes I choose function. (I always regret it.)

Mostly, I choose both. I choose style and comfort, fashion and function.

Grecian goddess and 8th grade kid.

We don’t always, in life, get to have it all.
But sometimes, in shoes, we do.

 

 

p.s. This essay was written for Zappos (fast, free shipping and all star customer service with a 365 day return policy!) and Born. Shop Born’s collection here, and see comfort differently.

  • I saw the name of this post in my feedly reader, and I guessed right away it was a sponsored post. I almost clicked the X like I usually do with any sponsored posts, but then knowing it was you, I felt compelled to come directly to your blog to read it instead because I know you’re an amazing storyteller and writer, and never do I regret reading one of your wonderful articles!

    I’ve never done well in heels despite being surrounded by women in my family who wear them no matter how impractical or painful they seem to be. I love your stance on combining style with function. I’m at a similar place in life as well. I enjoy reading about shoes that can combine both! Sadly too many women shoes seem to offer no support or concern about comfort, so glad to see that this company is different.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much I always enjoy your writing! You do a wonderful job of combining both the necessary with the enjoyable on here, and you make it seem so effortless! ;)

    • Oh Raven, thank you for your kind words!!!! I love writing about the companies I love and am always so thrilled when I can introduce even one person to a comfortable shoe. ;) I so appreciate your encouragement! :)

  • Lovely shoes! Your story remembers me about my first heels experience. I do still worry about every step when I walk in heels.

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