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Ode to Clogs
Arthritis has made it so I can no longer wear the wooden-soled shoes I've long been obsessed with. What favorite things have you had to part with due to aging? An open thread...
Recently I did something hard: I gave a close friend a brand new pair of wooden clogs I bought for myself last year, but have never worn. They were shiny pink patent leather with red trim, and I’d ordered them, against my better judgement, because they were on deep discount, and also because I just looooooved them.
I loved them so much, I bought them knowing I shouldn’t, because they’d be painful to wear. Some time during the pandemic I’d come to the realization that wooden clogs were no longer practical for me, a person in her mid-50s increasingly suffering from arthritis.
Wooden. Unbending. With no back to hold them on your feet as you shuffle along? (Not to mention: noisy. Although, I’ve always like that shwoop-clomp sound they make.) I mean, other than stilettos, could there be a more impractical shoe for a person with chronically achy joints? Some brands, like Sven, Softclox, and Magnafied (h/t Girls of a Certain Age), offer bendable clogs. But those solve only one of the three problems mentioned above.
So, my wooden clog days are over. Now I want to know what favorite shoes, articles of clothing, or other cherished items you’ve had to part with as you’ve gotten older.
My clog obsession goes way back to junior high. I got my first pair in 1977, at the start of seventh grade. They were hard won, since my mom was very much not on board with the purchase. She thought clogs were impractical, and worse, dangerous. She worried her klutzy daughter might twist an ankle in them (something I’ve now done more times than I can count…uh, not only in clogs).
But I had to have them. All the cool girls did. Somehow I persuaded my mom to buy me a tan leather pair with a braid at the top made by Olaf’s Daughters. I absolutely treasured those. And they sparked an obsession.
Later I began collecting clogs—new, used, plain, painted, without backs, with backs, in boot form—and after many years wound up with more than 20 pairs.
During shelter-in-place, when I rarely left the house, I became uncomfortably aware of just how many pairs I owned. Later, when I started venturing out in clogs again, my joints protested—especially my right hip, seriously injured when I was hit by a hulking SUV on the corner of Spring and Thompson Streets in Manhattan in the spring of 2008.
Now I’m dispersing my clogs among friends with less creaky joints. It makes me sad, but I realize there are worse consequences of aging—more serious losses than having to say goodbye to a favorite style of shoe.
In the comments, I want to hear about the favorite things aging has led you to part with…
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