I have a strange relationship with shoes. On the one hand, I loathe shopping for them. I claim I was ruined forever by my mother and sister: when I was small, they would spend approximately one epoch trying on every single pair of shoes in every shoe store we came across, some more than once. Oh, it was torture to stand around and wait while they walked back and forth, turned to look at their feet from every angle in the mirrors, took a few steps while concentrating on deciding whether the shoes were comfortable. When you are six or eight, you can only take so much of this kind of thing. Sometimes I would wander off in search of more interesting shops, but my mother was usually paying enough attention to order me to stay with her. It was the most boring thing in the universe.
(I know I am very lucky, that these are the sorts of things I consider my childhood traumas.)
So, yeah, shoe shopping is pretty much torture. The shoes themselves, on the other hand... that's a different story.
I don't think I quite have the shoe fetish that is often attributed to women. (The anti-shopping stance may explain that to some extent.) I don't own that many pairs of shoes, and I only wear a couple of those regularly. This is especially true since I managed to mess up my feet last summer, the first week I was here: hours and hours of walking around the city in shoes that were absolutely fine for any walking needs back home, but proved to be just the tiniest bit too small--well. To say the results were not pretty is an understatement. It's incredible how much damage I managed to inflict in the space of just a couple of days. Even now, months later, the only shoes I can wear to school--which involves about an hour of walking, total--are running shoes or a pair of hiking shoes I bought a couple of months ago in desperation. On rainy days I sometimes wear my Docs, but the sole is just thin and rigid enough that my foot (it's really my left foot that causes me trouble) is aching a bit by the time I get home. On a couple of occasions I've worn some of my other favorite shoes, shoes that have always been perfectly comfortable and suited to any occasion in the past, but I've always regretted it afterward.
It's very distressing, to be unable to wear my pretty shoes. More distressing than I would have thought. Clearly, then, the shoe love is there, it's just not obsessive about buying. And now I can't even indulge myself occasionally anymore.
Which makes reading The Manolo even more painful. I suppose it could be worse, since I wouldn't be able to afford the shoes he links to even if my feet were still fully functional. But oh, the suffering! Oh, how very super fantastic I could be, if only I had a pair of these! Despite not being what you'd call "artsy-fartsy" or a "bang-wearing Betty Page type of the girl," I'd wear either of these Fluevogs in a heartbeat. And how could I resist these Stuart Weitzman boots? Not to mention the fabulous Prada car shoes, possibly in a variety of colors. (The fact that I have no car is irrelevant, of course.)
I do not think $300 is too much for a pair of shoes that one can wear a) often and for many years (so, not too outrageously trendy) and b) comfortably and without doing any damage to your feet. Trust me, I have learned my lesson--not that I was wearing cheap shoes, by any means, but I was not careful enough when buying them. My feet are disproportionately large in relation to my height, anyway, but in Italy it is both difficult and embarrassing to ask for size 40 shoes. A lot of the cuter ones don't even come in that size. And a 39 feels perfectly comfortable when walking around the store, or even a few blocks, so I didn't even know I had a problem.
As in so many things, my taste in shoes exceeds my budget. As in all those other cases, I'd rather have one super fantastic pair of shoes than a closet full of shoddy ones. But for now, at least, unless I can find a super fantastic pair of thick-soled walking shoes, all I can do is admire from afar. My bank balance is happier that way. Me, not so much.