Satisfying my flip-flop fever

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I have a problem I face every year at this time. Typically it comes earlier, but with each passing year and the later snowfalls, my issue is put off until it's completely necessary to address.

My problem: I thoroughly dislike shoes. I don't hate them, but here is the deal. Summer seems to go so fast because of the long winters that I don't have enough time in flip-flops. Ridiculous I know, but it is something I am trying to overcome.

I used to really enjoy winters and the chill in the air, but I have truly come to appreciate the brilliance of the sun. I can't pinpoint the exact point where I crossed over to a summer person, but it has been fairly recent. There use to be a time when I adored the moment I was putting on socks to keep my feet warm. Now I almost dread having to confine myself to layers upon layers of cotton and assorted fabrics. And to top it all off, I have to lace up and tie myself into the final constrictions of shoes.

No doubt flip-flops belong to summer and are fashion faux pas in some instances, but I cling to them out of sheer comfort. I refuse to ditch mine until I absolutely have to.

I have even found that I can get away with wearing them longer. The key is to stay on top of the snow. Tread lightly and be conscious of lifting your feet a little more, because one good drag through the snow completely ruins the trip. Even when you get inside somewhere that's warm, you are faced with wet flip-flops that are going to squeak and simply be uncomfortable to wear.

I officially had to change footwear when the ground became like a 3-layered cake. The analogy: layer of ice = frosting, layer of snow = cake. There was no way I could survive all of that in a pair of flip-flops. That one good fall makes purposely sliding around on the ice a bad decision.

My first solution at getting out of flip-flops was choosing the route of slippers. My $3 pair from Wal-Mart were slip-ons and kept my feet warm. They worked...until all the stuff I kicked up as I walked went right into my slipper and I found myself with the same problem as the flip-flops. Also they made me continue to look like the bum of an art student I am, so I probably should have found something that made me look a little classier. I still refused tennis shoes.

The solution arrived at my doorstep when one of my suite mates returned from Thanksgiving break. He had been shopping with a friend who is a Payless Shoes fanatic and she had pointed him towards his new pair. The look caught me, but on further inspection I found they were slip ons.

This was it. This is a style that's in AND it promotes some string-less freedom. I would be killing two birds with one stone if I went and bought a pair. As the story goes, I did. I stopped at Payless and found what I was looking for. I instantly found a pair I liked, and with the magic of BOGO (Buy One Get One), I also picked up another pair for $4. I felt like such a winner.

They took a little breaking in, but they were the absolute perfect solution for my progression into shoes for the winter. The best part is I don't have to wear socks with them, which also leads to a lot of exclamations and questions about my feet being cold when I bring the sock-less but shoed foot up onto a knee.

Also they have felt on the bottom, which ironically makes me slide more when its purpose is to give traction. Since I'm more secured into the shoe, as compared to flip-flops, I haven't fallen yet while sliding around!

I'm not sure why I was so dead set on prolonging the inevitable this year, but it was definitely a treck. Maybe I didn't meet my flip-flop wearing quota this summer (do those even exist?). Either way, I think shoes are the reason I get cabin fever and why I get so antsy for winter to wrap up. Hopefully my good find will help with that this year

* Tyler Kirkholm, a senior student at Buena Vista University from Storm Lake, is a new member of the Pilot-Tribune news staff.