In Search of… The Perfect Pair of Flip-Flops

flipflops“Aaaaahhhhh!”, said my feet, as I slipped them into what I had determined was the perfect pair of flip-flops.

You shouldn’t underestimate the power of the perfect pair of flip-flops. Nor should you assume that one’s ability to find such an item can be done with anything resembling alacrity. They don’t just jump off the shelf at the first shoe store, for crying out loud! No. They hide out in the hidden recesses of the fourteenth or (sometimes!) the fortieth store you enter. Like the “little black dress”, a decent pair of flip-flops is integral to any wardrobe. And can be just as elusive.

There are any number of versions of the “little black dress”, so it’s easy to understand why a person can spend her life searching for one. Flip-flops, on the other hand, because they are, by their very nature, a simple configuration of sole and thong, should be a far easier thing to stumble upon. Except that they’re not. At least not for me.

The main reason that I have so much trouble finding ANY flip-flop, let alone the “perfect” flip-flop, is genetic. If you were to look at my feet, you’d probably be surprised to discover that, although they share a hairline, my father is NOT, in fact, Fred Flintstone. Flip-flops are foot-shaped, my feet are, like Fred’s, brick-shaped. They resemble unfinished pieces of sculpture — like the artist, after chiseling out the toes, got bored or, possibly even died, prior to shaving the proper amount of granite off of the sides.

The shape of my feet, or lack thereof, has not been enhanced by a lifetime of working on my them, either. What little arch I started out with in life is now almost nonexistent. This means that while others can wander around in $2.50 Old Navy flip-flops, I require something a little more substantial — something that fools my brain into thinking that my feet have an arch.

I am also afflicted with a chronic case of plantar fasciitis. You can look it up. Suffice it to say, “it sucks”. I very often feel like I’m walking on broken glass. Luckily, my case is milder than most — it only flares up once in a while. Wearing the wrong shoes, though, — like flat, unsupportive flip-flops — is sure to bring it on. Trust me, no one wants that. Because it makes me miserable. And I’m not the type to suffer in silence.

As if I don’t have enough problems, I also have a recurring issue with a couple of corns. They take up residence from time to time between my fourth and my fifth toes. I’ve entertained the notion of obtaining those “toe” shoes to keep this annoyance at bay, but I have it on good authority that NO ONE will be seen with me while I’m wearing these! It’s tempting, though. Some days, choosing between a friendless life of loneliness and despair or not being agitated by corns, seems a no-brainer. What I have discovered is that if my shoes are wide enough, but not TOO wide, at the top, I can keep the corns from growing so large that they actually resemble an extra toe!

Finding a pair of flip-flops that have an arch to combat my flat-footedness, are padded enough to alleviate the plantar fasciitis, and are wide enough to keep the corns from forming is a nearly impossible task, particularly if you also want them to look somewhat stylish. It goes without saying that I want them to be fashionable. Why bother with expensive and time-consuming pedicures if you can’t show off the results by sporting some cute-ass flip-flops?

That I go through this every year is mind-boggling. But, I do. Because flip-flops stretch out over the course of the winter. I don’t know why. I’m sure there’s some perfectly reasonable scientific explanation for this. My theory, less scientific but certainly more plausible, is that Hobbits sneak underneath my bed, raid my flip-flop stash, and wear them on their adventures. Searching for rings and saving Middle Earth requires footwear. Hobbits are the only creatures, outside of cartoon characters, who have uglier feet than I do.

Yesterday, after trying on about one-hundred pairs — ranging in price, might I add, from $14.99 to $55.00 — I finally found a pair that fit all of my criteria AND only cost $24.99! I was really happy with them. Until I got them home and modeled them for Fangette, who immediately asked me why I had purchased “orthopedic” shoes. My first reaction was to argue with her, to tell her that they were not “orthopedic”, that they were “cute”. And then I took a second look at them. That’s when I realized that she was right. They weren’t cute at all. But here’s the thing — they fit and they’re comfortable! So, I’m keeping them. In fact, I may even go back to the store and buy them in another color!

It hasn’t escaped my notice that being satisfied with comfort and fit or the fact that I can no longer be trusted to deem a shoe “cute”, is a sure sign that I’m middle-aged. Cool. I’ve always wanted a pair of Birkenstock’s.

photo credit: flip flops (me)