The 9 Types of Shoes I Can’t Walk In

I never got over my pointe shoes. Not like emotionally, although sort of that too, but I was never good enough at ballet to get ‘over the box.’ For people who didn’t spend their youth in a leotard, if you dance in pointe shoes (the kind you probably visualize when you think of ballerinas) you’re supposed to get the top of your foot in front of your toes so your foot makes a C, which is called getting over the box; my flat feet could only ever make a straight line.

Add that to the fact that I literally gave myself bursitis of the hip as a teenager (a condition normally spotted when you’re 60, not 16) and it was pretty obvious I wasn’t made to be a ballerina. I was also the reason the studio added a ‘no smoking’ sign out front. Bad, bad little Julia.

Ballet was my first introduction to shoes I could not walk in worth a shit. Around the same time was the Steve Madden Slinky Shoes incident, in which I accidentally threw myself down a flight of stairs because I slipped right through the front of an oversized pair my mom had found at a garage sale. And then there was that time I wore pumps to a school dance and took them off when my feet started to bleed, only to have my date smash my foot and presumably break one of my toes that was a disgusting swollen mess for literally weeks. (Thanks, Brandon.)

You see where I’m going with this.

Graceful isn’t a word people typically use to describe me. Loud comes up a lot. Graceful, not so much. In an attempt to fix this (or at least keep ‘clumsy’ out of the Top 5 Julia adjectives) here are the types of shoes I typically avoid.


I like pumps. I own pumps. I sometimes wear pumps… But I hold my breath with every step. I cannot be the only person who ALWAYS walks out of pumps. If there’s no strap, there’s no staying on my foot. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG GUYS?


Flatforms make me feel like a Barbie doll shoved into Little Sister Stacy’s shoes – Where is the heel?! I don’t have great arches or anything, but the feeling of being off the ground without a tilt is just too weird. It makes me all stomp-y and generally disorganized. Not cute.


Why does this exist? Can someone send me a version of this that isn’t terrible? I don’t technically know I can’t walk in these because I have never felt compelled to try a pair on, but I’m fairly certain I’d get all baby deer-like with one toe strapped down. Also, is there a real name for this style? I’d like to know so I can mock it more.

Heel-Less Heels

I’d venture to guess you also can’t walk in these. Sure, I haven’t tested this theory on myself, but I also haven’t seen if touching my stove hurts. Some things you just know. You’re welcome to try both and report back, but they’re both dumb ideas and I don’t recommend either.


Remember those mesh slippers that were mega popular in the early 2000s? I vaguely recall Lizzie McGuire sporting them but I can’t be sure. Some of the popular girls at my school had them, but I believe I couldn’t because the only place to get them in town was painfully overpriced – that was, until, I visited a bigger city where I got them in a Chinatown shop for a few bucks. They were ice blue, and I was beyond stoked to bring them home for *~*dressy occasions*~*… And then I quickly realized I was unable to walk in them. My heel never lands on the sole and I end up touching the floor too often. Maybe if you hang out in classy establishments this isn’t awful, but I go to punk venues and dive bars and other places that are building up sticky floor residues like it’s going outta style. Places so gross I once saw a girl empty her purse into her pockets and leave the bag because it fell onto the floor. I’m not reevaluating where I go so I’m reevaluating my footwear. Logic.

This walking issue only made worse in heeled mules, which I would honestly love to wear but can’t because when you miss the sole you nearly break your ankle. I know this because I had a pair in middle school, and while wearing them I got separated from my family in an XXL circular shopping center (#precellphoneprobs) and I walked the 0.78-mile mall four times trying to find them. Never again. NEVER.


It isn’t the straps that screw me up with a Birkenstock, it’s that little lip on the back. Much like the mule and the pump, I walk out of the shoe often; but since it’s a Birkenstock, I land on this hard lip which is like stepping on a Lego every 20 seconds. How aren’t more people angry about this?

I would like it on the record that even if I could walk in them, I wouldn’t. I am team ‘Birkenstocks are ugly af’ and even the prettiest versions are only barely acceptable. Strong no thank you.


“But didn’t you just talk about mules?” They are not the same, I just found out. I have a similar ‘stepping in the wrong area’ issue with slides, and my traumatic Steve Madden Slinky falling down the stairs memory, so it’s a pass. Sometimes wish I could, almost always can’t.

Super-Tall Anything

I really like being shorter than my husband, so part of me believes the universe paired me with a man of his height on purpose because it limits me to a reasonable heel height. If it weren’t for that, I’d venture out into the land of skyscraper booties and probably die. Like honestly, dead. I have fallen down the stairs hard (repeat for emphasis: HARD) in flats twice in the last year. I can’t be trusted with this responsibility.

Also, if you’re curious, falling down the stairs hurts like a bitch. I was probably a teenager the last time I really fell hard before these two stair disasters, and I was beat up for literally weeks. BE CAREFUL, YOUR BODY IS OLDER THAN YOUR SOUL FEELS.


Even with the strap, I find these damn near impossible to walk in. It is too skinny. I feel off balanced. Wearing them makes me realize I am more… uh… front- and top-heavy, and I wobble around with as much grace as a Weeble. I get caught in things. I ruin them instantly. The only options I have had success with are larger at the bottom or wood, which can at least take a beating when I inevitably catch it in a grate. Wouldn’t it be easier to just… not?

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