Red Shoes R Us

Just before Christmas, the Milan shop windows were full shoes. Red shoes. These oxfords caught my eye. They wanted to dance, or at least attend a very chic New Year’s Eve party.


I love red shoes, but even as I type that, I realize I don’t currently have a pair in my closet. There is something wrong with that. I probably need to remedy the situation.

If you own a pair of red shoes, you own a story. There’s always one. You put them on and something unexpected happens. Or something unexpected comes out of your mouth. Red shoes give you courage. Their attitude travels from the bottom up.

I have had several pairs of red high-heeled pumps. They were very good friends of mine. And like good friends, they are not divulging any secrets. Around 1983 I saw a pair of red, vintage, satin heels I craved so badly, I couldn’t bear for anyone else to have them. I bought them. I wore an 8-1/2. They were 6’s.


My daughter went to see a new pediatrician in her favorite pair of red Mary Janes. The doctor, a woman, said, “Hello there. I love your shoes. Did you know, I only wear red shoes?” We both looked down at her feet which were clad in red loafers. She and my daughter have been great friends ever since. When she was three, my brother gave her a pair of red cowboy boots. She wore them with purpose. She did them proud. And she has never parted with them, even though she’s long since outgrown them.


I remember as if it were this morning, seeing a pair of red, pointy-toed velvet Moroccan slippers at an import store in Milan in Piazza Sant’Eustorgio. I wanted them. I didn’t buy them. I regret that. I just know that they would have unleashed unexplored sides of my personality, even if I never left the comfort of my home.


I believe that red shoes have accompanied us through more first steps, more first days of school, more power lunches and more successful dates than any other fashion accessory in history. They tend to get things started, even if it’s just our own sluggish motors. I know you have a red shoe story to tell. Will you share it?


[If you liked this post, you might also enjoy Memphis Stiletto Blues.]

This entry was posted in ITALY, WHAT WE WEAR and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Red Shoes R Us

  1. Edie Cohen says:

    I am a perfect size 6. Would have loved those red pumps!

  2. Gerlinde says:

    I love red shoes and I have several pairs, no high-heeled pumps. I never learned to walk in them. My favorite ones are a pair of dark red boots, they are super comfortable and warm if I wear my moms hand knitted socks in them.

  3. Debra Kolkka says:

    I have had several pairs of red shoes, but right now I don’t have a pair. I have several pairs of bright green shoes, my favourite colour. I will be back in Italy next month….I’m sure a pair of red ones will call out to me.

  4. dayphoto says:

    My mother is/was right there with you on the red shoes…baby doll high-heeled pumps! A memory I have of her, a see through red blouse and a fun polka-dot skirt! My Mom met life head-on. I sort of struggle. And Daddy always had a red tie!

    Great memories! Thank you, Charlotte!


  5. janette gross says:

    So, my red shoe story is this. When my son was in grammar school (he is now 27), I took him to London on a “Harry Potter” tour with two other friends of mine and their children. It was actually just a trip to London, but the hook to get our kids to go and our husbands to agree, was the Harry Potter angle. The tour coincided with the one of the huge celebrations they had for the Queen Mother. My friends and I left the kids in the hotel to watch it all on TV while we went shopping -because we mothers needed a break and so did the kids. The cabbie took us along the route of the parade. We got to see the Queen’s corgis. He dropped us off at Harrods where we saw these amazing black robed Arab women in the china department. All we could see was their eyes, their hands and their feet. The eyes were amazing. The jewels on their hands also. The fabric of their covering was so silky. Anyway, we left Harrods and stumbled on a little shoe store with items on sale! I purchased a pair of amazingly soft RED Bally loafers on sale of course. You can wear them with the backs up, or pushed down so that they are slip-ons. I still have them and I still wear them. And I still love them. And, I think of that time in London every time.

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