on saving my sanity while shoe shopping

It’s an annual trauma. Back to school shoe shopping.

I’m super at internet shopping, or browsing in fancy shops, but I freak out in supermarkets. Too much noise, too many people, specific requirements and too much choice. Exhausting stuff. School shoe shopping has all of that, with the addition of style conscious girls. With strong opinions.

I hardly remember my own school shoes. My feet stopped growing when I was about 13, so it’s entirely possible I had the same pair of shoes for the next 3 or 4 years. Black. Regulation. Styled like a pair of boats. I didn’t mind. I had no interest in or opinion on my appearance. My enormous glasses, frizzy hair- attended to with an ‘afro’ comb- and general lack of concern drove my poor mother mad. Eventually I developed enough interest in clothes to gather a red ra-ra skirt  and white court shoes, but I’m not sure Herself regarded that as much of an improvement. She’d be delighted with her granddaughters caring what they look like.

We had to buy football boots, trainers and black shoes. It was maybe ambitious to try to do all at once, but Spurs Fan is a dedicated shopper and determined to get a bargain or five, so we went to the local outlet centre.

I was defeated straight away by the wall of brightly coloured football boots (what happened?) and moved to the many, many boxes of trainers. It took about 10 minutes to work out that they were labelled with US rather than UK sizes. The reading glasses had to come out. I was fit for the hills before anyone had even tied a lace. All the sizes, all the colours. Twice.

I went for a reviving coffee and wander about. I tried on some unflattering clothes and decided to return to WeightWatchers. I wasn’t just overwhelmed, bored and tired. I was fat too. I wasn’t having a great day.

A preliminary potter round the sensible shoe shop filled my heart with dread. There were loads of sensible flat black shoes to be worn by sensible little old ladies. I wouldn’t wear most of those shoes, never mind expecting the girls to. Being patient souls, they tried, but their faces got longer.

In the midst of it all, I cheered up enormously. It’s not just us. School shoe shopping plagues all the houses. Children the world over make their opinions known. We’d have another go.

The magic moment came courtesy of Tinman. His post about a teenage daughter and school shoes popped into my head just when I needed to smile. He tells tales that make me laugh, and pluck at my heart. This one saved my sanity that day.

there's more!
there’s more!

We still have to buy a pair of school shoes.

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7 thoughts on “on saving my sanity while shoe shopping”

  1. You remind me of past trauma – and mine were all boys. I am great at shopping in small shops – a sort of No/Yes decision process, but give me choices and I give up totally.

  2. You take me back a few years with the talk of school shoes. Right from the word go, buying shoes for Elly was a nightmare. she had very narrow heels and it was nigh impossible to find shoes in her size that were narrow enough at the heels. We went to Wrights, now long gone. Feet were measured and we were asked for colour preferences. The latter was a pure waste of time and breath. Every shoe in stock in the required size was tried. each had a problem. We came away with the only pair of shoes that fitted properly. That went on for years, only one pair ever fitted and they were ALWAYS black, I was glad my Elly was a tomboy and not into girlie pink.

    I feel your pain.

  3. Like you, I wore regulation shoes for much of my school life. But winter boots were beyond the regulation remit. Hurrah!
    Now I am fat becoming the I lmelda Marcos of se17 in my constant search for comfortable shoes I can wear to work. So glad I am no longer a teenager…

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