Shopping with the Shoe Goddess (updated)

I have shoe issues. Or rather recalcitrant ankle issues. High heels are forbidden me. It’s not like I ever wore high heels that much, but that’s not the point! I have been condemned to a life of boring, not-fun shoes in the hopes of preventing further ankle injury and thus averting surgery. I know, I know. It’s all too tedious for words. And makes shoe shopping a chore where I look at all the flats and low-heeled boots and my heart sinks. Gah! I hates them all.

Unfortunately, I cannot get about in sneakers, blunnies or kleenex boxes all the time on account of the increasing number of appearances and other formalish events I do. These require that I dress up in outfits that are not typically improved by said sneakers, blunnies and kleenex boxes.

The lovely Anne Ishii came to my rescue by telling me about her fabulous friend Meghan Cleary, the shoe goddess. Miss Meghan has written a book about shoes, The Perfect Fit, does appearances all over the US of A advising women about shoes as well as going on a million and one TV shows talking about the same. I defy you to find someone who knows more about shoes than Meghan.

On Friday Meghan took me shopping. She showed up in fabulous pale python cowboy boots (want!), jeans and a gorgeous deep green top that looked like she’d stolen it from a very hip elf (double want!). We liked each other instantly and started gas bagging, joshing, and generally having the best time in the world, gossiping happily about all the people we know in common, as well as those we don’t (poor Gwyneth and Tom—their ears musta been aburnin’).

Then she gave me a divine little show bag1 full of natty things that make your shoes more comfortable and stop them from giving you blisters. Today I put the insoles with gel shock absorbers into my years-old blunnies and they became even more comfie than they already were. It’s like magic. Why did no one tell me about comfie insoles before? Do you all want my feet to fall off?

Did you know that jewellery for shoes exists? They’re called shoe clips. I had no idea! Again, people, what’s with the holding out on me? Meghan had these gorgeous little diamante ones that she put on a pair of simple black pointy-toed flats and whooosh! they became a whole other pair of shoes. Admittedly, shoes that my sister would mock me for wearing, but I defy her! I can be girlie if I want to!

Check out the shoe clips at Aliza Dark. Her range pushes me very close to considering bows despite having alway hated them, but I suspect I will probably try one of the stone shoe clips first. I especially like the tiger’s eye. Absolutely Audrey also has a fabbie range. I am covetting quite a few of the antique clips.

Meghan took me into big department stores and walked around pulling shoes off shelves and describing them as she presented them to me. “Would you do lavender metallic pointy-toed ballet flats fit for a science fiction princess? Soft brown leather polo boots? How about these cute little mary-janes? No, I’ve changed my mind. Too mumsie.”

The vast majority of shoes I’ve owned in my life have been black or brown, but Meghan made me try on shoes I would never in a million years have considered if she weren’t there. Purply glittery shoes with tiny bows that looked almost exactly like Dorothy’s no-place-like-home shoes! And yet they looked really cute on and I almost bought them. Dark green alligator skin past-your-knees boots! Ditto. Maroon and black Manolo Blahniks! I swore I would never ever try a pair of Manolos on. Fortunately a) they were uncomfortable and b) they looked bad on me. Phew!

The shoe goddess showed me all sorts of divine shoes, but tragically too many times the salesperson would shake their heads and smile sadly. “I’m sorry. They’re all sold out.” Apparently if you are between size 7 and 10 and you do not go shoe shopping the first week the cool shoes appear, you’re doomed. They’re all gone. If you want winter shoes in NYC you have to hit the shops in July. If you want spring shoes you need to be there in December. You have been told.

I wound up with two pairs of the same simple-but-elegant flats. One in brown and one in black. Yes, I know that doesn’t exactly push me out into startlingly new-and-different shoe territory, but they didn’t have those ones in my size or price range, okay?

Besides, the immediate spoils are not the point. Meghan calls what she does with folks like me “shoe therapy” and my several hours with here were mucho therapeutic. She taught me way more about figuring out if a shoe is comfortable or not, how to customise them to make them even more comfie, and how to turn an ordinary daytime shoe into something sparkling and fabbie for the night, not to mention giving me the courage to be considerably more adventerous in my choice of shoes.

Thank you, shoe goddess!

NOTE: All shoe pictures were swiped from

UPDATE: They were swiped to show a variety of flats, NOT because I think they are fabulous. Some of them are hideous in the extreme.

  1. As a Sydney girl I have been permanently warped by the Royal Easter show into thinking show bags are the most desirable thing in the entire universe even if they’ve got nothing in them but yukky chocolate, coffee and licorice. []


  1. Little Willow on #

    It’s a small world after all. I know Gemma of shoewawa fame. She’s a sweetie.

  2. marrije on #

    what are blunnies???

  3. Katerate on #

    You make me want to go shoe shopping now D:. Or at least get gels for my work shoes.

  4. Maureen johnson on #

    How did you arrange this? You totally have magical powers. Or e-mail, or something. Were any of the shoes, dare I even ask . . . five HUNDRED dollars? (This will grow old soon. But until it does, I’m riding it until the very end.)

  5. cherie priest on #

    In America (at least, where I lived in America) back in the mid to late 1980s shoe clips were sort of hip … for about ten minutes. But like so many things associated with the decade that taste forgot, now they are too often relegated to the land of mockery – along with acid wash jeans, frosted blue eyeshadow, and Members Only jackets.

    They’re hip little doo-dads, though – when used correctly. Unfortunately, what usually ended up happening to ME was that I’d get two or three pairs of shoe clips and promptly have one of each set kicked off at church, at the mall, at wherever. I don’t know if the clippie technology has improved or not, but fifteen or twenty years ago, they were damn hard to keep in a set.

  6. Chris McLaren on #

    You realize, of course, that with this single post you have irredeemably damaged your status as One Of The Lads, right?

    Writing about sport won’t get you back in, either. You’re going to have to pinch a barmaid or something.

  7. scott w on #

    justine pinches barmaids all the time.

  8. Ted Lemon on #

    The green ones are okay – the pointy toe is very Wicked Witch of the West. The white ones are very Glinda the Good – I like them a lot. But the sandals with the white leather bag are a crime against nature. And leopard spots? That’s just *so* done.


    Anyway, not one of those shoes has a decent toebox. You need to hit up Scott’s chic New York sneaker friends. Too bad they’re fictional…

  9. Cheryl on #

    Oh jealousy! With feet as oddly shaped as mine I am in desperate need of a shoe goddess to help me. Shoe accessories sound good too, because I’m mostly limited to wearing trainers or very boring-looking courts.

    Leopard spots, by the way, are just huge in the UK this winter. Funny how things you would never have worn two years ago have a way of coming back.

  10. bennett on #

    i am pretty sure flats are still the thing right now. better enjoy it while it lasts!

  11. Justine on #

    Marrije: Blunnies is the shortened form of Blundstones.

    Katerate: I know! All I want to do is go shoe shopping . . .

    Maureen Johnson: Magical powers, naturally.

    Cherie: I was around in the 1980s, but sadly shoe clipless. When I get some I’ll let you know if I have the power to make them stay on or not.

    Chris McLaren: I am shaking my head sadly.

    Scott W: And you are even worse.

    Ted Lemon: Mate! Those are just a selection of shoes I didn’t say I liked any of them!

    Cheryl: The poor leopards . . .

    Bennett: I reckon you’d be wrong. There were heels everywhere I looked. Everywhere! Twas insane.

  12. Cheryl on #

    Justine, hardly anyone wears real fur these days. On the other hand, if your comment was meant to express sympathy with leopards having their fine sense of fashion copied and abused by hordes of Essex Girls and Liver Birds, well I can only echo your sentiments.

  13. Justine on #

    I meant the latter. I was imagining how I’d feel if a bunch of leopards were walking around with a reproduction of my skin on their feet . . .

  14. marrije on #

    i had not a clue about what blundstones were, either, but now i know! thanks to google! they remind me of my beloved docs, the ones my boyfriend doesn’t like on me, so now i wear girl shoes all the time… i am a really poor excuse for a feminist sometimes.

  15. Justine on #

    I just googled and guess what the very first hit for “blunnies” is? And second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth etc etc . . .

    If I’ve achieved nothing else here at least I’m improving people’s googling skills!

  16. marrije on #

    ha! chastized! point taken! but it’s so much more fun to ask you than to ask google, which is decidedly unfunny most of the time. 🙂

  17. Cheryl on #

    Actually most leopards I know are seriously cool and have bags of style. I very much doubt that they’d want to wear a reproduction of my skin, but if they did I think I’d probably be flattered.

  18. Richard on #

    I guess the ankle issues have cropped up since the time you (in high heels) and Paul Witcover and I (not in high heels) walked up thirty flights of stairs. As I recall Paul and I were huffing and puffing while you didn’t even break a sweat. Sorry to hear about the ankle issues.

    Glad to see that you correctly divide shoes into high heels and flats. (Warning, style opinion imminent!) Mid-height heels, yuk.

    I think I just damaged my status as one of the lads; oh well.

  19. sdn on #

    oh, shoe clips! my mom turned me on to those back in the day. i have all of hers now, but tend not to use them. still, a good changearound option.

  20. Justine on #

    Marrije: Feel free to ask any quessies you like. As long as you don’t mind the mockage!

    Richard: Stunts like that are prolly why I have the ankle issues in the first place. Sigh.

    So does that mean you’re against cuban heels? I love me some cuban heels.

    Why would anyone want to be one of the lads? Gah! Give me the purse-carrying nancy boys any day of the week!

    sdn: Feel free to donate ’em to me!

  21. Lauren on #

    Make with the details, girlfriend. How do you tell whether shoes you’re trying on in the store will still be comfortable out on the street.

    And fear not flat shoes. They’re way cool right now. Espec with skinny leg jeans, which I swore I’d never wear but which actually look okay with another 80’s throwback–leg warmers.

  22. Chris McLaren on #

    Chris McLaren: I am shaking my head sadly.

    Well, if it’s any consolation, I’ve been wearing blunnies (with gel insoles) almost exclusively—outside of those times when I can get away with sandals—for most of the last decade.

    AND, I always smile when they are name-checked in that Waifs song.

  23. Richard on #

    I fully support Cuban heels and other boot type heels that are meant to be that way.

  24. Alannah on #

    well if you ever decide to sell the shoe clips you got from your mom…please let me know

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