The Shoe Diaries

Most shoes I have met want to come home with me. It is not because I am cheap and easy. On the contrary, I have set standards. Like purchasing a diamond, I too have my four Cs to consider when buying a shoe: comfort, cost, color, and cuteness. It helps that I have small to average size pedicured and polished pretty feet and only an occasional odor issue. At last inventory count, I have amassed approximately 205 pairs of shoes. The count is only an estimate because I am sure there is a stray pair in the back of my Jeep or the borrowed boots that my well-intentioned friend meant to return. Either way, that is a statistic that even I shudder at considering my feet-to-shoe ratio.

Although I am selective in both the people I meet down to the shoes on my feet, I must say I have not met many shoes I did not like. As in my footwear finds, I choose to approach life with an open mind and do not discriminate by color, country of origin, or sexual orientation.

Actually, there once was a cheeky Brit who badgered me from the sales rack “Hey love. What’s a nice girl like you paying full price?” Regardless, my sandals, sneakers, pumps, and Pradas have witnessed and walked me through countless dates, jobs, beaches, and bars, each pair with a story to share regarding their point of purchase or promise to support me in the future.

The Italian

I first met you at the age of 31. At the time, I had a good job with General Electric and felt worthy of your acquaintance. You were with another woman and dressed in black; however, I could not take my eyes off you. I knew we could spend much more time together if you were in a rich chocolate brown. The color would highlight your sturdy gold accent that shined when the store lights hit it just right, almost as if you were smiling at me. Most of my friends would scoff and say, “He’s not your type.”  But I appreciated your classic comfort and took you home with me that first night. In our first public appearance, a co-worker noticed you and said, “Love the loafers”. I acknowledged her envy with a simple “Grazie amica!”

The Frenchman

While strolling the stone-cobbled streets of Antony, a quaint town outside of Paris, you caught my eye as you stood in the store window. Ooh, lah lah.  Strong, sturdy with a bit of French funk.  Although your name was unfamiliar to this American fashionista, I decided to introduce myself. Initially, I touched your buttons and we flirted just a bit. Slowly you worked your way down and embraced my ankle with such tenderness it tingled. Immediately I began to wonder “would you get along with the others back home?” but then concluded that most of my friends would want to go out with you as well. It came as no surprise that the Frenchman flew back to the States with me. Just as I predicted, he has dated several of my friends, however, it was our unexpected relationship that commenced in the City of Love.

The Mountain Man

Your name had been mentioned to me on numerous occasions.  In my opinion, you were plain, kind of thick and clunky, and quite honestly, a bit dull for my usual taste.  The moss green nylon laces which held you together only compounded your simplistic lack of style. However, you were about function, not fashion.  My need for you was obvious, but it became purely a matter of convincing “the want in my wallet.”  As a testament to our travels, we have renewed our vows every few months with a new Mountain Man brought into my life and onto my feet. We hike the hills in life together with plans to travel many more.

The Glitter Guy

Every girl needs a guy with glam and glitter in her life. The kind of man who is not ashamed to borrow your best balm or air kiss your cheeks in the middle of Saks. As we stroll through the cosmetics department, the lunching ladies are quick to admire your elegance and effervescence. We shine as a couple. Your two-toned black and silver sparkles add a lift to my life whenever I am feeling down. Looking forward to our next adventure when I disturb you from your stored slumber and we once again share a dance or a bit of drama.

Dear shoe diary, at day’s end, regardless of the shoe selection, no matter where I roam, as I click my heels together, in the words of Dorothy, “There’s no place like home.”


Laura Gray
Laura Gray
Laura is the Founder/Executive Director of IPride, a self-esteem, empowerment program for youth which she created in 2015. A published author, living kidney donor, and a fervent advocate for sexual assault victims, Laura is a proud mother of 3 sons and 3 dogs. She strives to live each day with a grateful heart and feels especially connected to herself and God when she is in nature. For additional information on IPride, please visit Educations and Certifications; Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Bowling Green State University; Professional Life Coach, IPride Life Coaching, World Coach Institute, Miami FL; Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness Teaching, Breathe for Change, San Francisco, CA.; The Science of Well-Being, Yale University; Personal Trainer, Athletics, and Fitness Association of America. Highlights; Living kidney donor, 2021; Featured author, “Mayhem to Miracles”, Sacred Stories publication, October 2021. IPride YouTube Channel, IPride in 5: Peace In, Peace Out; Presenter, Youth Leadership Summit, 2018, 2020; Panelist, “Sexual Assault: The Conversation Continues”, Bowling Green State University, 2020; Featured Story, “Seen + Heard: A series of photographs of men and women ending their silence with regards to sexual assault”, 2017. Published, “The Little Cloth Secret Keeper”, Women for One: Truthtellers 2017 Published, 3 poems, Luna Negra, Kent State University, 2012.

DO YOU HAVE THE "WRITE" STUFF? If you’re ready to share your wisdom of experience, we’re ready to share it with our massive global audience – by giving you the opportunity to become a published Contributor on our award-winning Site with (your own byline). And who knows? – it may be your first step in discovering your “hidden Hemmingway”. LEARN MORE HERE


  1. Hi Laura,

    I wrote a lengthy comment only to be erased because I was not logged in. Thus, I need to be brief! Like you, I adore shoes, high heels are my favorite and wear sneakers and clogs only for comfort and protection. As I have gotten older, my stilettos and high heels are worn for sitting only. My clients used to wonder how I walked in skinny stilettos or towering platforms. One gave me a gorgeous book on the history of shoes. All of my friends recognize my love for beautiful shoes. I receive cards with shoes on the cover. They receive the same and know it is my nonprofessional signature. As someone slightly less than 4’11”, people are shocked how small I am sans shoes. The preoccupation started back in high school, and I never deviated.

    Thank you for your enchanting spin on your love for shoes. You creativity shines through like a sparkling stiletto designed uniquely for you. Maybe, Christian Louboutin?

    • Hi Darlene. I appreciate the effort in making a “second” comment on this piece. I had to chuckle at the picture selected as these gorgeous red heels are probably the only pair of shoes I’ve never owned!:) Shoes are always easy to buy…they always fit! Not like jeans or a bathing suit! For awhile I was “collecting” jackets and handbags for the same reason.

      Thanks again for taking the time, a second time, to share your thoughts.