by Jess Burnquist
My clothes closet seems confused. Especially the shoe section. On the easy to access shelves, you'll find a pair of Converse, several wedge sandals, some flats and Crocs flip flops. On the mid-level to upper shelves, it's all heels — vintage clogs, delicious mini boots, and fancy-pants slingbacks. These shelves are collecting dust.
When getting ready for work, my routine usually ends like this: Try on heels with outfit. Admire and walk around in a mini circle. Notice how cute the heels look with said outfit. Hear on a loop some kind of judgmental fashion guru speaking the advice of a gazillion episodes of What Not to Wear, "If you're short, never wear flats." Notice how uncomfortable my feet are after completing a baby lap around my bedroom. Imagine feet at the end of a full day of teaching. Chuck shoes off nearly hitting dog, grab semi-boring pair of sandals or flats. Answer said fashion guru thinking I am alone in my room, "You try teaching in heels, you self-righteous cow." Explain to daughter that you were talking to an imaginary fashion host, not her, give up and hustle out the door.
Daily, I arrive to work and find myself admiring younger teachers' shoes. Then I find my people.
We gather in our tennis shoes and sensible style in the lounge and inevitably discuss our thyroids or the trouble with carbs before the bell rings. For whom does the bell of sensible style toll? It tolls for me, I suppose. But, does that mean that I have to wear orthopedic, old lady shoes? No! It does not. I am so excited to share with you this great find of a shoe company. ABEO footwear was originally conceived by Andrew Feshback in 2009 while on vacation in Turkey. His shoes didn't cut it on that amazing excursion — so much so that he identified why and how to fix it putting his 25 years of CEO experience in the industry to great use.
In 2010, ABEO shoes was launched as was Feshback's conception of B.I.O. technology. Y'all, this means that the healthy, orthopedic shoes we actually really need in order to protect our knees and hips, etc. are built in to the shoe! Comfort and style can coexist in a variety of looks for work and play and competition that are actually stylish for both men and women. This technology is geared to the type of arch (or lack of it) in your feet. I know it works because I have been sporting my first pair of ABEO sandals (Blythe in silver) for a week now sent to me by ABEO via The Walking Company, and I don't really want to wear anything else.
My teenage students have given me a thumbs-up on this pair's appearance as have my own teenage children. I gave a very scientific survey to them by asking, "Do these shoes look like old-lady shoes?" The resounding answer was, "No." Several high-style students even told me that they would wear them and these kids' grades were already high, so I don't think they were joshin'. Certainly, I do a much better job teaching the youth of America when I'm not wincing with every step. Increased mobility in my case means increased and engaging delivery. See?
For my fellow teachers, or doctors, nurses, mothers and fathers, any of you folks who spend a ton of time on your feet each day, I want you to know that my feet feel great. The only barking dogs in this house is the actual dog who would like to go for a walk right now, actually. Guess which shoes I'll wear? (So smart — like my students!) Go check out ABEO as soon as possible. I suppose I'll make room for more pairs of these comfort-meets-style on the higher shelves of my closet once I get back from walking the dog. If only Skipper could be trained to dust.
Jess Burnquist teaches high school English and Creative Writing in Arizona. Because she has a teenage son and daughter, she is literally surrounded by adolescents 24/7. Sit with that for a minute. Her writings and teaching blog can be found at www.jessburnquist.com.