Blue Suede Shoes by
(191 Stories)

Prompted By Shoes

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These may not be the type of blue suede shoes that Elvis was singing about, but they are currently my favorite dressy shoes. They go perfectly with my one evening gown, and also with my best street-length dress. And with their one inch heels, they are not uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.

These may not be the type of blue suede shoes that Elvis was singing about, but they are currently my favorite dressy shoes.

When I was a child, I always wore sensible shoes with arch supports. We went to a small local shoe store called Jack and Jill that only sold children’s shoes. They had two really high padded seats for children to sit on while they got their feet measured by the salesman. I don’t have a specific memory of what my shoes looked like, but they were leather and probably had laces that I eventually learned how to tie. They always had to have arch supports to make sure my feet developed properly.

By the time I was in high school, everyone was wearing penny loafers, and I begged and pleaded until I was allowed to get them too. The two de rigueur brands were Weejuns and Old Maine Trotters. I’m sure I had one of them, probably whichever one they had at the store my mother was willing to take me to, or, if they had both, whichever one was less expensive. I don’t think I ever put pennies in the slots though.

In college I remember wearing leather shoes with chunky heels, which were murder on the cobblestones of Cambridge. I twisted my ankles more times than I can remember, but it never caused me to think I should wear a different type of shoe. This picture is not an actual pair of shoes that I had, I’m not that much of a saver, but it was the best example I could find online of the type of shoes I wore all the way through college. (Shoes are probably the only items that I have been quick to get rid of when they were no longer useful.) In recent decades, going back to Cambridge for reunions, now that we are allowed to wear sneakers, I find that the cobblestones are so much more manageable. We didn’t realize back then what an advantage the guys had in simply getting around.

As a young lawyer, I wore high heels with my power suits. Generally two-and-a-half or even three inch heels, and since I was already 5’8″, that often made me as tall as, or taller than, my opposing counsel. I found it to be an effective way to intimidate male attorneys who acted superior — until I stood up. Very satisfying. However, in the office I generally took my shoes off and walked around the carpeted hallways in my stocking feet. There is only so much time you can spend walking on tiptoes!

I have been known to succumb to shoe fads. In 2005, the new “in” shoes were Crocs. We were in Boulder, Colorado that summer, which is where they were invented. They hadn’t hit California yet, and we were totally taken with them. Each member of our family got a pair in a different color. Mine were beige, Ed’s were green, Sabrina’s purple, Ben’s brown, and Molly’s royal blue. Their coolness didn’t last very long though. In pictures from a high school reunion that I went to in spring 2006, I am chagrined to see that I am wearing my Crocs. The kids all ditched theirs fairly quickly, but Ed and I still have ours. They are useful for working in the yard or around the pool, but I certainly wouldn’t wear them out in public any more.

The next fad I embraced was TOMS shoes in the summer of 2010. TOMS pioneered the “one for one” concept – the company promised to give a free pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold, so it made us feel virtuous for buying them. Molly, Sabrina, and I all got them. I bought mine at Nordstrom when they had an offer that they would paint them on request. I asked for paint splatters, but I didn’t like the way it turned out, so I took them to a boutique in another shopping center that had a real artist doing the painting. She painted them for me even though I hadn’t bought them at the store that was sponsoring her. Consequently, my shoes are unique, because even if that artist did the same kind of flowers on someone else’s shoes, mine have the turquoise paint splatters underneath the flowers, as well as in the interior of the shoes (as you can see more clearly if you click to enlarge the picture).

Nowadays, most of the time I wear sneakers (or athletic shoes if you prefer) because they are so much more comfortable than anything else. But when did they become acceptable for everyday wear? It certainly wasn’t the case in my childhood or young adulthood. My research tells me that the sale of sneakers took off in 1984, when Michael Jordan signed a contract to wear a Nike shoe called Air Jordans. That seems plausible to me. Other than whatever I was required to have for PE in high school (I’m thinking Keds), my very first athletic shoes were made by Adidas, and I bought them in 1974, when I was in law school, to wear playing basketball, but not the rest of the time. It was at a much later point, probably in the mid to late ’80s, after I had kids, that I started wearing sneakers as casual footwear. Since that time, I have had Adidas, Nikes, Asics, New Balance, and most recently Skechers.

I’m told by my fashionista daughter that Skechers are what all the old ladies wear, so I guess that’s me. Skechers also makes comfortable flats, with memory foam inside, so I have a couple of different pairs of those as well. When one of my college roommates and I got together for dinner a couple of years ago, we noticed that we were both wearing Skechers flats, and we went on and on about how much we loved them, until we cracked up because we sounded like such a commercial. We decided that it would actually make a great commercial – two sixty-something but still attractive and well-dressed women having an earnest conversation about all the reasons we love Skechers. Are you listening, Madison Avenue?

Just for fun, and to bring the story full circle, here is a picture of me taken last year in my blue evening gown and my blue suede shoes. I know you can’t see the shoes very well, but it was the best I could do. (You can at least see one shoe more clearly if you click to enlarge the picture.) The feather boa and the white gloves are because I was performing in a Gershwin cabaret. The shoes were amazingly comfortable that evening, although I was standing up singing for a long time, and even walked both ways between my house and the concert venue. I was very grateful for that.







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Profile photo of Suzy Suzy

Characterizations: been there, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    The blue suede shoes look great and bravo for finding something so attractive that are also comfortable; the two are often mutually exclusive. Like you, I went through the tie-up shoe phase as a child, but wore short heels during my working life. Now, in retirement, I wear whatever is comfortable (less and less these days) and have a difficult time finding dressy, comfortable shoes. Your blue suede shoes sound perfect (and are really great looking).

    We’ve seen the beautiful photo of you dressed for the Gershwin cabaret, but it’s worth seeing again, as you look stunning. Thanks, baby blue!

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks, Betsy. I agree, it’s almost impossible to find shoes that are both attractive and comfortable. All my other dressy shoes are flats, mainly Skechers, but as you know, they are not as flattering to the leg as heels. Looking at all of my photos though, it was hard to find any that included my shoes.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Really enjoyed your history of shoes, Suzy. And, yes, I do remember wondering why all my female classmates risked twisted ankles on the Cambridge cobblestones. That said, the cool Frye boots we guys would wear in winter were pretty dangerous on them, too.

    You raise a good point about sneakers. As I recall, other than for sports, we were not allowed to wear sneakers in our high school. Not that they would have been a fashion statement then, anyhow; we all happily wore our penny loafers (or desert boots for a brief time).

    And you are forgiven your Crocs. They were a legitimate trend. I’m just glad that you didn’t succumb to gravity shoes, those ultra clunkers of the 70’s with toes higher than the heels.

    Finally, thanks for this terrifically fun prompt, both to write about and read about.

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks, John. College was all about chunky heels and cobblestones for me – thank goodness the fashions didn’t require us to wear stilettos, that would have been really deadly! I never was interested in gravity shoes (weren’t they called Earth Shoes?) because they looked so ugly. But I must admit that I did get Birkenstocks, which were almost as bad.

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    I wish I had those blue suede shoes, Suzy. Like you, my go to is Skechers, and I even convinced my husband that he would like them. He did. I hope you get to make that commercial someday because Madison Avenue needs to understand that, after a certain age, we refuse to torture our feet anymore.

    • Suzy says:

      Yes, I was lucky to find them. They weren’t so comfortable initially, I had to experiment with various insoles and such, til I finally got them just right. I suppose I should have mentioned that in the story. And thanks for your support for my Skechers commercial! We could add your comment about convincing your husband that he would like them too.

  4. Hey, those are ballet flats, modified with faux string, a heel, a molded insole, and absolutely adorable!

    I remember Jack and Jill, and of course having our feet measured by salesmen (but never saleswomen…hmm). I wonder if those orthopedically sound shoes actually helped. So many women our age have foot problems, more so than men, I think (wonder if it has to do with squeezing them into uncomfortable shoes for fashion’s sake…hmmm).

    I never wore Crocs, or Skechers, but I do love my Tom’s. And I do love the thought of you in those 3″ heels, Suzy, and then kicking them off and padding around the office in stocking feet!

    • Suzy says:

      Wow, you’re right, Barb, they are modified ballet flats. Guess that’s why I like them so much. I also still wear my Toms, they are very comfortable and easy to pack for travel (remember travel?).

  5. Marian says:

    Love the blue shoes, Suzy. They would almost work for me! At least in college I didn’t have to deal with cobblestones, although we walked a lot up the hill to our dorms. I’m glad I wasn’t the only young woman to wear high heels to “stand up” to those obnoxious males!

  6. Suzy, your blue suede shoes are nice but absolutely LOVE you in the photo and LOVE the boa!

    I wear Crocs for gardening but it’s supposedly not good to have you feet incased in that rubbery stuff.

    The two pairs of London boots I wrote about are long gone, but FYI boots I currently have that were pricey but very, very comfortable are by La Canadienne.

  7. Risa Nye says:

    Remember platform shoes? This was such an evocative prompt! Each era had its own style: high school, college, first jobs, etc. I had trouble finding midnight blue shoes to match a mother-of-the-groom dress and ended up with a pair of amazing Manolos (bought on sale, but still…) that I have worn exactly twice! So much fun to review what’s hot and what’s not re shoes over the years!

    • Suzy says:

      I DO remember platform shoes. The only pair I had were platform clogs, and I got into a car accident driving in them, as I related in my Plymouth Valiant convertible story. And as for the shoes to match your mother-of-the-groom dress, you could have borrowed my blue suede shoes! They are lighter than midnight, but I bet they would have worked. But we probably didn’t know each other then.

  8. I am really enjoying how much social history is embedded in this week’s discussions of footwear! The issue of how men feel around women who are their height (or even taller) could be a prompt itself. I can totally relate (thinking back to my younger days) to the guys who felt intimidated as soon as you stood up!

    BTW I don’t think I ever wore sneakers around Harvard or Cambridge, other than going to the gym to do my “PE credit” which we called PTs. So we males didn’t have an advantage that way. Even when I was in grad school in the 1990s, I was still not wearing sneakers as typical everyday wear, although clearly some people had already begun doing that.

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks for your comment, Dale. As to walking on cobblestones in Cambridge, I didn’t mean to suggest that your advantage came from wearing sneakers. Nobody wore sneakers then. But ANY men’s shoes (except maybe cowboy boots) would give you that advantage because the heel is basically flat, so you wouldn’t be turning your ankles like we did in chunky heels.

  9. One for the money…two for the show… three to get ready… now go, cat, go
    But don’t you step on…

    Great image of you rising up in court, slowly, slowly, growing taller, taller, opposing counsel watching you, head back, eyes open in wonder as you reach your full high-heeled stature. A little like Alice in Wonderland. One side makes you taller. Ask Alice.

    • Suzy says:

      You are the only one who noticed my story title. I can just imagine you playing and singing it! Not sure about the Alice comparison. I can hear Grace Slick- “Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.” Guess I needed to grow another four feet. Wow, I just realized your entire comment was musical. ♪♫

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