Shoes Like Papier-Mâché

Filed under i used to be so cool

I bought my first pair of Converse Chuck Taylor low-tops my sophomore year of college and wore them for the next six years. They were probably two sizes too big for me, because I was somehow under the impression through high school and college that my feet were much, much bigger than they actually are. Had they been the correct size, the rubber reinforcement strip around the front of the shoe would have kept the canvas top from peeling away from the sole, but things being as they were, I developed holes on both sides of each shoe within weeks where they curved every time I bent down.

I wore them every single day. (Unless, of course, I was wearing something that went with my neon pink or teal blue Sauconys, but that was rare, as you can imagine.) When the sole lost all of its minimal padding after a couple of years, I bought padded inserts. When I found a giant hole in the back of the right one in a couple more years, I ignored it. When the balls of my feet actually wore holes in the rubber sole of each shoe, I replaced the padded inserts with waterproof gel inserts that kept the rain out (for the most part). The shoes got wet so many times that the canvas actually got hard, like papier-mâché.

My parents came to visit NYC two years ago and asked what they could buy me for my birthday while they were here. It hurt, but I decided to have them purchase my very first replacement pair of Chucks. Reminding myself that my feet are actually quite normally-sized, I went down a couple of sizes and enjoyed the freedom of not worrying about wet socks for the first times in years.

A few days later, I had developed blisters on the sides of my feet where the old Chucks hadn’t rubbed but the new Chucks did. I assumed my feet would get used to the smaller size eventually, but two years later, I was still having to rotate them out of my wardrobe every couple of days and actually wear dress shoes or something to give my feet a day off from the pinching.

The other day, though, I finally told myself, “THESE ARE $40 SHOES. Surely you can afford to buy new ones that don’t hurt.” And I did, one size between the originals and their next-of-kin. I’m wearing them now and working on dirtying them up so I’m not THAT GIRL with the new Chucks, and it’s a delight. And you know what? Moving on didn’t bother me one bit. Apparently I don’t get attached to things that hurt me.

Except men and ice cream.


  1. I’m glad to hear you admit the fact that you will NEVER be able to get over me covered in vanilla ice cream.

    But I think it’s over between us;
    I just can’t date a woman who owns more than 3 pairs of shoes that requires shoestrings.

    Plus the bunions and corns that you now have from years of cramming your feet into those too small Chuck Taylors is a bit of a turnoff.


  2. B. Austin says:

    Yeah, what’s up with us girls thinking our feet are two sizes bigger than they actually are?? I swore up and down I was size 10 junior year and then started to freak out after college because suddenly size 9’s and 8 1/2’s were fitting my feet perfectly – you know, thought I suffering from old person shrinkage about 50 years too early.

    Anyhow, glad you’re enjoying your new Chucks Katie Ett. Wear them well.:)

  3. Since March, I became the proud owner of not one but two pairs of Chucks (one robin’s egg blue, one red), and I love the hell out of them. A lot of people complain about the fact that they have no arch support, but since my feet are completely flat and thus arch support is completely unnecessary, it’s like they were made just for me and my duck feet.

  4. spaghedeity says:

    that last line couldn’t be more perfect.

    i wore chucks through highschool (on mufti days, i mean) and the first three years of university, but i’ve since become more of a black canvas flats kind of girl. chucks just don’t go well with my skinny jeans and cute little cuffed shorts.

    • I wish you got all of the awful reality TV shows I watch over there, because now that you’ve mentioned cuffed shorts, I really want you to be dating Trace from “Flipping Out” just so you two can prance around LA together in them.