Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Business of Shoes

business shoesThe other day saw 48.8mm of rain falling on Melbourne. At the physical level I got wet on my way home from work, but mentally I wasn't phased. I had my raincoat and umbrella with me, like I [almost] always do. The catch, however, was that I was wearing my Timberland boots, which meant I could get home with dry feet.
I suspect keeping one’s feet dry qualifies as one of this world’s least appreciated acts. I find dry feet make a whole of a lot of a difference: wet feet make me feel cold and miserable; with dry ones I couldn’t care less about the weather.
The question is, what was I doing wearing boots to work? Am I not supposed to be wearing business shoes to work?
Funny you should ask. Thing is, upon returning from our month long round the world holiday, I found that while I was fine wearing my business shoes around the office I wasn’t fine at all walking with my business shoes. I found that my daily half hour walk between the train station and the office turned into literal pain when those flat and non ergonomic shoes came in place of the comfy shoes I wore throughout the holiday. Given I'm generally pain averse, I started using proper shoes for the walking bits, leaving my business shoes behind at the office.
The real question is why do we do this to ourselves. Why do we wear business shoes in the first place instead of more functional shoes?
I have already discussed Aussies' love affair with wearing suits as an instrument through which perceived authority is deemed to be acquired. It seems to me that business shoes serve a similar need. Pulling that line of thought further, it seems as if Australians have a major need to dress the part in order to feel the part: it is as if the average Aussie is afraid of behaving like the alcohol consuming addict he/she tends to be outside of work, with only their business apparel to keep them on the leash inside work. I’m rather sad to find myself living amongst people who so totally rely on their clothing to dictate acceptable codes of behavior.
Then again, the problem extends much further than that. How often do we see women whose toes are totally twisted from years of wearing narrow shoes? Or, for that matter, women wearing high heels? If business clothing arrises from the need to establish behavior codes and authority, women’s impractical clothing stems from much stronger sexual drives.
In short, as modern as we think we are, we are slaves to the animals within us. Your shoes know all about it.


Image by nitecruise, Creative Commons license

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