Sandal Shopping and Raising Strong Daughters

April 16, 2012 at 2:37 am (Kids) (, , , )

The unseasonably warm weather continues here in the Upper Midwest. Or maybe it’s now seasonal, I don’t know. One Easter not too long ago we actually had so much snow we made snowbunnies instead of snowmen and this year the week after Easter we’re strolling to church in sundresses and last year’s sandals. (Yeah, yeah, I know Easter moves around, but I’m pretty sure Easter was around the same date this year as it was the Spring of the Snowbunny. Anyway, I’m not writing about global warming, I’m writing about feminism. Stop distracting me.)

After mass we walked over to our local shoe store to replace the shredded, too-small sandals pinching the feet of our three children. Our youngest found sandals, our son found sandals, even Sam found sandals, but our tween, alas, did not. There were a couple of outré pairs that she tried on, but she made the shocking discovery that the gladiator sandals were uncomfortable…all those straps! And the other pair had buckles and zips and all sorts of bells and whistles that would make them pretty inconvenient for running around outside all summer long, flipping them off at the beach for wading, flipping them on again for the sandy walk home.

Disappointed that everyone else had found something, Riley talked me into walking over to the mall to see what we could find there, but it was the same story. Flip-flops, which I won’t buy for her, despite living in them myself, (“Do as I say, not as I do! It’s too late for my hopeless feet, cherish yours!”) sandals with heels, nothing that was cute and comfortable at the same time. Nothing that you could play an impromptu game of baseball in. Nothing you could wear both to church and to the park. Nothing any good for a normal, active nine year old girl who has become ever-so-slightly picky about what she wears.

“Why can’t we find anything?” my insatiable questioner asked, following that up with “Why are there plenty of sandals that you can run around in for boys, but not for girls?” leading her to the inevitable answer, “Well, I guess it’s more important for boys to be able to run around than girls.”

I may or may not have stopped my daughter dead in her tracks for a lecture right there in the middle of the mall.

“Hold it right there,” I said in my best scolding mom voice. “Why on earth would it be more important for boys to be able to run and jump and play than girls?”


“Listen,” I continued. “I am sorry to tell you that there are some people who think, STILL! that the most important thing about women is how they look. More important than how strong they are, how smart they are or what kind of person they are on the inside. You may find it hard to believe, but that is the kind of thinking that leads people to make shoes that are cute but uncomfortable. We do not accept that. We know that while it is important to present yourself well, it is much more important that you should be as smart as you can be, as strong as you can be, and as good a person as you can be. Therefore, we reject these dumb shoes that you can’t run and jump in, and will keep looking for sandals that are both cute and comfy.”

I wish I could tell you that right at the culmination of my speech, as the music was reaching its zenith, the clouds parted, the sun shone down and the Lord’s voice spoke, “these are my beloved sandals with which I am well-pleased. Buy them!” and we walked home poorer but happier, but that didn’t happen. We couldn’t find a single solitary ever-loving thing. So Riley wore her ratty old sandals to play in all afternoon, and I found a couple of good options on Zappos. We’ll give them the baseball test when they arrive later this week.



  1. Lori said,

    I shop at REI for summer sandals so that the girls have cute AND can run and play softball and have it all. xo

  2. jedelauche said,

    You tell ’em! I’m all for cute & comfy sandals for females. It does take a bit of looking, tho’. Sigh . . . Plus, often one must pay full price for ’em. Double sigh . . .

  3. Em said,

    Yeah, I actually just bought El some boys’ sandals. She had some cute ones that she now won’t wear because she can’t run in them. She said she wanted “Cars” shoes, and they only make those for boys anyway, so until she gets pickier, she can wear cute outfits and boys’ shoes sometimes 🙂

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