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Tips and toes...

(Trigger warning:  though this entry is generally light-hearted, I do talk about my attempted suicide as a teenager.)

I think we've established by now that I am an utter shoe slut, and proud of it.  I loves me my shoes.  I bought a couple of pairs recently that are absolutely darling:

July 13 2012 024
These ones are BCBGeneration, and were the only pair they had left in the Marshall's where I found them (and only cost $20!).  They were a size 7, but I've learned to always try things on, because the stated size and how they fit is not always the same thing (this is how I got my amazing black lace-up boots, which claimed they were an 8.5, and had stayed on the clearance rack because no-one could get them on).  Lucky for me, they were perfect.  Also lucky for me, they were still there, since not so many people wear a size 7.

The second pair made me feel like a 1940s party girl on her way to listen to the Andrews Sisters as soon as I put them on:

July 13 2012 027
Bob, bless his heart, even though I was trying to be good, and only look for flats, pointed out that I would regret not buying them, and he was fine with it, especially if I posed for him while wearing them.  *ahem* 

And they're Nine West, which means they're comfortable.  (For me, at least.  I make no claims on behalf of other people.)  Of course, in both cases, I was really was looking for a pair of flats for summer, since the pair I bought five years ago are starting to wear out.  I did find a practical, cute-enough pair, but they're nothing to write home about, unlike the two pairs of beauties above.

You'll notice, though, that both of them have open heels.  Most of the time, even in summer, I prefer to wear peep-toe closed heel shoes/sandals, because my heels are not in the best shape.  The summer I was 16, I ended up in hospital after an, um, somewhat unplanned and spur-of-the-moment ingestion of 167 Tylenol gel caps and 15 sleeping pills (KIDS, DO NOT DO THIS).  It turned out the sleeping pills weren't half as damaging as the Tylenol, which destroyed most of my liver and gave me seizures bad enough that they had to strap me down to the bed.  Lucky for me, I was unconscious through most of this (I only had 2 seizures after I regained consciousness).

Why the downer bit of history, you ask?  Well, it seems that while unconscious and seizing, I kicked my heels hard enough to create massive blood blisters on both heels, and they got infected.  I know I tried to show them to the adults around me, but no-one really took any notice (I may not have stressed the issue hard enough; I was a bit hazy all that summer, I don't know.  I'd rather believe my mother didn't realize the extent of the problem than think she didn't care).  Anyway, the entire summer, I wore flip-flops and changed my band-aid dressings whenever the blood soaked through, and just sort of went on with things.  Fortunately, they healed in time for winter, and I got away with just some really cracked, permanently calloused heels, and not something bad, like septicemia. 

My left heel eventually stopped cracking and peeling, but my right heel never has.  So, I tend to wear closed heel shoes when I dress up.  I also run around barefoot a lot at home, but no-one's looking at my heels. 

However, I found these glorious shoes, and we are going to a wedding at the end of this month (it's actually on Pennsic land-grab day, so we'll be arriving at Pennsic on Monday), and I really want to wear them, so I've been on a strict regimen of foot moisturizers and pedicure-type stuff for a month.  I do take care of my feet normally, don't get me wrong, but short of a protracted daily workout with a foot file, the right one will crack and peel, and I simply don't have the time or the inclination to spend an hour each day wearing pedicure gel socks and filing.  But, to do these glorious shoes justice, I am doing it now.

I know, I know, no-one's going to be looking at my heels, but anyone who has any kind of even slightly visible body "flaw" is self-conscious about it, and I'd rather not be trying to hide my heels, and instead enjoy the wedding, you know?

Over the years, I've tried every foot cream there is, and I can tell you, they're all about the same, even those "miracle" ones they advertise on TV.  Sure, while they're still fresh and new on your feet, your feet will look ok, but an hour later, those heels will be dry and cracked again.  And the "Foot-Tastic" stuff smells like elderberry flowers and ass (I think it's the neem oil.  And doesn't "neem" sound like the name of some weird Australian wombat-like creature?  I always envision someone squeezing it around the middle to get the "juice" out).  Choose a nice thick cream that smells good, and slather it on thick, then put a pair of socks on over it and go to sleep.  You'll get reasonably soft feet as long as you do it every other night or so.  At least, that's what I get.  Right now, I'm doing it every day, but I've got stubborn alligator-skin heels that look like Virginia clay soil during a drought.  Creams are creams.  There is no miracle cure.

It's the tools they have for pedicures that really scare me, though.  I did not realize (sheltered creature that I am) that people will use knives to cut off their callouses!  KNIVES!!!  Call me parochial, but I can't see that heels with big chunks out of them and maybe some bloody scabs where you got too enthusiastic with the cutting are prettier than some cracked skin (the reviews on Amazon for these things are full of stories like that).  And I suppose most of you remember the "Ped-Egg"?  I got a close look at one, and the immediate association in my head was that of those micro-planers you use for chocolate or very hard cheese, with the little catchment area for the grated stuff so it doesn't go all over the counter.  Kitchen tools do not belong on my feet!

(Also, considering the cost of the pedicure ones, it's cheaper to get a cheap kitchen implement.)

But again, it's something that slices into my feet.  I really can't get behind the idea, especially since the Amazon reviews for the various ones are also full of stories of people getting a bit too enthusiastic and stopping only when they hit bone, or something.  I want my feet to look nice, but I also want to be able to walk on them without pain.  My advice would be to stay away from those things.

I use a glass version of a pumice stone; it's basically a file, and takes off a very fine layer of skin when you rub it against your foot.  It actually works really well, and there's very little chance of slicing off too much foot, since it works slowly (don't get clever and decide to work your feet with a palm sander; bloody mayhem will ensue).  My foot, which usually looks like the "before" pictures in the "Foot-tastic" ad where they show diabetic feet with cracks that resemble the Grand Canyon, is now looking quite smooth.  However, I know from experience that if I stop moisturizing and filing my feet, they'll go right back to the "before" picture.  That's the ugly little secret they don't tell you; as long as you moisturize, you're fine, but you'll never have normal feet you don't have to think about ever again.

Kind of like they don't tell you that when you lose 70lbs, your skin will be loose and saggy, and that rockin' bikini bod they show in the ads will never be yours, short of major cosmetic surgery.  Some things are permanent.

I just count myself lucky that I managed to re-grow the liver I destroyed (remarkable organ, the liver), and got nothing worse than a cracked heel.  I'm still here to wear those beautiful shoes, and I will love every minute of it.


( 14 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Jul. 13th, 2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
That first pair of shoes is seriously dead sexy. They are so worth the extra self-grooming.

I miss sexy heels. These days I fall on my derrière if I even look like I am going to wear heels.
Jul. 13th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
That first pair of shoes is dead sexy. I can see why you're willing to put in the maintenance work so that your feet are worthy of such heels!
Jul. 13th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
Wow, that first pair of shoes is gorgeous! (The others are also fabulous, but that first pair...)

I can't wear heels, really, because of various foot ailments, but more power to you for being able to. :) (Possibly I should work on my feet, however.)
Jul. 13th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
You have fabulous taste in shoes. I think you should wear them no matter what!

I do have a ped egg and have used it with satisfactory results on my cracked heels. I actually think it is gentler than the pumice stone and somewhat more effective as I think it is easier to concentrate on specific areas in a controlled manner. I also find it less irritating than rubbing with the stone, but certainly YMMV :)

I try to stay barefoot as much as possible, and as a child walked often on cracked Mississippi oyster shells which left me with pretty tough and calloused soles.
Jul. 14th, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
I have a similar problem with my right foot. I had ankle surgery about a year and a half ago and being in the cast caused all these strange callouses and cracked areas. I am very vain about my feet so I have been working with files and moisturizers. It is better, but I feel like the area on the sides of my heel will never be the same again!

And I love the shoes. That second pair needs a pretty 1940s play suit or one of those pinup style bathing suits.
Jul. 14th, 2012 03:38 am (UTC)
That second pair needs a pretty 1940s play suit or one of those pinup style bathing suits.

Oh, YES. Absolutely this. Absolutely.
Jul. 14th, 2012 03:37 am (UTC)
OMG. First. pair.

Are to DIE FOR.

And I am right with you on the being ignored when injured as a kid. This explains why these days I have to practically have a compound fracture before I'll take it seriously.
Jul. 15th, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)
I don't know if you've tried either of these, but The Body Shop has a hemp cream that is really great for dry cracked skin (just don't use it if you are going to be getting a drug test, it can give a false positive)Or organic EMU OIL is great stuff. You can get it at Walmart. Super for your face (minimises lines), sunburn (cools it off and heals sun damage), excema and psoriisis(sp)and dry cracked skin on hands and feet.
Jul. 15th, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
Most any moisturizing cream will work well on cracks and calluses but it should not contain petroleum products. This includes methyl and propoly parabins, which are made from natural gas. These actually dry your skin by pulling water out.

My feet stay hidden in shoes, ballet will do that. I actually use the dremel tool (carefully!) on the tiny hooves my toenails have become. But I garden in sandy soil and if I don't moisturize and use that glass nail file my hands look horrible - the dirt engrains into the calluses.

I wonder if the weird calluses and my freaky thick toenails are scarring or actually some sort of permanent skin infection.
Jul. 16th, 2012 01:56 pm (UTC)
Luv the shoes, first pair in particular. I can see it topping off a couple of different ensembles.

And add another to the Cracked Heel Club. Why is one foot always worse than the other? I'm currently trying the Dr. Schol's 'for Her' extra moisturizing lotion at night (w/ socks, you are so right there!). I've had pretty good luck with those large files for the callouses (usually in the foot care section). Now if I would just remember to do all this on a regular basis, and not before the cracks become so deep and painful. Sigh.
Jul. 16th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
Your fashion sense ( as well as your common sense ) remain an inspiration to me. Heart the shoes!
Jul. 19th, 2012 02:58 pm (UTC)
OMG I adore those polka-dotty heels and am officially jealous.
Nine West, you say? I may have to explore...

My foot callous problem is my big toe. I think I walk on my big toes or something. I used to cut the callouses with scissors (stop cringing, sorry!) A few years ago, I got a pedicure and the pedicure lady let me keep the big plastic file she used on my feet. It's awesome, and the nice big handle makes it easy to grip. But of course, I can't buy a new one, since I don't know a brand name or anything. I'll just have to go get a pedicure from the same lady when this one wears out.

Aug. 3rd, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
This past winter was the first one in over ten years that I was not a member of the Cracked Heels Club---and I didn't do anything in an effort to prevent cracked heels. For more than a decade previously, I'd have heels so dry, and flaking and "sandy" with cracks so deep throughout the winter months I never have figured out how it was they weren't bleeding.

Something has to have been different through the winter of 2011-12, and I imagine the something is nutrition, but I also couldn't tell you with certainty that I added or eliminated any specific items to or from my diet. Same shoes (always a flat), same hosiery or socks...I'm baffled.
No, wait: I tell a lie, although I didn't mean to do so. I did eliminate tomatoes, potatoes, and everything else in that family (eggplant, bell peppers whether green or ripe), and vinegar of every description, and just about everything I can think of with vinegar in it (except mayonnaise, and just as soon as I find a local source for pasteurized eggs I'll just make my own mayo, fresh, instead of buying commercial.)
Other than that, I really am stymied.
Sep. 8th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
I have similar cracked heels, and a similar disinterest in taking a lot of time and effort to make them visually "appealing". I have, however, found one thing that is a great maintenance product. By combining moisturizing components and the sugar (grit and acid) in a form that can be used as an all-over body scrub in the shower, thus minimizing time spent on paying attention to the issue.


The woman who makes this is a friend of mine from Ashland, OR. She makes all of them by hand, and if you have a favorite scent, she'll make them custom for you. I prefer a combination of Lavendar, Vanilla, Tangerine and a hint of Chocolate. Yummm. I find that I go through about one of these a month, and it keeps my skin from developing clogged pores, moisturizes my dry feet and elbows, and is better for me all around than store bought soaps.
( 14 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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