Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thoughts about Shoes

Dear Readers:
Our Sunday guest blogger is the talented and prolific Judy Clemens, author of the award-winning and un-put-downable Stella Crown mystery series. Judy's newest book, Lost Sons, a stand-alone has just hit the bookstores. Judy is also president of Sisters in Crime, and has keen insight into the mystery field. When Judy speaks, I listen. Enjoy!

Several weeks ago I had the unique opportunity, as part of the Sisters in Crime Publishers Summit, of visiting publishing bigwigs in NYC, including such folks as editors and marketers at HarperCollins, Penguin, Harlequin, and Soho Crime, the mystery buyer for Barnes and Noble, and a couple of distinguished agencies. (For a complete report, please go to:

While I returned home from this mission with plenty of food for thought about the industry, I also had lots to think about when it comes to…shoes.

Roberta Isleib, Nancy Martin, Jim Huang, and I spent two days tromping pretty much all over Manhattan. We took the subway several times, and I had one very nauseating taxi ride, but most of our traveling we did by foot. And I? I made the mistake of wearing dressy shoes that matched my clothes, but which sported absolutely no toe room.

This was not smart. By the end of the first day, my feet hurt like the dickens (do people still say that?), and I had actually worn holes through my socks and had one bleeding toe. (Note to Self: Make sure to trim nails before attempting any more cross-Manhattan travels) I practically cried with relief when I unleashed my feet from their bondage that evening. In fact, I think I actually did shed several tears.

For dinner that night, just downstairs in The Princeton Club’s restaurant, I hoped not too many people noticed my feet. Instead of shoes that actually matched my clothes, I was wearing my good ol’ leather clogs – with plenty of room for the tootsies to wiggle around. The host didn’t kick me out, and none of my companions mocked me (to my knowledge), so I eventually forgot about it.

Until I went to bed and my piggies began to throb. Oy, what a night.

The next day dawned, and instead of donning my sneakers or clogs, I stuffed my feet back into my dress shoes and blistered my way through another day. (Another note to Self: Sometimes looking well-heeled is just not worth it.)

By the end of our outings, my feet completely hated me. And I hated them. Not only did I wear through another pair of socks, but I had another bleeding toe on my other foot.

Okay, so I’m an idiot.

Rather than throwing out the despicable shoes, I shoved them into my suitcase and put on – with a huge sigh of relief – my sneakers. Never have I been so happy to see them. And I didn’t care that they didn’t match my khakis.

Now that it’s summer, and I’m either home or at the pool, I have a few top choices of footwear, and one of them is NOT my dressy shoes. They have been relegated to a dark, scary place under my bed. Instead, I wear:

My trusty sneakers
My toeless sandals
My Adidas soccer slides

Or…best of all…

My bare feet.

Happy Summer, everyone!

Judy Clemens, besides being friends with these lovely bloggers, is the author of the Anthony and Agatha-nominated Stella Crown mystery series, as well as the stand-alone novel, LOST SONS. You can learn more about her on her web site,


Hannah Dennison said...

You have my sincere commiserations. I was a flight attendant for a decade in the eighties regularly crossing the atlantic in heels (before it was acceptable to wear comfortable flats and support hose onboard). We were told a transatlantic flight was the equivalent of walking 12 miles. The moment I reached my hotel room, I'd plunge my feet into the bathroom bidet for relief! And yes, I shed real tears of pain!

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

I need to re-read your blog every time as I pack. My feet were burning in empathy for you. I could just see you hobbling back to the Manhattan hotel room, because I've done the same. Now can someone tell me how women wear those stiletto's? Down with Manolos!

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Oh yeah. Not that I have any. I'd not only have to sell a lot more books, I'd need foot transplants.

Judy Clemens said...

The bidet! A new concept for the use of said appliance...

I don't mind wearing heels for a function like a wedding or something else special, but as a job! No thanks.

Judy Clemens said...

Oh, one more thing...I won't actually be president of SinC until this fall. Until then, the position belongs to Roberta Isleib, with me filling the VP position! : )

Donis Casey said...

When I was younger and a department head, and wanted to project authority, I wore heels both to be fashionable and to raise me up high enough so that I didn't have to continually stare people in the shirt buttons and belt buckles.
I sacrificed my feet in order to be imposing. I am now incabable of standing any shoe with a heel over about an inch and a half for more than ten minutes at a time.
(I am visualizing the men reading this post and shaking their heads in wonder.)

rebecca cantrell said...

Thanks for the heads up! I'm heading to New York for Thrillerfest and debating on what to pack. My sensible husband has been urging me to pack the most comfortable shoes (maybe even sneakers), and I keep saying "It's New York, I need to wear the dressy shoes." But maybe I should be saying "To heck with all that, I'm a writer, not a model, I can be an eccentric weirdo in comfortable shoes." But I don't know yet...

nancy martin said...

Judy, far be it for me to make fun of anyone for their shoes! But I swear by Cole Haan---the dress shoe with the sneaker inside. They saved me on that New York trip!

Judy Clemens said...

Yes, Nancy had the perfect shoes. I didn't even know they were "sneakers."

And Rebecca, please, please, if you're going to be walking around a lot, wear shoes that will make your feet happy. You'll enjoy your time much more!

Donis, I hear the dilemma (although it sounds like it's no longer a dilemma!). It's good to feel dressy -- but not good to be wincing all the time because the shoes just weren't made for walking!

Grapeshot/Odette said...

Picking shoes for travel is the trickiest part of packing. Just going through security: must wear socks of some kind. Ick! Who wants to walk barefoot where all those thousands of maybe-not-so-clean feet have trod. Easy to slip back on shoes a must-have, shoes that don't care if your feet swell on the plane.

I remember almost crying while I walked from the MWA hotel to a restaurant--cool shoes but at what price?

Whenever I find a pair of shoes that look even a little dressy and are still comfy, they go everywhere with me until they are plumb worn out.

My condolences to your feet from mine.

Grapeshot/Odette said...

Addendum to prior post:
when we choose vanity over comfort, we need to carry The Body Shop's Peppermint Foot Balm. Very soothing after a hard day in the desert, the garden, or pounding the pavement.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Hi everyone,
I goofed in my introduction. Judy is vice-president of Sisters in Crime. She'll be president in the fall, but I jumped the gun!