Trendy but somewhat painful shoes! - Advantages: Lots of stylesand colours, strengthenleg muscles!, Great for summer - easy to clean -apparently good for feet! - Disadvantages: Noisy!!Clomp Clomp, Battered+bruised ankles from wooden soles, Expensive(depending on style)
Clip-clop, Clip-clop, Clickety-clack-clack, Clickety-clack-clack. This is the sound that baby daughter and I make as we walk down the road. We do, really. The clip-clop bit is provided by my sandals, and the Clickety-clack by her articulated pull-along Caterpillar (Start-rites make little noise, and thus are dull). I know this noise, very well, since it's a noise I remember from way, way back in the early to mid-1970's, when I, too, followed my Mother, walking down the road. A pair of heels, some wooden clogs, the hem of a spotted midi dress (white, with navy and red spots, if you must know) and that 'clip-clop'. My little wooden trolley had no real noise, unless you count the occasional 'ouch', so I won't add that to the equation. And now I'm the mother, and I'm wearing the same darn shoes. Well, not quite the same ones, but exactly the same in styling, shape, and make, nonetheless. And I now know why she wore them all the time. They are very, very comfortable. Apparently, they were also considered to be quite stylish in the mid-1970's, and I'm not sure they have the same cachet now, but, even before I was a Mother I wore these, and that was when working in Covent Garden, and no-one threw me out for being completely without taste. That's the thing, you see, they're lovely. Imagine that you are working in a shop so tiny and so full of red, sweating tourists, that in the height of summer even the manageress wears a sarong and a bra. You can't sit down all day, and you're constantly running around like a lunatic. Imagine your feet. Worse. Imagine your feet if you wore trainers. I was fine. I wore my lovely wooden clogs. My feet never smelt, they stayed airly happy, and when I got home I could put on, if I liked, my nice glittery strappy stiletto numbers for a night out (I rarely did - ever seen someone out clubbing with big wooden clogs on? Probably me). So I want to tell y
ou all about this shoe, as it's seen me through some very interesting times, and, unlike the tube network, never let me down. And, I'd better point out that the pair I have now, are the same pair I wore in London, and that the pair I remember from my ankle's eye view of my Mother, are still extant (gardening only, unless winter, when she wears wellies). She did buy another pair in 1984, and uses those for 'other purposes', mainly by providing a guide so my baby daughter knows who to toddle after in shops. Oh, and this system is not infallible, as in the mid 1970's so many women wore these that many toddlers became confused, and toddled after the wrong Mother. So why are these so comfortable? I am meant to be writing about a product, after all. Well, they don't look comfortable, that's the first thing. They are; basically, a foot shaped piece of wood that has been moulded to support an instep, rather in the way of trainer insoles. They have a minuscule piece of rubber (say half a centimetre) tacked on to the bottom, and a piece of leather across the top. This is where these sandals differ from your standard clogs. The piece of leather (about 4 cm across) fits across your foot just beneath your toes. It is fastened by a large metal buckle, with sort of slide-in metal buttons, and you are meant to wear this strap quite loose. That's it. That's a Scholl standard sandal. I mention the strap being loose because the thing about these sandals is if you wear them in an incorrect way, they are extremely uncomfortable. For that read 'excruciatingly painful', and for the advice on how to wear them see my Mother, who either gave me the advice because she wanted to see me become a perfect pattern-card of what she was in 1974, or because she just wanted to rescue my feet. They do, I admit, take some getting used to. There's a principle behind them, you see, and those always take some getting us
ed to. In my search to supply some relevant information about this shoe, I've gone to many a website. Dr Scholl's do have a website (at http://www.drscholl.co.uk) but it deals largely with athlete's foot cure, and insoles for the curing of. This website supplies a link to an American company which gives you a picture of the sandal in question (see picture of slim lady in baggy pant with equally slim dog). Neither tells you anything about the sandal. I tried the Scholl Institute for Podiatric Medicine, but although this was both fascinating and hilarious, albeit unintentionally, I was still none the wiser as to how these sandals are meant to be good for your feet. In the end, I rang my Mother, who told me that the Shop Assistant in 1974 had told her that they are good for you because they exercise your feet, and they let your feet 'breathe'. Hmmm. Well, they do exercise your feet, as, because the strap is loose, you have to sort of hold onto it with your toes in order to attain motion. And, like I mentioned before, they are very hard work to start with. Once started, and mastered the art of moving in these shoes without falling off them, they are, I promise, extremely comfortable. They are also extremely sturdy. This brings me to the price thing. They retail at around £12-14.00, which is exceptionally good value, considering that one pair can last you a good ten years. There is a drawback to this, however, as they are very difficult to clean. The leather bit is ok, but being mainly wood, well, let's just say that whatever exudes from your feet gets into the wood. I've tried polishing mine, but it just makes them too slippy to wear. The wood just starts to look a bit manky, and there's nothing much you can do about it, short of sanding them, and I wouldn't recommend that. At least the manky-wood bits are hidden under your feet. If you're planning a seduction just don't take them off. Actually, if y
ou're planning a seduction, I wouldn't wear them in the first place, as they're nor really seductive shoes. They're more homely, really. And that takes me back to the nostalgic bit. I really can say that my first memory of my mother is that 'Clip-Clop'. It's as much a part of my childhood as Pacers, Chorlton and the Wheelies, and Etch-a-Sketch. It's safety in knowing what her ankles looked like, and that they'd make me some tea at the end of the day. But too much nostalgia can trip you up. I love the continuity in knowing I wear the same thing, but you can overdose on nostalgia. Who really wants to remember the feelings of age 6? It's easy to look back to those days and remember the comfortable things, but what about the feelings of frustration, of knowing that everything is decided for you, and of having no power over what you are doing, or who you are? Good and bad in equal measure, maybe. Childhood may be a lost continent, but there's more to come out of it than potatoes, surely. But there we go. A strange benefit to my nostalgia was a comfortable shoe. Oh, and we don't make the same noise any more, down the road, since I read SueEllen's opinion of tricycles. Now we go 'Clip-clop, Clip-clop, Brum-brun, Beep-Beep, Clickety-clack, Oops! And I've got a parent pole, too.