My Kingdom For A Soft Sole

Forget being stylish — now footwear is all about comfort

By Jeff Salter

Topic: Have your footwear choices changed as your life, or lifestyle, has changed?

Interesting topic. And the operative term is CHOICES — meaning preferences, as opposed to PRACTICES. I’ll explain. For years my mom dictated the type shoes I’d wear: leather lace-ups for church… tennis shoes for school and play. I never got the leather shoes I wanted and rarely got the Keds sneakers I wanted. Plus, mom would never buy me loafers (which I wanted) because she always bought my shoes at least a full size too large, so I’d “grow into them.” And she never agreed to the cowboy boots I wanted, except for one brief year in the mid-1950s when she bought me some gaudy red and white boots.

Unlike many of you readers, I didn’t go barefoot much… after we moved to Covington LA in the middle 1950s. Our yard had several irregular patches of “stickers” which would dissuade anyone from venturing into that territory without adequate footwear.

Similar to what I wore in late high school & early college… but without the PENNY.

Which leads me to the type footwear I DESIRED… and finally bought with my own money when I had a paying job in late high school years. That’s when I finally got my loafers… and (in direct defiance of the school principal) I wore them withOUT socks! “Oh, the horror!”

Ever since that brief flirtation with those gaudy cowboy boots of my first grade year, I’d wanted a pair of REAL boots. But not the kind worn by Porter Wagner or Roy Rogers. I wanted genuine leather, unadorned cowhide. Finally, about the time I was a sophomore in college, I bought a pair of harness boots. I didn’t go looking for the harness part, but that was as close as I could get to un-decorated leather boots.

What I’d wanted since high school – and still do want (but will never get, because I can’t wear boots anymore) – are a pair of these rough-outs.

These have an official name, but I can’t remember it.

Along the way, I briefly wore (during my final two years of college, after my Air Force hitch) what were new and popular at the time — negative heel “earth shoes.”

For a very brief point in about 1979, I even wore what I now think of as “platform heel” loafers. [You’ll have to use your imagination.]

But mostly, for my library career – administrative office work – I wore fairly traditional brogans. Until about 2003 or 2004 when I developed a neuroma in one of my feet [I can’t remember which foot, because now I have it in BOTH feet]. That’s a very painful condition involving unnatural proximity of two particular nerves near the bases of two toes. I was hobbling in my brogans. So I hunted down some soft inner-soled Rockports. They were dressy enough for work and church and they enabled me to walk without too much pain.

After I retired and relocated, I ditched the Rockports and bought some very cushiony Skeechers [sneakers] and some similarly soft Aasics.

I still can’t go barefoot… but not because of stickers. Now it’s because of my neuromas — very painful to step on hard flooring.

Now that I’m 71+ and the neuromas seem to slowly get worse, I guess I’ll never get those rough-out boots that I’ve wanted for at least 55 years. But at least I’ve got a picture.


What about YOU? What type of footwear did you most like in your youth? What do you wear NOW?

[JLS # 586]


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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9 Responses to My Kingdom For A Soft Sole

  1. Son#2 has a rea thing for comfortable cowboy boots…I can’t imagine why they are comfortable, but he searches far and wide for just the right ones,(at a decent price.) The Husband has broken one anle three times and generally wears high-top boots and shows, but not as much in the last year.He went out walking in a field and now has a sprained ankle because he went out late, hit a gopher hole and didn’t have on high-tops. He didn’t tell me right away and I just hope it isn’t broken
    My feet will be in tomorrow’s post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Sorry to hear of your hubby’s ankle issues.
      I totally understand your son’s on-going quest for quality, comfortable, affordable boots. Those harness boots, I mentioned above, were taken to a Base Exchange shoe repair place at McClellan AFB in CA after I’d worn them for a few years. They needed new soles or heels (can’t recall which). That outfit’s policy (supposedly) was to replace the entire sole & heel or do nothing. They claimed it was an issue of people coming back to get different aspects fixed but not wanting to pay for it. confusing. Anyhow, whatever they did created an unnatural hump in the arch of one of the boots… so I could never again wear them comfortably. That’s a shame, because I loved those boots.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    Yup, spent a lot of time barefoot as a kid. Rarely did I wear shoes if it weren’t required. I don’t remember my footwear in my elementary years, though I imagine they were Keds/Kangaroos or Mary Jane types. But I do remember what I wore in junior high, high school, and beyond. I got my first pair of black and white checkerboard Vans in junior high. I also wore what we called “head” shoes. I think the proper term was chukka desert boots – unisex ankle boots made of suede. I wore both these into high school. I also wore flats. As far as sneakers, I had a pair of L.A. Gear. For a brief time, I wore the very popular jellies. I had several pair in different colors. I was soooo rockin’ the 80s. As a young adult, I switched to stylish calf-length and knee-high boots, heels, and sandals of many styles. I worked out a lot, so I did have sneakers, but since I was broke and cheap, they were hardly ever name brand. These days, I still wear the latest styles. The only difference is the heels are lower. Much lower. LOL

    Sorry to hear about your neuromas. That surely sucks. I get plantar fasciitis often, so I know how miserable foot pain can be.

    Fun topic, though.


    • Jeff Salter says:

      I witnessed, from a distance, that fad with “jellies.” I thought they looked horrid, but it seemed like “everybody” wanted them. Not me. I think they were basically replaced by Crocs.
      Yeah, foot pain is awful… but I’m glad that I can still ambulate at all… since I know many people who cannot.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff Salter says:

    Oh, one memorable pair of footwear that I neglected to mention is my “Beatle boots.” After much pleading, I persuaded my mom to buy me a pair of those British boots which became so popular in America after the (musical) British Invasion of the early 60s. It was in Iowa, in 1965 that I finally got them. Had to be special ordered, since it wasn’t an item kept in stock at the modest shoe store in Mt. Pleasant Iowa. I loved them, but at that point the boy’s pants had undergone a severe narrowing of the cuff area… and they were so tight that they would not go over the tops of my Beatle boots. So, sadly, my boots did not get as much wear as I would have wanted.
    Decades later, my son found them and wore the to several “sixties” parties.


  4. Oh, it’s too bad about your foot issues. When your feet hurt you are limited to what you can do. And I hate that you never got that pair of boots you wanted.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I feel your pain about not getting the shoes you wanted when growing up. For me it was because I had to wear those heavy orthopedic shoes. But I suppose those heavy shoes might have prevented worse issues later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      our son had to wear leg braces for several months when he was a toddler. It was a difficult time, but we’re all glad he did it because his legs grew straight and strong.


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