When I was a kid, it didn’t take much for my Mom to convince me that spending an afternoon shopping was a good idea. Truly, I’ve always loved to shop. It didn’t matter to me if we were going for a quick ten minute perusal of the hardware store, or if we were going to spend all day bouncing from shopping mall to outlet store—Mom said, “Let’s go shopping!” and I said, “I’m in!”
But the two words she could utter to really get my 7-year-old inner shopper excited?
Oh yeah. Especially if they were dress shoes.
Mom, actually, wasn’t usually too thrilled when I needed dress shoes for some special occasion. Not because she didn’t like to shop. But because I had a very specific test for whether a particular pair of shoes was going to work for me or not. And that often involved doubling our time at a store.
You see, it didn’t matter to me if the shoes were comfortable. It didn’t matter what color they were, or what style. It didn’t even matter to me if they had snaps, straps, or laces.
All I REALLY cared about was how they sounded when I walked on a hardwood floor.
Luckily, most of the shoe stores we frequented back in the late 80s came equipped with a handy-dandy little section of linoleum near the front door. Mom would strap me into my shiny new patent leather mary janes, and before she could complete the “where’s your toe?” test, I was beating feet up to the linoleum to check out the “clippy cloppy” factor of my new kicks.
Anything that made a sound other than “clippy cloppy” immediately got sent to the rejection pile, much to my mother’s chagrin.
I don’t think I’ve ever tried to explain what it is that I love so much about shoes that make that sound. I think, when I was a kid, it was because they made me feel grown up. Important. Like the kids in my class would hear me coming, just like Miss Green in her fancy black pumps.
There may have been some fascination with noisy shoes from the time I was 4, and strapped on my very first pair of tap shoes.
In truth, “clippy cloppy” shoes made me feel glamorous. Like a tiny version of Miss USA, except with even bigger hair, and a hot pink dress. Because hot pink was my favorite color from age 7 to 10. And we all remember how big hair was in the 80s.
Fast forward to my adult years, and the sound a shoe makes on hardwood rarely comes into play when choosing new shoes. In college, it was about fashion. Now, it’s about comfort (and some semblance of style.)
But a few days ago, I spotted a pair of boots that I knew just had to be mine. Sure, they had a slight heel–something I usually avoid at all costs–but everything about them….from the sleek design to the silver side buckle…made me dream of making them mine. Eagerly, I slid them onto my feet and admired them in the tiny little foot mirror. As I started walking around in the carpeted store, I had a flashback to the many times I tapped my way through the shoe stores in my childhood. Noticing a bit of hardwood near the entrance, I grabbed my purse and sneaked over, tapping my toe tentatively on the hard surface. And when the “clippy cloppy” sound reverberated back to my ears, I knew I’d found the perfect pair of boots for me.
Yes, I bought them. Yes, I giggle like a school girl every time I wear them.
What can I say? These boots have the capability of making me feel like a fashionable, slightly-fancy, grown-up version of the kid I used to be, in all their “clippy cloppy” glory. I say every girl needs a pair of shoes that can do that, am I right?
This post is dedicated to Mom, for all her patience and infinite wisdom when it came to shopping for shoes.