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    Swearing Off Uncomfortable Shoes Has Made Me A Happier, Productive Person

    Squeezing my hands into uncomfortable gloves would be ridiculous, so why should I be expected to inflict pain on my feet?

    You know how the dentist says “If you can feel your teeth, something is wrong”? That’s become my philosophy on feet and shoes as an adult.

    Augusta Falletta

    Spending time thinking about my feet is a surefire way to distract me from everything else in life, and it's something that's cured by literally just wearing comfortable shoes. There's too much to accomplish! And it's garbage that men have never had to consider how many bandaids to put in their purse for potential blisters on a night out. So I've sworn off the problem altogether.

    At one point in my young adult life, I was so committed to wearing heels that looked *amazing* that I literally threw up from the pain my feet were in — and then continued to go right on wearing them.

    Augusta Falletta

    It was my first week in Manhattan after moving here for college, and some Orientation Week friends were going out to a club on the Lower East Side. For some reason, our group’s ring leader made the executive decision that we’d walk there — “It’s only 14 blocks!” — and I was wearing a $20 pair of booties that I’d purchased earlier that day. After 10 blocks of walking, my feet were bleeding. When we got to the club, I was in so much pain that my body said, “Are you freaking kidding me with these things?” Even after projectile vomiting in front of roughly 300 strangers, I had convinced myself that these shoes were still necessary —no, VITAL — to my outfit, and I kept on wearing them. Ah, young Augusta. So naive.

    *Note the laughing through pain happening in this photo.

    In my life, I’d guesstimate that I’ve spent anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 on buying shoes that hurt me.

    Augusta Falletta

    This "Countdown to 100 Shoes" was made by my best friend who understood my obsession and planned a party when I had 100 shoes in my closet. It was a problem.

    My shopping habits didn’t discriminate against any particular make, model, or price tag. Whether it was a $2 flip flop or a $300 Meghan Markle-approved heel — both of which left me with a less-than-desired pain situation — I loved buying *pretty* shoes and had no respect for my poor feet. Just thinking about how much faster I could've paid off my student loans if I hadn't wasted money on painful footwear kills me.

    After years of blisters, toe pain, and straight up miserable living because of my dang shoes, I decided to put a stop to the madness. From now on, I would only wear comfortable shoes. And honestly, it's been a game-changer in every aspect of life.

    Committing to a shoe criteria has set a bar for high expectations that makes me think more thoroughly about spending habits outside of just shoes.

    Augusta Falletta

    My shopping mentality has gone from “OMG, BEAUTIFUL” to “Is this helping or is this hurting?” I carefully consider the inconvenience of peeing in a jumpsuit before clicking “buy.” I think through the practicality of the purse’s size before downsizing how much I’m able to carry each day. My mind does some calculations on the cost of $14 lunch salad versus meal prepping. I’m not sure how much money I’ve saved doing this, but I have more of a sense of control over my spending (and less anxiety about over-spending) by stopping to think through purchases before adding them to my life.

    Giving myself a Comfortable Shoe Boundary to work within has actually made me dress better overall.

    Augusta Falletta

    “Will this look great with sneakers?” is the number one question I ask myself when getting dressed or choosing new clothes. Having that boundary within which I can be creative has made me think in new ways, step up my outfits so that they dress up my comfy kicks, and just live without unnecessary pain every day. Do you know how empowering it is to have a ~look~ that includes zero discomfort? EXTREMELY empowering is the answer.

    Not thinking about my feet all day has freed up so much time and made me more productive.

    Augusta Falletta

    I walk almost three miles a day just to get to work. The comfy stakes are high for me! When I’m comfortable, I relish in my walk to work, suggest walking meetings with co-workers, and in general am noticeably happier throughout the day. When the shoes I’m wearing are garbage, my anxiety levels are through the roof. I have to take time to stop in a drugstore to buy bandaids. I’m texting my boyfriend to whine about the pain I’m in. I worry about walking to meetings at different locations in my building because of the discomfort I’ll feel. I’m a miserable, anxious, unproductive person. And all of that disappears if I’m wearing shoes that are COM.FOR.TA.BLE.

    Besides just making me a happier, more thoughtful person, here are some practical things I’ve learned:

    My favorite shoe shopping trick: Bring your favorite pair of comparable shoes to the store (or take them out if you’re trying on at home) to compare the fit of the new versus the old.

    Augusta Falletta

    All shoes and brands are cut differently and none of them are going to be *perfect* for your feet. When I’m trying on new shoes, I walk around in them for a little bit, then I put on a pair I already own to test the comfort. If I’m trying on heels, I’ll bring my favorite heels. If I’m trying on flats, I’ll bring my favorite flats, etc. I can’t tell you how many times this evidence-based fitting convinces me to not buy something. It’s hard to argue with it when it’s in front of your face (or feet)!

    The minute you are hurt by a pair of your shoes, DO NOT PUT THEM BACK IN YOUR CLOSET. Put them in another designated area to be sold, donated, or given to a friend.

    Augusta Falletta

    Putting these offenders back into shoe rotation means that over time, I’ll forget how I had to nurse my feet back to health and I start thinking, “Maybe I’ll give these lil’ babies another go!” STOP, DROP AND ROLL, Augusta. If I only wore them once and they’re worth some money, I’ll consider selling them on eBay or another clothing site. Anything that’s not worth the time it takes to sell (or the money I’ll get back), I bring to a clothing donation site. Or, if I have a friend who wants the shoes because maybe they’d fit her differently, I’ll give that friend a call. Whatever I do, I remove the problem. I don’t have time for that kind of negativity in my life.

    When you find a pair of shoes that is solid 5-star footwear, buy two pairs. Maybe buy different colors! And set up a Google alert for when they go on sale.

    Augusta Falletta

    Because I limit myself to comfortable shoes, I tend to wear the same ones all the time, so I make sure I have a backup. When I’m financially able to buy two pairs, I’ll pick up a dark and a light, or a neutral color and a bolder color. Sometimes, I straight up buy two of the exact same pair because I’d be devastated if something happened to my favorite shoes and they were discontinued or something. When it’s not money I can spend, I set up a Google alert for when they go on sale.

    For running, I stock up on the Brooks Glycerin 16 shoe (available on Amazon for $150).

    Now, to be crystal clear, I’m not suggesting you swear off heels or expensive shoes — or anything that makes you happy for that matter! All I'm saying is there's no need to suffer just because society tells women that we need to look a certain way.

    Augusta Falletta

    I have a pair of black Naturalizer heels from DSW that are my go-to for top shelf events that require heels. They don’t hurt my bones or give me blisters, so when I absolutely need to be Fancy with a captial “F,” I wear those. But anything that makes me cringe, bleed, blister, hurt, or wince quite literally makes my life worse, so why would I inflict that on myself? The bad doesn’t outweigh the good of ~the look~ to me. But if you’re someone who derives great happiness and confidence from stilettos, strut away! Be proud! Do what makes you comfortable inside, too.

    Do you have a favorite pair of comfortable shoes that you wear on a regular basis? Tell us about them in the comments!