May 01 2007

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My 13- year-old dog Zippy has, of all things, twisted her stomach like a balloon animal! Emergency surgery ensues. Please discuss shoes while I’m gone.


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  1. Orange

    Oh, poor Zippy! My grandma had something like that and it hurt like a mofo. Hope Zippy’s surgery goes as well as my grandma’s did. Grandma was old (about 79) too when her stomach twisted, and she kept on keepin’ on for about 15 years after that.

    Shoes…um, I love Merrells. The Primo Chill Slides kept my feet comfy and warm all winter, and the arrival of May makes me sad because none of my warm-weather shoes are quite as comfy as those. Recently had to buy girly sandals for bridesmatron duty (IBTP) and was pleased to find the Söfft brand, which have a Merrell-like padding quality to them. Must return to neighborhood indie shoe store to buy some Naots, too–cuter than Birkenstocks and better suited to my particular feet.

  2. leen

    Zippy! No more balloon animals. I hope she feels better after being un-twisted. (Zippy Faster is a superb name for a dog.)

    Let’s discuss dog shoes. I have it on good authority (my aunt, who lives in Alaska and raises sled dogs) that her dogs prefer the type that are like little leather baggies tied around the feet. Personally, I am in a flip-flop mood, though the weather is not exactly cooperating here.

  3. MzNicky

    Damn. I was just wondering about Zippy yesterday! I started to write, “Hey, Twisty, where’s Zippy these days?” Hope they get his tummy, uh, straightened out. My dawg’s also 13 years old. He’s deaf, turning gray, and can’t climb up on the bed anymore. I’m afraid to take him to the vet.

    Oh, shoes: I love wearing sandals now that it’s warm weather again.

  4. Amaz0n

    Bloat? Oh no!

    I have a pair of bright purple Pumas, which are very practical yet decorative, in a bright purple kind of way. My great frustration, though, is finding shoes that I can wear at work, for the Pumas are not welcome in my ridiculous “business-casual” office environment. I currently wear icky fake-leather flats.

  5. Spinning Liz

    Aw, that used to happen to my Great Danes. It’s a problem with big barrelly dogs, and really scary. I’ve switched to micro-dogs these days, but they have their own gnarly issues. As for shoes, I’m going to wear my comfortable sage Keen clogs all day in honor of Zippy, unless it gets really hot and I kick them off.

  6. ArtsyReader

    Ella the Wonder Dog, age 9, recently had surgery to remove what was believed to be a tumour, but which turned out to be nothing more than a very large and ugly pimple, from her eye. Can I blame the patriarchy for vet bills?
    As for shoes, my only thought is this: Birkenstocks. (What do people have against them, anyway?)
    Hope Zippy’s recovery is fast and cone-free.

  7. Panic

    Get well soon, Zippy!

    Now that Crocs have become so popular, I’ve decided Birkenstocks aren’t so bad after all.

  8. lawbitch

    OMG, poor Zippy! I hope that she’s Zippy do da-ing aside the lake in no time.

    Now that it’s sandal season, I’m going to paint my toenails the most florescent, shocking shade of pink that I can find. My 5 YO son loves me to paint his toenails florescent green and yellow (alternating toenails in a pattern).

    I have shoes for my dogs. When we lived in Colorado, I needed to protect their paws. It’s important that they don’t get that salt in their paws.

  9. shirky

    just like Santa’s Little Helper! Who was fine, so yours will be too.

  10. Gender Blank

    Speaking of shoes, what’s with all the feminist fawning over the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes campaign? As if walking in heels teaches men anything about the experience of violence against women. Plus, it includes one of the central symbols of women’s oppression right out in front. Bah!

  11. Chris Clarke

    skritches to Zippy.

  12. CafeSiren

    Hope Zippy’s better soon. Zippy was featured in the photo accompanying the first IBTP post I ever read (“Requiem for a Ridiculous Coffee Machine”), so I have a sentimental attachment.

    Every year, when sandal season comes, my feet go through a painful, chafed-and-bloody period where the sandal straps rub against the top of my feet. These are are the same old plain, flat sandals I have had for the last several years, so they do not need to be “broken in.” I am thus forced to conclude that my feet are the things being broken in.

  13. Frumious B

    what’s with all the feminist fawning over the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes campaign?

    Twisty gave this sneering coverage last year, or the year before.

  14. TinaH

    I’ve been watching women walk in high heels, I mean really watching us walk in them. Good Lord, I can’t believe we buy these stupid things and then voluntarily wear them. To a woman, we all move like we’re just learning how to march in a band, very carefully picking our feet up and placing them down.

    They’re among the stupidest things ever invented.

    Forgive me, I’m having a lot of Ah HA moments lately.

  15. Joanna

    Oh, Twisty! I sure hope Zippy is well again soon.

    I paid a lot of money for some Born (add umlaut) sandals for walking miles on the concrete in Spain when it is 90- 100 degrees outside. They keep me blister-free.

  16. CLD

    Good thoughts for Zippy.

    I love Merrels as well — and Crocs. Any shoe I can slip on without having to tie or untie it is for me. I don’t do heels.

  17. jami

    (does ino[-

  18. Sylvanite

    Yikes! Stomach torsion! Good luck to Zippy, and a fast recovery.

    People are always amazed at what I’ve bought at DSW shoes. I don’t know why – I guess they haven’t been there. I’m not much of a shoe-horse, though. Sneakers for me, thanks.

  19. Bird

    Oh, poor Zippy! I hope all goes well and she makes her recovery in good time. The Twisty household seems to have far, far more than its fair share of doctors and medical crap lately.

    I bought my first pair of Merrell sandals this year, and I think I’m in love. They’re so comfy. I also adore my Columbia sport sandals—they have enough stability and tread to stand up to a good long hike in the river valley.

    I also just bought new running shoes (for distance running) that are exactly the same as the old ones I just wore out, and I couldn’t be happier. I have ridiculously skinny feet, so finding running shoes that don’t slip and hurt is hard, and I’m really, really grateful that New Balance is continuing to make my favorites in a AA width (and not in Indonesian sweatshops, even!).

  20. jami

    i was trying to think of something nice to say for zippy, but my kitten ran across my keyboard and beat me to it. i don’t speak kitten, but hopefully “(does ino[-)” is something nice.

    i grew up on welfare, so the stereotype that i, as a lady, love shopping (for shoes), makes me furious. i’ve had one pair of $10 winter shoes for seven years, and two pairs of $5 sandals for about five years. i can’t bear spending more than $20 on an item of clothing, or buying new things because they are “trendy.” i’m accruing quite the retirement fund.

  21. Babs

    Best wishes to you and Zippy now and through the recovery process.

  22. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I too add my get well soon Zippy message. She is a beauty. Deep-chested dogs seem especially prone to the twisted-stomach thing.

    I can’t wear flipflops because they give me a wicked toe wedgie. In the summer I wear Birkenstocks, something called athletic slides, and Chanel’s Vamp shade on my toenails because it is so passe.

  23. femhist

    Poor zippy! I wish her a safe and speedy recovery.

    I just bought a gorgeous pair of Naot (how do you pronounce that, anyway? NI-ote?) sandals from zappos, because I wanted extremely comfortable shoes that could dress up a little. But I’m sad, because I think my feet might be just a few millimeters too wide – just wide enough that they’re not totally inside the cushiony area, and spill over onto the leather seam at the edge of the shoes just enough to be uncomfortable. Dammit! At least there’s free return shipping.

  24. LMYC

    Wah. Poor puppy. Tummy-twist no fun.

    Supposedly, if you feed them smaller meals more frequently, it reduces the chances of a torsion.

    Poor guy — give him a kissy when he gets back.

    My favorite shoes are whatever allows me to walk and climb anywhere I want without worrying. But I feel like such an urban spaz in hiking boots. They’re like SUVs for your feet — supposedly for offroading, but everyone uses them in the city.

  25. vera

    I hope Zippy recovers quickly. I hate it when my sweet little Dachshund has backaches. Dogs are good and should never feel pain.

    I have little to say about shoes. I’d go to work barefoot if I could get away with it. Though I do like boots.

  26. Iena

    Best wishes for Zippy’s speedy recovery. And best wishes to you, Twisty. It can be so hard when an old friend is hurting like that.

    As for shoes, I couldn’t go more than a few days without my five-year-old Chuck Taylors. I intend to wear them in my upcoming graduation procession, much to the dismay of friends and family. (Can you believe someone actually suggested I wear the 3″ peep toe stilettos I have left over from my stint as a bridesmaid?)

  27. Mary Kay

    Oh no! Hugs to you and Zippy both. I hope she recovers quickly and completely.

    I just bought my first pair of Earth shoes — a pair of nice sandals with the straps across the foot in a variety of colors. I have a really hard time buying shoes as I wear an 8AA and am hoping I can adjust to this particular brand.

    Can’t wear Birkenstocks. They hurt like hell.


  28. B. Dagger Lee

    Dog worry, I’m so sorry, that sucks.

    I grew up in a hippie town and acquired kneejerk prejudices against Buddhism, vegetarian food, pickups, bandannas, crappy cars that don’t work, weed, Jeeps, skiing, being cold, dreamcatchers, and Birkenstocks.

    I have reversed myself on Buddhism, vegetarian food, pickups and bandannas, but I’m keeping my other prejudices: I would rather strap china plates to my feet than Birkenstocks.

    yrs, BDL

  29. schatze

    Bloat is very scary. You are lucky you caught it to even have the surgery. I understand they can sew the stomach to the walls to keep it from twisting again. I hope dear old Zippy comes through swimmingly. I know this is serious and I’m wishing her the best.

  30. Keez-R

    Best wishes to poor Zippy for speedy recovery.

    As for shoes, Birkenstock, Dankso, Ecco, Rockport. Discuss.

  31. Sylvanite

    I’ve never worn any of those.

  32. kathy a

    poor zippy! please give her a little ear-rub from a distant admirer.

    i am wearing my usual black dansko clogs, and contemplating the need for a decent pair of sandles. they have to be comfy, wide enough, sturdy, loyal, true, adjustable, and able to pass for respectable. also, they have to last forever because i hate shoe shopping. i got my last good pair of sandles in 2000, and the damned things wore out a couple years ago, by which time i could find nothing similarly wonderful. but i will consult the sources conveniently provided above.

    and speaking of sandles, i had occasion to view some hideous torture devices while waiting at the airport for my luggage. what is with spike-heeled thongs, anyway? why would anyone buy them, much less wear them to haul luggage at the airport? how come everyone who wears them also has a minimum of 3 toe rings and a professional pedicure? it it just a coincidence that their toes are curled up viciously, driving the manicured toenails into the bed of the sandle?

  33. Antelope

    My grampa also kept kicking for quite a while after the old stomach-twist, and they say vets are more highly trained than most types of docs. Best wishes to Zippy for a successful surgery & a speedy recovery though.

    I love Merrells, too – they are really big on copying other shoe co’s and going them one better. The Merrell version of the Ugg boot holds up far, far better to Alaskan conditions than actual Uggs do, and has better traction too. I also like Clarks and Josef Siebels for vaguely dressy flats and sandals that feel good.

    For easily overheated feet like mine, the best thing of all seems to be a ridiculously expensive Italian shoe company called Geox, that puts “pores” in the sole so your feet can breathe. Even in winter I find this more comfortable. If anybody can suggest a more affordable alternative to this company that does the same sort of thing, I’d be eternally grateful.

  34. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    My comment is stuck in moderation, but it’s just as well. Feel better soon, Zippy. Long may you run.

  35. Suzz

    I am a relatively new reader, posting for the first time, and would like to say that I am deeply indebted to my wonderful companion for directing me here (thanks, ’Tash). All young women should aspire Twisty’s level of Pat-Blaming (on an overly informative tangent, it is of note that “Pat,” as a nickname of either “Patrick” or “Patricia,” is also descended, via Gaelic via Latin, from our favorite Indo-European root, pater-, the progenitor of such lovelies as “Patriotism,” “Patronymic,” “Patronizing,” and, of course, “Patriarchy”).

    Best of luck to Zippy! I hope that the surgery’s a success and that recovery is as painless as possible. Twisty: my advice is to watch that Zippy does not swallow disgruntled clowns.

    (Re: Shoes) Inspired by Gender Blank’s comment, and directed towards anybody: While I understand the “big whoop” approach to Men Wearing High Heels (a.k.a. the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” campaign), is it not interesting that such shoes are a form of violence against women? They are debilitating, rather enfeebling, and painful. It takes too long for blisters to be replaced by defensive calluses, and long-term wearers who persist beyond that get to enjoy such podiatric pleasures as hammertoes, bunions, and foot-cramps, as well as resultant myriad back problems. While some women claim that wearing heels grants them power, particularly over men, that “power” is decidedly sexual – and in reality just another form of commodification or fetishization – in nature and its influences are superficial in the realms in which it may be applied (do people respect your professional abilities and human qualities to a greater extent because your sexy shoes make your legs look toned and your butt look taught?). I recall when, during my childhood, my mother explained to me Chinese foot-binding practices, much to my horror. In reality, though, they are not entirely far-off from the Western hoof-hating, daintifying incapacitation that teeters atop fashionable pillars of pain. And you know what? I’m sure the men wearing the heels for the anti-violence walks did not experience objectification from hordes of hooting, catcalling, dehumanizing females, but rather received from them admiring smiles for their considerable and heroic sacrifices of time and comfort.

    (The less blamey side of shoes) For those of you who don’t like Crocs because they either make you think of Mario Batali or you think they are horrendously ugly, no offenses intended, there is a new way to experience the super-light heat-sensitive mold-to-your-foot no-skid anti-microbial goodness that is Crocs’ (annoyingly) patented resin material. They make a nice “ballerina” flat shoe that manages to be less casual, for the less casual occasion, while still being comfortable and made out of that nice foamy rubbery stuff. Another big plus is that they contain no leather, which is a must for many wide-minded individuals. I myself refrain from animal products, on grounds that align deeply with feminism. It’s quite amazing how intertwined the subjugation of women and animals are. I’ll probably elaborate on this in a later comment, when it is more on-topic, and when I am not supposed to be writing a twenty-page paper.

  36. gennimcmahon

    Hugs and kisses to Zippy. Just spent nearly $500 clams on the 10 year old dog with bad hips, ear infections, allergies, high cholesterol and, ultimately, Hypothyroidism. She takes more medication that my kid with allergies, asthma and Tourette’s Syndrome.

    I love Bolo, the super expensive, hand made in Italy shoes (same company as Born) that look cute and are like walking on cushions of clouds. Naots are wonderful, but I have wide, Fred Flintstone feet that also push the parameters. I got my two pairs of Naots at a yard sale for $2 a pair, so that softens the blow. Otherwise, I have for the most part cast my allegiances now with the flat shoe. IBTP for my degenerating L4 and L5 vertebrae.

  37. Bird

    LMYC, I totally agree on the hiking boots, both for comfort and SUV-like qualities. My solution to feeling like a spaz in hiking boots was to buy a pair of trail shoes. Comfy with good treads and stability like a hiking boot, but cut low like runners and generally available in nice, neutral colours (unlike other athletic-type shoes, which come in the ugliest colour combos on earth). They’re my non-work shoe of choice when it’s not warm enough for sandals.

  38. Hawise

    Best to Zippy.

    I miss my $5 Chzech hightops.

  39. Kristina

    I am trying to type with my fingers crossed for Zippy. Best wishes!

    Yay! Shoes! I bought a pair of leather sandals from Fashion Bug years ago for $10, and it was with great sadness that I threw them away last week. I finally found a replacement- $65 sandals from the Naturalizer website. Ouch.

    IBTP on what now passes for “sandals” – minimum three inch heels or “wedges,” held in place with a small, excruciatingly tight leather strap around the toes. What the hell?

  40. BubbasNightmare

    B. Dagger Lee:
    “I would rather strap china plates to my feet than Birkenstocks.”

    The image thus conjured made me snort out loud at my customer’s site.

    And the best to Zippy for recovery and her to-be-resumed running.

  41. Patti

    Poor Zippy. Poor you.

    Shoes! I just found out that Fluevog is still (or again) making my Angel Wing boots, kinda like Doc Martens but they actually fit my feet. Nothing like being solidly grounded to make one’s aging self almost completely invisible! Yay!

  42. slythwolf

    I hope everything goes well. My thoughts are with both of you.

  43. nightgigjo

    Pets and Ear-Skritches to Zippy, and best wishes for a speedy recovery that takes. I don’t have a dog now, but our last one, Beau, got to be 15, nearly blind, almost deaf and horribly arthritic. Zippy’s quite old for a larger dog — Beau was a 7 lb. poodle when he was healthy — and hopefully also quite hale, with the exception of the balloon-animal stomach.
    CafeSiren sez:

    Every year, when sandal season comes, my feet go through a painful, chafed-and-bloody period where the sandal straps rub against the top of my feet. These are are the same old plain, flat sandals I have had for the last several years, so they do not need to be “broken in.” I am thus forced to conclude that my feet are the things being broken in.

    It’s so hard to find shoes that 1) look decent 2) work well 3) don’t fall apart fast 4) don’t hurt and 5) aren’t floofy. IBTP.

    Hence my investment in Birks. Comfy == good. So yeah, ArtsyReader, I don’t get anti-Birkenstock sentiment. I just bought my first pair, though, so I don’t have a lot of mileage in mine yet. I did, however, buy pair of leather sandals last spring (Clarks), and they bit the dust by fall. So, between $60 for something I’ll kill in less than a year, and $120 for some that might last more than two, I’ll take the investment, especially considering that I can have the Birks repaired when they do wear out.

    Unrelated Q: Are you the same CafeSiren who posts to Cup-O-Joel occasionally? If so, drop me a line. We know each other.

  44. Ann

    Good thoughts to Zippy. Bloat is nasty; I really hope she does great and heals up soon. Poor Zippy.

  45. Jezebella

    Ah, Zippy, eldest child, oft ignored in favor of cute puppitude. Good luck with the surgery.

    Crocs are an abomination, I do not care how comfortable they are. For more information, go visit the Manolo. He will help you understand that one can be comfortable in shoes that do not cause other people’s eyeballs to burst into flame.

    Dansko, New Balance, Birks, and Clarks: amen. I do not, however, wear my Birkenstocks in polite company or when more formal shoewear is called for, for fear of being labeled a hippie. I ain’t no stinky hippie.

    Anybody know which New Balance cross-trainers are right for a supinator with high arches, recovering from plantar fasciitis?

  46. Becky

    Whither Bert and his experiments with avant-guarde?

  47. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Vera, you’re so right. Dogs are good — you can see their quality of, I don’t know, clean-heartedness in their eyes. My sister’s miniature Dachshund is my favorite niece.

  48. dryxi

    Poor Zippy! Best of luck to you and I hope you have a better vet than I did when two of mine died of the problem!

  49. arlene

    Eek, that’s torsion, it happened to my basset Opus a few years ago and it’s terrible. But hopefully you’ve caught it in time and Zippy makes a full recovery. Opus did, and he has a wonderful scar to prove it. My sympathies.

  50. The Queen of Swords (nee Amaz0n)

    As an addendeum to my sadly enmoderated comment, I have bad knees and the wearing of non-athletic shoes leaves me nearly crippled by the end of the day. Of course, as a corperate drone, I am expected to put appearance over personal comfort. IBTP.

  51. Burrow

    It’s all about the Chaco’s. They offer great arch support and are the best pair of hiking sandals I’ve ever had. I live in those things all summer and don’t want to put them away in the winter. I wish they made shoes too. (sandals only)

  52. skyscraper

    Crocs are like wearing can coolies on your feet.

  53. kyle

    I hope the surgery goes well. Next time, get a dog with an untwistable stomach! (Simpson’s quote…anybody? no? okay.)

    In all sincerity, my dog is my best friend (which says more about my social life than I want it to) and having a good friend is surgery is very stressful, so I hope you’re doing okay.

    I hate flip flops. I can’t stand that shit in between my toes. Biggest turn off: impractical shoes. I’m thinking about investing in some Chacos this summer…thanks for the tip!

  54. kcb

    My best to Zippy and you, Twisty.

    While I understand the “big whoop” approach to Men Wearing High Heels (a.k.a. the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” campaign), is it not interesting that such shoes are a form of violence against women?

    Yes. I took the kids to a big, traveling exhibit on bones, including the ways bones can be broken, fixed or deformed. In the glass case showing ways people had come up with to deform human bones were three items: foot-binding slippers from the China of yore, an old cradleboard for infant head-shaping, and a really nice looking pair of brand-new high heels.

    Any shoes that can accommodate my orthotics are my favorite shoes — I’m partial to my Mizunos and Lands’ End kids’ shoes in that regard. I like White Mountain’s sandals and mules b/c they’re pretty cushy and roomy. But mostly I try to avoid shoes.

  55. Celeste

    I like Born shoes because they run wide and go up in the double digits. It’s tough having feet that are big & tall. I’ve been told that Keens are good for ergonomics but they don’t look any too wide. Pity.

  56. Pontiste

    My best wishes are with Zippy for a full and speedy recovery.

    Shoes: Troentorp/Bastad clogs all the way! A bit pricey (to me) but they last and last–no pun intended. They have a comfy wooden footbed which makes feet feel wonderfully non-stifled even in hot weather, with excellent arch support. They used to make a couple of sandal versions, but I’m not sure if they still do. (The product line was named after famous artists, and I think one of the sandals was the “Titian.”)

    Sigh. Maybe in future posts I will have something of a more elevated nature to contribute, but thus far it has not been the case (my last post being a variant of the old “pull my finger”).

  57. slythwolf

    The best pair of shoes I ever owned were in fact boots; they were black, and they were donated to me as a part of a school group going on a month-long trip to Australia in the summer of ’99. My mother (in hopes of being selected as a chaperone on the trip) worked her ass off to get us donations from different area businesses, one of which was a Wolverine factory (IIRC) which gave all 17 of us pairs of hiking boots.

    Everyone got different kinds; it was strange, it was just whatever they had in the sizes we needed. Another girl and I got these boots that they had apparently amassed a lot of extras in a women’s 8/men’s 6, because they are the official Navy SEAL training boots and apparently not a lot of SEALs have size 6 feet. I still wear them when I’m going somewhere or doing something that might be slippery, although they’re pretty torn up and destroyed-looking by now; I can walk across solid ice in these boots like I’m walking down the sidewalk. They don’t slip, they don’t pinch, it’s like boot heaven.

    I have had to replace the insoles a few times, of course.

    When I have some cash I’m going to get them fixed up at the shoe repair place so I can wear them more often.

  58. alphabitch

    Kiss Zippy on the head for me, if she likes that kind of thing. Hope she’s better soon.

    My Keen H2s are my favorites at the moment. Sort of a high-tech greek fisherman’s sandal style, but with great arch supports. Completely waterproof, etc. I have them in green, purple, and black (yes, I’m obsessed, but I got ’em cheap on eBay). Good for running, if you like that sort of thing. And they look great with all my summery linen dresses and pants. Merrell’s and Birkenstocks aren’t quite right for my feet somehow, and I agree with BDL re: the dinner plate vs. birkenstocks. Except for the pair I have with the sparkly rhinestone trim. I also have, for summer, a couple of nice pairs of Fluevogs and Doc Marten sandals (did I mention I love eBay) that are a little too klunky to run in, plus my toenails show and I haven’t had time yet to polish them so I haven’t worn ’em yet this year.

    “Toenail polish?” you might ask. “But Nora, I thought you were a patriarchy-blamer.” “Why yes, I am” I say to you. “but it so elegantly covers the unsightly evidence of toenail fungus.”

    And before youall start telling me about all these great new medications that will cure my toenail fungus, read the fine print. That stuff is hell on your liver, and my liver’s got plenty to do now that it’s martini season. Plus it’s expensive as hell and takes years to effect an actual cure. I keep it somewhat under control with tea tree extract, and polish the nails so I don’t have to look at it.

    I blame the patriarchy for toenail fungus. That and all those years in dance shoes and ice skates.

  59. alphabitch

    Oh, and ditto on the Chacos!!! Much more better than Tevas.

  60. Bird

    Jezebella, I’d try a good athletic store (not the crappy ones in the mall) for some proper shoe help. I got my running shoes fitted by the folks at a specialty running store (the Running Room), and the first time I went in as a newbie runner, the staff member spent at least 45 minutes with me to help find the right shoe (watching me run up and down the store, measuring and fitting shoes, etc.). The good shops will usually guarantee the fit, too, so if you take them home and try them around the house only to discover that they really hurt, the store will usually exchange them for a more suitable shoe.

  61. Suzz

    In the glass case showing ways people had come up with to deform human bones were three items: foot-binding slippers from the China of yore, an old cradleboard for infant head-shaping, and a really nice looking pair of brand-new high heels.

    And we should all be surprised that two of those methods are intended for women, and the other one for children!

    P.S. No shocker that the vogue of high heels for men (in snotty court shoes from the 1500s to the 1700s) died out hundreds of years ago.

  62. Becky

    Also, since my new years resolution is not to be quite so callous- I hope Zippy will be feeling better soon.

  63. Tricia

    Oh dear, poor Zippy. Sending good thoughts in his direction. Hope the surgery is fast, successful, and without complications. Best to you too.

  64. cycles

    Fond memories: Twisty’s post of yore about Walk A Mile In Her Shoes.

    Oh, look, they’re debasing themselves by donning the hobbling implements of the sex class in order to reveal the astonishing fact that men rape and abuse women. Golly, give them a plate of cookies, and an extra dollop of ice cream because they themselves refrain from raping and abusing.

    It’s sad that the minimal reaction to a widespread epidemic, general “awareness”, hasn’t even been “raised” yet, necessitating the public display.

    My acquaintances are prodding me to join a disease-related bike ride, put together by a public events corporation that will pass along to the disease-related organization only about half the money that is raised. No thanks. Walks, fun runs, bike rides – I’ll do these things on my own, and pay a company to organize them if needed, but I’m not going to pretend that I’m being an activist by prodding friends and family to fund my recreational activities. Drives me bonkers. Total scam.

  65. Sara

    Oh, no no no! Good luck, Zippy! Get well soon!

    (I love my Tevas. I love nearly as much my Merrell mary jane clogs with the insanely great traction for slick, wet surfaces. They are the bomb for tricycling as well as traversing a linoleum floor after coming in out of rain.)

  66. Boudicca

    My rescued greyhound Faith sends warm wishes for a Zippy recovery. Fight the bloat, Zippy!

  67. octopod

    Good luck to Zippy. It’s a tricky operation but also done pretty frequently, even in veterinary medicine, so I’m sure it’ll turn out fine.

    I habitually go barefoot at home, and in my case “home” means “Caltech and environs”, so I only end up wearing shoes for geology and wet labs. And, of course, then there are the places like Target which employ rent-a-cops who apparently relish the opportunity to tell me to put on some shoies, y’damn hippie. Not sure who to blame there, honestly, but the blame should go somewhere. Hmm.

  68. S-kat

    Good luck to Zippy and you both.

    As for shoes, I find all the brand name-dropping above (and in the swimsuit post) unnerving. Give me some $3 chinese flats any day. I get my sister to pick up a few pairs from Chinatown, SF for my birthday each year and they sure do satisfy.*

    *Disclaimer: Not recommended for those needing any arch support.

  69. Bird

    S-kat, I believe it’s meant as a “here’s the type of comfy shoes/swimwear I found in case you want to try them” and not an “I totally love this brand ’cause it’s so kewl!” I do see your point, though.

  70. CannibalFemme

    On Zippy: my very best wishes! My own little one (Fezzik, only 4 months old, jeez) just came through *two* surgeries, one exploratory and one emergency bowel resection, and I am glad and grateful to say that I get to keep him. I hope for the same good outcome for your good dog.

    On shoes: I have no names to drop. It’s the thrift store or the Payless men’s section for me. I pick black. I kick and run a lot.

    On animal stuff in general: I have no money for shoes, but my very first act upon adopting Fezzik was to obtain pet insurance, thus allowing me the luxury of not having to choose between rent and his two damn surgeries. I wholeheartedly recommend this, and I am not given to capitalist encomiums.

    I’m pulling for Zippy. Come on, Zippy!

  71. Jezebella

    Bird, you’re right. Next time I’m in an actual city I will just suck it up and go to a real athletic shoestore. No such thing within 100 miles of my current location.

    S-kat, believe me when I tell you, the brand names being dropped are hardly trendy, high-fashion, status name brands. For the most part, they’re all about shoes that allow the hard-working blamer to be comfortable while also being reasonably socially acceptable in the work environment. Too many shoes, flat or spiky, cheap or sky-high, are bloody painful. I, too, wore $3 Chinese flats in my youth, but age and high arches require more expensive, better-built shoes. Also, they get kind of skanky in the summertime.

    To paraphrase B. Dagger Lee, I’d rather strap china plates to my feet than wear shoes that make my feet hurt. That includes Payless’s plastic and cardboard Chinese-made disposable shoes. Your results, of course, may vary. Personally I’ve decided to stop purchasing Chinese-made items whenever possible (if I can tell they were made there) because of the deplorable labor conditions and human rights abuses in that particular country.

  72. lucizoe

    My feet are big and wide and I’m pretty sure I need orthotics for my ridiculously high arches. So far Keens fit width-wise, but leave a lot to be desired arch-wise after about three months. I have Mizuno running shoes, but I don’t run anymore, since my feet are stupid and hate me, but they were a pretty good fit. I mostly wind-up with men’s shoes, especially if I’m shopping in a store instead of on zappos, prompting many a store clerk’s query of, “Can I help you? Women’s shoes are over there.” Poor gendered shoes.

    I hate shoes. I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate them.

    Get well Zippy! Such a happy puppy in that picture!

  73. Mamasquab

    All our best wishes to Zippy and especially to Zippy’s poor tummy. And to Twisty’s poor nerves.

    Why can I not find flat shoes good for walking on European cobblestones in, that don’t look ridiculous with a sundress??? Even Zippos is letting me down . . .

  74. LMYC

    Jezebella, ITA — I’m talking about hush puppies for pete’s sake, not Manolo Blahniks. And I also don’t care for the $3 black cotton things either, mostly because they fall apart within weeks of buying them, and I both CAN afford to purchase better made shoes and CAN’T afford to keep buying the same pair over and over because they’re made crappy.

    The only “statement” I want to make with my shoes is that I am comfortable, maybe a little fearsome, and expect the things to last like iron as I beat the hell out of my favorite ones by wearing them almost 24/7. I like ones that I can wear to work and under jeans, which means plain black hush puppies or plain black boots or plain black mules. I’m not into buying a dozen pairs of the things; black is black is black and it matches everything.

    The single exception to this would be a pair of dansko slingback clogs in eggplant purple suede, which should I ever find them, I wouldn’t exactly turn a pair down.

    In general, though, just give me one pair of black hush puppies, one pair of black boots, and one pair of drag shoes (pumps) in cases where they are necessary — which honestly, are few and far between. Three pairs should do me.

    Oh, and a pair of birks. Four total.

    Puppy update soon, I hope?

  75. lawbitch

    Mamasquab, you might try the Travel Smith. I’ve gotten a couple of clothing items from them. It’s more expensive than I usually can afford, but the quality is excellent. I haven’t ordered shoes from them yet.

  76. legallyblondeez

    Jezebella, a running store is key for getting the right fit, but I’ve had more than one doc tell me that New Balance is the best non-custom shoe I can get for my overly wide, high-arched, and fasciitis-suffering feet. I pull out the insoles and replace with my doc-made orthotics, but it’s something about the width and build of the sole on most NB runners or cross-trainers that minimizes pronation and supination. I thought my days of running or even long walks were over till I got NBs.

    For work, I wear a lot of low-heeled off-brand sandals and Danskos or Aerosoles. The vain shoe-buyer in me is still pissed that Nine West no longer has many cute shoes in its Cloud Nine line, but they were probably sweatshop-produced and not as comfy as the above anyway. The key is maximum comfort for my formal-shoe job. At home it’s barefoot, the NBs, or Chacos. I have some Vans, but those are more sentimental than comfortable.

    Zippy’s twisty tummy is in my thoughts. Hopefully soon and for a long time after the only Twisty in the house will be the inimitable spinster aunt.

  77. yankee transplant

    Thinking of Zippy and you.

  78. cypress

    I tried to walk past the open door of the sporting goods store in the town near where I live this Saturday last, but was reeled in by a new sort of Crocs – not the thong between the toes kind [ick], but the slip on sandally kind. They are balm to my 60 year old feet with a tendency to plantar fascitis. And it’s May Day today, official sandal wearing period in south-western Canada begins.

    TMI? I imagine so.

    Zippy – complete speedy recovery. Twisty, thinking of you.

  79. Sasha

    Think of what follows as random bullets. (Why did they call those things bullets anyway? Nipples? Ok, the following are nipples.)

    I believe it is Nay-oat. One of their lasts fits me very well. The others? Not so much. I wear these, Mephisto All-rounders (expensive), or Merrels to work. My workplace has some odd dress code that bans “sports” shoes, deck shoes, collarless shirts on men, and bare midriffs. I don’t get it but it isn’t worth fighting over.

    My foot doc recommended Asics for my feet and they work very well. Again one last fits, the other doesn’t.Birkenstocks give me knee pain so I don’t wear em.

    Sandals? Chacos are my personal Teva equivalent. They fit beautifully, are very adjustable, and work in the water. (That third comma? I’ve been working too much.) And for a slightly more civilized sandal, suedish, I wear Bite. That is a brand name actually. These have the lovely quality of accommodating my orthotics.

    Most of all? I have what I believe is technically referred to as a shitload of red shoes. Y’all need more red shoes.

  80. Bird

    legallyblondeez, NBs are also the best shoe I’ve found for my ultra-narrow feet with low arches and a slight tendency to pronate. The 767 stability shoe in a AA width is the only shoe I’ve found that works well for me. I’m on my second pair, and I was pleased to learn that they’re continuing the model.

    I think NB is so loved by many women athletes because they make their various models to fit foot types, not look pretty, and they make multiple widths that actually do fit differently (the narrow ones have a different cut to the heel cup to make them stay on skinny heels). Granted, I know people who can’t fit them well (some of the wide, flat feet folks really love Saucony).

    I started running long distances only a few months ago, and I think I would have quit had it not been for decent shoes.

  81. virgotex

    I send good best better bestest thoughts to Zippy, and reminders to Twisty, who doubtless already knows, dogs can be so amazingly sturdy and resilient even at an advanced age.

    And it just so happens I bought three new pairs of shoes today. It was frustrating but I ended up with what I wanted, including some silly-colored New Balance that are amazingly comfortable despite the fluorescent orange and white.

  82. EE

    Speedy recovery wishes for Zippy.

    Have you heard of using Vicks Vaporub topically applied to cure toenail fungus? Apparently this is legit, or at least my mom says it worked for her….

  83. Heraclitus (Jeff)

    Best wishes to Zippy (and Twisty).

  84. alphabitch

    Sasha – you are so right about the red shoes. One can’t have too many pairs. I’m forever searching for the perfect pair. Which means I have several that are almost, but not quite perfect.

    I used to wear those chinese flats too, S-Kat and I miss them — also the cheap espadrilles from the hippie store on campus – $5 or so a pair. And even plastic flip flops from the drugstore; I loved them.

    But 43 years of walking and running and dancing and skating take their toll. The docs were recommending surgery. On a whim, I bought my first pair of serious comfort shoes (mephistos, IIRC). They cost one hell of a lot less than the surgery and follow-up physical therapy. And they make you wear the comfort shoes plus custom orthotics after the surgery anyway; if you don’t, you risk hurting yourself all over again. That was ten years ago and I can still run and dance all I want. And I walk everywhere since my car died almost three years ago now — I can buy a lot of damn shoes with what I’d be spending on gas/car maintenance, etc., I’ll tell you that much.

    But it always interests me how important shoes are. I see them as the interface between me and the planet, essential to comfort and health and groundedness. And yeah, they can be awfully pretty, some of em. Reminds me I haven’t done any shoeblogging lately. Or much of any blogging. Hmmm….

    Anyway, I was just checking back to see if there was news about poor dear Zippy. I’ve been fretting a bit about her, poor dear.

  85. alphabitch

    EE — my dad suggested that just the other day — he finally gave up on the pricey and less effective prescription drugs and said it’s clearing up, more or less. I’ll definitely give it a go, although the tea tree oil does keep it at bay. Doesn’t smell all that much better than Vap-O-Rub, now that you mention it. And the Vap-O-Rub is way cheaper.

  86. Mar Iguana

    Awww, poor Zippy. Get well quick. That had to hurt but do the doggies complain? Hardly a whimper. They’re too good for humans.

    Shoes: Cannot find my sandals for two years now. I don’t think I’m asking for much. All I want are lots of very skinny straps (my favorites that finally lost their boing were macrame, using black elastic cording), no thong thing, no ankle straps, yes heel straps, flats. But, can I find any? Noooo. But, I’m on the hunt. Oh, and they have to be black to match my toe polish (and pretty much everything else I have).

  87. Brianne

    Poor zippy. My pup, Hamlet, was very much like Zippy and underwent surgery when he was thirteen. I hope he comes out well. As for shoes I’m a Rocket Dog girl myself. They are wicked comfy, as are Borns. And both last forever. I hate Birks because I walk on my feet wonky and they are wicked painful. Can I blame the patriarchy for painful Birks?

  88. Kumachka

    Ahh, finally, a place where I can unleash my secret inner Imelda. Waaaait. Is this a trap?

    OMG. I don’t care.


    I totally lifted this from Shakes Sis’ post a few weeks back:

    But yes: Clarks sub brand Privo have liberated me from the Earth’s Gravitational force! No joke. I can jump like a flea in those babies. I WANT to jump like a flea in those babies.

    Frye brown motorcycle boots worn to a cracking.

    Eye on a pair o’ Dansko mary janes, and the abovementioned Merrel’s, if only they would keep their damn logo off everything. On the other hand, it looks like the Madness “M” which is pretty funny.

    I no longer skimp on shoes, and my body in general is very very happy with the fact that this kid has graduated to become a woman who wears comfortable shoes.


    canine healing vibes being sent through the wires.

  89. Jezebella

    LMYC, if you ever find eggplant purple suede Danskos, send up a flare! I will be there directly in the Batmobile.

    I swear, I’d never take ’em off.

  90. roamaround

    I hope Zippy is ok! We’re all waiting for an update here at my zoo. Dogs are such stoic patients. I remember a very sick dog I was tending once (not mine) who used almost all his energy to muster a brave tail wag for me as I brought him water. He came out of it fine, and I sure hope Zippy does too.

    Does anyone else ever think about Brigitte Bardot and how she’s ended up living alone with animals and working for animal rights? I’m not an expert on her or anything, but I often feel I understand her motivation. After all those years of objectification and exploitation by men, what better that to be around loving, honest animals who don’t give a damn what you look like?

    Of course, she’s pitied as a kook by society, aka the blamed patriarchy.

  91. lindsay

    thinking healthy thoughts for zippy!

  92. Pinko Punko

    When we first got the boys (the doggies), I heard that that could happen, and I always feared the worst. These are tough critters, I hope Z pulls through.

    Best, and hopeful,


  93. LMYC

    Twisty, next time you have to do this, you should try and experiment. Say something like “please discuss elephant shit while I’m gone” and then see if it happens.

    I’m just sort of amused at the fact that you said, “Talk about shoes” and we just … did it.

  94. Rosie

    Poor Zippy Faster! I hope he gets better. Poor little guy. I also feel sorry for your vet bill, because every time Lennybruce (one of my cats) has gotten sick, I can’t seem to get outta there without spending at least $400. Thank heavens he hasn’t gotten sick out here in rural Alaska, cuz the veterinarian only comes out here 4 times a year. More incentive for me to move out of the sticks…

    Anyway, shoes! I wear the super-ugly Xtratuf boots when the weather’s bad, they’re basically brown wellie boots. When it’s nice, I wear Merrell jungle mocs or pull-on boots, cuz they’re soft, comfy, and easy to remove/put on in the arctic entryway. Yay for livin’ in AK.

  95. donna

    Bloat is icky. Feel better soon, Zippy!

    My dog trainer says bloat is really common in big dogs. If they are lethargic and won’t eat, get ’em to the vet pronto!

  96. Rebecca

    I must confess to a certain degree of surprise at the lack of boots mentioned in the “shoes” aspects of these comments, particularly given the multitudinous sandal comments, which indicate that the term “shoe” is not limited to “a foot-protecting garment covering the foot” (def. mine). I love boots. I hate sandals. My feet are sturdy, but they are also invaluable, and I protect them in public at all cost. This means no open toes, no heels unless properly counterbalanced by soles, and shin protection. This footwear preference may be due in part to years spent working in bars, where drunk feet often trample mine, and a lifetime of pedestrianism, which often entails encounters with broken glass, sidewalk spittle, and poop that is hopefully canine in origin. I’ve also found that wearing big boots on the bus and crossing my legs with one ankle on the knee nearest the aisle discourages bus-creeps from sitting with me.
    But when I’m not wearing boots, I love my Fluevogs: comfortable, durable, and just fancy enough. I’ve never tried his specifically women’s shoes, but the unisex line rocks my foot world.

  97. kanea

    I hope your dog recovers. I know what a pain vets bills and going to vet emergancey rooms is like. one of my cats winds up going to the animal hospital every summer and there fore leaving me broke every summer. ( I’m begining to thinks they conspire to injure them selfs, for some bizzare kitty purpose).

    to the shoes thing….I have own the same pair of sneekers since I was 13. which is when my feet stopped growing. I have huge feet. and I’d have to get a new pair of shoes ever 3 months until I was 13 because my foot would grow a size or a size and a half. I detest buying shoes. I am a size 10 to 10 1/2 depending on the brand. and mostly ugly shoes are made in these size for women, or so I’ve notice. but I just buy men’s or unisex sneekers, boots, whatever. I only own the basic sneekrs, my 9 year old airwalks which aren’t even made anymore. a pair of sandles, my steel toed doc martins for winter or when I have to be someplace dangerous like a construction site….. at concerts where people will step on your feet…late night in urban areas….late night in suburan areas…or anytime I’m public since I happens to have two x chromosomes.

  98. eggplant

    Dansko has at least five choices in purple suede or leather in flats, heels, clogs, and boots. Gorgeous.


  99. Jezebella

    eggplant, I’m sending you the bill!

    This is what I get for doing my shoe shopping at Zappos instead of going directly to the source. D’oh! Dansko.com, indeed. I’m an idiot.

    Rebecca, it ain’t boot-weather no more down here in Mis’sippi, or I’d be all about da boots.

  100. bitchphd

    Shoes are awesome. Is it warm enough there to wear your kitten heels again, Twisty?

    Poor Zippy. I hope she’s okay. Obviously she’s over-identified with her mama and thinks she’s the one that’s supposed to twisty faster.

  101. ceezee

    Best wishes to Zippy and Twisty. Clearly the Faster family has the best names EvAr!!!1!

    Shoe-wise, I tend to live mostly in my Birks because the structure in them actually seems to correct the damage done to my feet by my other shoes. I have a couple pairs of high heels that I wear only very occassionaly, but the shoes that do me the most damage are my work shoes, naturally the ones that I have to be on my feet in for four or eight hours at a time. I’m totally going to invest in some Danskos to replace them as soon as I have money.

    My boyfriend laughs at the epic battle I have in my head every time I decide to wear my high heels. It goes something like this: “Well, I like high-heels, but I know they’re a tool of the patriarchy. I know that the walk and the pain and all that is a sign of feminine submission and weakness. Can I choose into that and still call myself a feminist? Am I okay with that?” Often I have this conversation with myself outloud, and the boyfriend laughs and reminds me that the whole point is about making the choice for oneself without anyone forcing your decision either way, yes? He gets it. Which is why I keep him around.

  102. delphyne

    Try getting your boyfriend to wear the shoes, ceezee, then see how humourous he still finds it.

    I’d like to be able to go barefoot, but I’m worried people would stare.

    Hope Zippy is doing OK, Twisty.

  103. Sylvanite

    Sauconys are great – my orthopedist told me they give great support to people who have foot/ankle injuries (like me). I also really like my Timberland boots. They never seem to need to be “broken in.” They’re comfortable hikers from day one.

    Unfortunately, I don’t love my new steel toes that much. I ordered them by catalog, because finding size six workboots is an absolute nightmare, so I didn’t get to try them on first. I should have just bought another pair of the same work boots I’d had previously. Oh,well.

  104. Mamasquab

    “Obviously she’s over-identified with her mama and thinks she’s the one that’s supposed to twisty faster.”

    Nice one, BitchPh.D.!

    Alphabitch, anything with menthol in it will clear up the toenail problem, and you also need to keep your toenails very short. I tried the antibiotics and they were useless, but Vap-o-Rub does the trick unless the infestation is at the bottom of the nail where the menthol can’t get to it.

    Lawbitch, thanks for the Travel Smith tip.

    Twisty, we want news, please.

  105. firsttimeblamer

    I’m new to patriarchy blaming, so feel free to clue me in if I get any of the details wrong. I happened on this blog only a month ago and have been reading it with great excitement and fascination ever since. My heart goes out to Zippy and Twisty tonight– I hope the surgery goes well!

    One of my favorite topics has come up, so I feel the need to get some things of my chest (or my feet, rather.)

    I HATE SHOES. Until recently I would look into my closet and feel soul-crushing guilt at the rack of thirty-plus pairs of shoes I had somehow acquired and for the most part never donned. I writhe in discomfort at jokes about how much women love shoes and how they all millions of unnecessary pairs. But was I myself supporting that very stereotype? I didn’t understand it. I hate shopping. I don’t have any money to waste on frivolous purchases. Why did I have so many shoes? Then I realized how many of those shoes (all of them) had been purchased in desperate hope that it would be THE shoe–the one I could actually walk to work/school in, that would remain reasonably comfortable all day and look decent with all my clothes.

    Women’s shoes and women’s fashion are simply not designed to allow women to own just one or two pairs of shoes. Of course men only have a couple of pairs of shoes! It’s because they can wear those sneakers all weekend, and those nondescript brownish dress shoes all week. Let’s leave the casual shoes aside, as I can happily wear men’s shoes when I can be casual. But my profession requires that I dress formally on a regular basis, and I like to walk places (such as to work.) All I want is ONE pair of shoes that I can wear to dress up, that is not hideous, that I can also walk for the whole day in. THAT IS ALL. I have been searching for these shoes for years, and acquired a plethora of unsatisfactory substitutes. I don’t even try heels anymore, but flats are no better. They are always made of horrid material that pinches all over and designed for someone whose feet are the width of chopstick. Honestly, I would pay any amount of money for a shoe that would fit my needs.

    In fact, I pay proportionately WAY more for shoes than any other kind of clothing out of sheer desperation. I almost never pay more than fifteen dollars for a shirt, for example, but will readily drop $120 on a pair of dress shoes if I think it might allow me to walk for a whole twenty minutes. (So far, none never has.)

    You know when you are walking around in the city at 8:30 as everyone runs to work and you see all those women wearing power suits and hideous glaring white nikes? Have you EVER seen a man dressed for work but for the shoes so he can manage to walk there in time? I sure haven’t. That’s because men’s shoes are actually designed to serve more than one function–say, looking socially acceptable, and also being functionally mobile.

    Along those lines, but on a slightly more personal note, have you ever heard a man complain about not being able to buy shoes in his size? I haven’t, but I know at least four other women (and I don’t know that many people) who are forced to guess and buy shoes online because the store doesn’t want to acknowledge that women’s feet get larger than a 10, or that women’s feet may come in half sizes at all.

    I believe women buy into the whole “we love shoes because we are women and we are shallow” thing because they need to explain that guilty closetful of underused footwear. It’s not your fault, women! IBTP!!! If I have to hear one more decent woman make an Imelda Marcos joke I will absolutely lose it.

  106. anne

    Twisty – I really, really hope Zippy is alright. Those surgeries can be tough, but they often have good outcomes. You and Zippy have been in my thoughts since I read this news yesterday.

    Best to you both.

  107. Silence

    Best thoughts to Zippy. May he be up and running through the green outdoors pronto! I lost my dog to kidney failure this winter and am feeling the need to get a new pooch — to keep the cats in line, if nothing else.

    Shoes. I recommend Apropos, a brand of shoes which are actually made to be comfortable. No heels, you just slip them on and walk away, and they come in many funky colors. Best of all, they’re machine washable! They’re the only shoes I wear during the warm months.

    Only trouble is, they’re not so great if you have wide feet. Since mine are like a pair of toothpicks, they suit me just fine.

  108. Luckynkl

    Sneakers for me. Sneaker-like shoes to work in. According to podiatric doctors, what’s best for the feet next to being barefoot.

  109. lucizoe

    firsttimeblamer, yar! I wear between a 10 and an 11, wide width, and I am clearly not the target market for the higher scale designers. If I exist at all, which I’m beginning to doubt.

    It goes far beyond shoes, of course. I’m short, with my Polish grandmother’s ginormous breasts and short-waisted, thick-muscled peasant body. I cannot wear anything I buy without altering it first, whether it’s pulling side seams in on button down shirts which must be purchased too-large to avoid gaps, or hemming and taking in pants. I’m really short-waisted without hips, so the low-rider pants trend of the past few years don’t just sit right below my waist, they actually skim pubic bone.

    I try really hard not to hate my body, but the world is trying really hard to make me resent it for not being better proportioned. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d dig up my rant about the correlation between women’s teeny tiny advances socially followed – always – by some harsh fashion industry backlash.

  110. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Lucizoe, don’t hate your body. My ancestry is also eastern European, and I’ve struggled with the same issues my whole life. I’ve always felt bad for not being willowy and lissome. In my advancing years I’m coming to appreciate its strength and endurance, which has a beauty all its own, even if my parts (torso, arms & legs) are short and stumpy. Any fashion industry mavens who don’t like it are cordially invited to kiss my pale, fat, Polish-American ass.

  111. Calabama

    Hope Zippy’s on the mend. Any news today?

    Shoetalk: Birkenstocks are the only ones that work for me; yea, B. Dagger, I KNOW they’re like dinner plates! And expensive ones, at that! But cheaper and a lot less painful than the orthotics and heel injections I endured before I shuffled into them.

  112. Catherine Martell

    Best wishes to Zippy. Poor thing.

    I can’t believe we’re talking about shoes. I don’t give a monkey’s about shoes. But, since we’re talking: Ecco. Mmmm. Comfy. And standard-issue ballet slippers for the summer, because they cost pennies, come in black or metallics (I do tend to avoid the pink on grounds of not being six years old), don’t have a brand name on them, and are pretty much like being barefoot, only not quite so filthy. Plus, my toes hate flip flops.

    They’re bugger all use if you have fallen arches, mind. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  113. vera

    Only at Twisty’s can you find over 100 responses to “Discuss shoes.” I am in awe.

    Off topic: Pony, are you there? I found your question in my blog, and left a response.

  114. kathy a

    someone upstream wondered about all the sandal talk. my trusty danskos are good for when i have cold feet, but as the temps get into the mid-70’s [farenheit], i get hot feet and my toes want to be free free free.

    how’s zippy? sending her scritches and a “good pup.”

  115. hedonistic


    I love shoes. I have 100+ pair of (almost) every kind imaginable, from flipflops to (REAL!) Sorrel pack boots to moccasins to sneakers (ECCO!) to silver tap shoes to ballerina pointe shoes to penny loafers to fluffy maribou mules to flats to F-me pumps to thigh high stiletto boots.

    DSW (stands for Discount Shoe Warehouse?) is DA BOMB! Never ever ever pay full price.

    My own contrarian assessment:

    Flipflops hurt my arches, make me trip and skin my toes.

    Low heeled slides (including bedroom slippers) cause me to fall down stairs, so I carry them and put them on when I get to the bottom of staircases.

    Birkenstocks stretch out too quickly for the prices they charge. So BOOOOOO to Birkenstocks.

    I hate that I need a shoehorn to get into my best loafers.

    My hiking boots have horrible arch support, and the high-tops bruise my ankles if I tie them the way that I am supposed to. I leave them untied once my cat chewed up the laces. Unfortunately I don’t hike enough to rate a new pair.


    Notice how my most annoying shoes have LOW HEELS? My most comfortable shoes have at least 2 1/2 inch heels. If they’re well made even four inch heels are comfortable to me. I will not buy uncomfortable heels, and if they become uncomfortable after purchase I give them to Goodwill.

    Yes, I have 100+ pair of shoes in rotation. I collected them over a 20 year period, so I’ve been averaging about 5 new pair per year, more if I’m in romantic distress. I really wear them all. Except for the 5 inch heels which are only for show. Those, and my tap/pointe shoes, which I am done with for good.

  116. hedonistic

    Oh, and my pack boots make my feet sweat. There: Definitey TMI.

  117. Antelope

    Well, what the heck, since we’ve got such experts here, I’ll ask the real shoe comfort question that’s bugging me lately.

    Anybody know of shoe inserts that give some support and can actually breathe a bit? I’ve had no trouble finding ones that feel great in terms of cushioning, but they turn the shoe into a little plastic sauna.

    I’ve given up on finding the perfect shoe out of the box and I’m trying to roll my own shoe.

  118. buggle

    I have big feet too. Women’s size 10-11 WIDE WIDTH-which most stores don’t have. I buy men’s running shoes and sneakers. I used to buy men’s dress shoes for work, since the women’s ones wouldn’t fit right. I think I’m going to go back to that-since men’s shoes are always cheaper and less fussy.

    I never liked heels, even just one inchers. But, I’ve taken a vow to never ever ever wear any kind of heel again. And I like to remark loudly in stores “wow, these are huge heels! Who could walk in these. Try running away in these!” Or “god, high heels are so stupid-they hurt, they look dumb, and women only wear them for men.” It makes me feel better. Sort of.

    My friend and I were in Target last week, looking for dress shoes for a wedding. I couldn’t believe the height of the heels! I mean, higher than I’ve ever seen them before.

    Lucizoe-those low rider pants-I couldn’t even pull them up over my butt and hips, no matter what size I went up to! Definitely not made for anyone with hips or a bountiful booty like me.

  119. S-kat

    I definitely know A LOT more about shoes now.

    How’s the puppy fairing?
    We’re all pulling for you, Zippy!

  120. nightgigjo


    I mostly wind-up with men’s shoes, especially if I’m shopping in a store instead of on zappos, prompting many a store clerk’s query of, “Can I help you? Women’s shoes are over there.” Poor gendered shoes.
    I hate shoes. I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate them.

    Yeah, I feel ya there. My favorite shoes (all 3 pair now) are “men’s” shoes, but dammit, I wear a 9-1/2 (US Men’s 7-1/2, UK 41) and I bloody can’t find useful shoes in their bloody “women’s” department.

    I, of course, BTP.

    I … expect the things to last like iron as I beat the hell out of my favorite ones by wearing them almost 24/7. … black is black is black and it matches everything.

    Make mine brown, and that’s pretty much it. Don’t wear much black any more.

    I want: A pair of boots, a pair of sandals, and a pair of closed-toed shoes I can get away with wearing in a work environment, and maybe something I can dress up.

    I have the first three. They all came from the “men’s” department. So all I need is a pair of comfy + leather + nice with dressy slacks/the occasional skirt, and those I’d probably want in black.

    Anyone know where I should look?

    Related is firsttimeblamer:

    All I want is ONE pair of shoes that I can wear to dress up, that is not hideous, that I can also walk for the whole day in. THAT IS ALL.

    And that’s not really that much to ask for, unless you go trying to find this in women’s shoes. My husband has little to no problem with this one, but I have to? IBTP.

    I want that, except I want sandals for hot weather, boots for cold/icy weather, and something medium weight for those in-between seasons (I moved somewhere that has actual *seasons*. In Arkansas, I could get away with sandals for most of the year, and just put on the boots in winter).


    I’d like to be able to go barefoot, but I’m worried people would stare.

    I’d like to be able to go barefoot, except I’m generally a pedestrian and the streets around my house/school/downtown are occasionally littered with glass. IBT…Lazies.

    Okay, must… go.. tutor. *sigh* More blaming later, I’m sure.

  121. Bird

    Antelope, I had a pair of gel inserts once that had a sort of waffle structure to them with air holes. I used them in my work shoes when I worked for—surprise!—Payless (before my degree-and-awesome-job days) and had to wear their horrible plastic garbage shoes.

    I think my time working for that monstrosity of trash footwear is why I don’t flinch at the idea of dropping good money for good shoes. Of course, if they’re on sale, all the better! I picked up my Merrell sandals for $20 Canadian (that’s about $18 US) at a warehouse sale because they’re “last year’s style.” Like I care. They’re flat beige slides. Who’s going know that they’re the 2006 model? And if they do, I really don’t need to hang out with them anyways.

  122. thebewilderness

    Scritches to Zippy, hugs to you.

    Barefoot is my first choice, socks if I must, after that it doesn’t much matter because shoes, like womens choices in the patriarchial culture, only come in crap, crappier, or crappiest.

  123. Laser Potato

    I, too, have big feets. I don’t have high arches or anything, just really wide feet. I usually wear Easy Spirit, as does my mom; seems big feet run in the family.
    I used to have this absolutely GORGEOUS (and roomy!) pair of Italian leather sandals that I wore every summer, which of course I can’t find anymore. Pity.

  124. Artemis

    Hate to throw a great big bucket of cold water on this shoe party, but most of the shoes blithely mentioned in these comments are made by workers in Southeast Asia and most of them are children and young women. They work fifteen- to sixteen-hour days doing body-torturing piece work for sickeningly low wages. Many of these women and children live away from their families in barracks; in some cases, they are virtual prisoners, forbidden to leave the factory compound without a pass.

    In short, most of our shoes are made in sweatshops by virtual slaves and most of those slaves are women and girls.

    Birkenstocks may be ugly, but as far as I know, they’re still made in Germany by non-slaves. There aren’t many other choices – mainly because people won’t spend the extra money so shoe companies can pay living wages.

  125. Yeny

    Oh no, poor, poor Zippy. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery. Suerte Zippy!

  126. FemiMom

    I have two recommendations for shoes.
    Please consider that I am “a suit” (of sorts) and like another poster, I am rebelling against a crunchy granola past. (No Birks.) That stated: I am also a Blaimer, so I will not be oppressed into tottering around like a sex-ay thang.
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Clarks. I have a pair of sandals that were forced into double-duty (quadruple-duty, really) on a 2 week vacation in rural Jamaica. They were supposed to be my “pretty” footwear for a dinner, on route to some camping. However, I lost a flipflop, handed over another pair of shoes to a family member, and wore the Clarks for beach, hiking and showering for the entire two weeks. Figured “heck with it; I’ll throw them out when I get home”. Ha! They still look new. So wild.
    My other recommendation is “I Love Comfort” from Sears. These would be a good business choice for firsttimeblaimer. I have a pair of sling-backs with 2 inch heels. They are as comfortable as my running shoes. No need to geek it up in sneakers and a suit.
    My thanks to all the Blaimers who have shared their recommendations. I don’t have time to tend to blistered feet: Life is too short & there’s too much Blaiming to do!

  127. Joolya

    Poor puppy!

    Hey, Twisty, did you hear the one about how dykes love fat chicks?


  128. Pontiste

    I feel compelled to step into the fray re,
    In short, most of our shoes are made in sweatshops by virtual slaves and most of those slaves are women and girls.

    Troentorp clogs are made in the Bastad region of Sweden. Many other brands of clogs (e.g. Sven) continue to be made there as well. I do, however, understand (I think) and concur with Artemis’ general point about considering more than just our tootsies’ comfort in these matters.

    And also re the hot, sweaty feet issue many have mentioned, just to reiterate: a wooden footbed (sans any leather, rubber, plastic, etc. liner) is fantastic at letting the feet breathe. I cannot recommend it enough. The only downside with the wood sole is that cobblestone-type surfaces require a little bit of navigational care (but only about 1/100,000 that of walking in the dreaded pointy high heels).

    (By the way, difficult as it may be to believe at this point, I swear that I’m not a representative of Troentorp or any other Swedish clog manufacturer or retailer.)

  129. buggle

    Artemis-I’m so glad you brought this up. I’ve been thinking about it a bit lately. I don’t want to support sweatshops and the like, but (this is going to sound so dumb) where do I buy my clothes? I mean, how do I find out what brands are “good?” I feel like I need to make a commitment to not shopping at places that buy from sweatshops, but I don’t even know where to start.

    Also-are you the person who posted a while back about women who choose to be in a relationship with another woman-like women who used to be with men, and now have chosen to be with women? If so, I would really like to hear about this. I’ve heard people talk about this, but I don’t know women who have actually done it, and I’d love to hear more about it. If you aren’t that person, then never mind!

  130. Bird

    Artemis, that’s something I struggle with too. I try to avoid sweatshop products (I believe that’s a global feminist issue), and I try to check labels. That’s one of the reasons I love my New Balance runners-they’re made in the US under more reasonable working conditions. But I do have some things that I know were made in bad places.

    I try to find ethical manufacturers. There’s a line of Canadian-designed t-shirts I love called “Twice Shy” that are made using organic cotton in ethical workplaces in Mexico. They also employ a new artist each season to do all the designs on their shirts, and the shirts have fun fortunes sewn under the cuff of one sleeve. I buy a lot of my athletic clothing from places like Mountain Equipment Co-op, which have ethical models in place (MEC even has an executive team member responsible for environment and labour issues). There’s Nokomis and other Canadian designers/manufacturers who espouse ethical processes too, and I try to chose them when I can.

    But it’s hard. Especially when some companies that are “sweatshop-free” pose other ethical problems, like American Apparel’s porn connections (the photos in the change rooms make me sick, and their little blurb about ’70s porn aesthetics makes it worse). It’s frustrating.

  131. Jezebella

    Artemis, you’re so right. I’m trying to move towards buying no-sweatshop gear (clothes and shoes) but it is expensive. What with earning 68 cents on the male dollar, it’s hard to stretch my pennies far enough to buy fair trade everything. It’s good to have another compelling reason to sacrifice quantity for quality. I’d rather have one good pair of Italian loafers than 10 pairs of plastic Payless this-weeks-shoes.

    In conclusion: All the more reason to buy Italian.

  132. Artemis

    It is very difficult to find stuff that hasn’t been made through some misery of other people or animals or the planet and incredibly frustrating to see what corporations are getting away with on this planet. The shit with AA makes me fucking crazy – just another patriarchal asshole co-opting something good for his own sleazy shit. [Insert loud angry bellow here].

    All we can do is try to do our best knowing what we do about the patriarchy.

    Here’s a Co-op America article on buying sweatshop-free clothes.

    You can do online searches for “sweatshop free” for more information and buying options. And if you really want to support workers in making a livable wage, buy union-made stuff whenever you can.

    I’ve taken all this a step-at-a-time over the years and I’m not blameless in my buying decisions. At this point I’m looking at the label of every product I’m going to buy to see if the thing is made in some odious place where humans and animals and the environment are trashed for corporate profit. If it is, I do some instant soul-searching to see if I really should be getting my convenience and pleasure from the misfortune of others. It’s on my head that sometimes I come first in that equation – it’s one of my many human flaws that I’m working on.

  133. hedonistic

    Italian shoes = the BEST, but Spain is a close second.

    Anyone know where Born shoes are made? They’re super-comfortable. Super-expensive if you pay retail, but not if you buy from the clearance rack at DSW. I scored mine for $20!

    If you are in despair about not knowing where your clothes come from, try what I do: Buy secondhand and vintage. Most of my vintage clothes were made in the US (or Paris, or Italy). Most have union labels in them.

    A few years ago I bought a great pair of (Italian) Manolo heels (1 1/2 inch, which is low for me) on EBay for cheep cheep, and they’d only been worn once or twice! Now I have first-hand knowledge that Manolos are as comfortable as everyone says, without paying too much for the privilege. I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I were not presently on fashion strike.

  134. Artemis

    Buggle: “Also-are you the person who posted a while back about women who choose to be in a relationship with another woman-like women who used to be with men, and now have chosen to be with women?”

    Thanks for asking, but nope it wasn’t me. I think you mean the comments by Amy’s Brain Today. She was talking about the kind of woman who is a version of a political lesbian (there’s a range, therein lies a big debate) in her comment to Twisty’s post of April 14, “Some notes on revolution” (see IBTP archives).

  135. Artemis

    As a young dyke I was very pleased to find that my type was referred to by the sobriquet, “women in comfortable shoes” and I still get great pleasure in that identifier.

    My twenty-year-old, twice-refurbished, ratty Birks are a big “fuck you” to the fashionistic patriarchy. Or at least I like to think so.

    Doesn’t hurt that other lesbians and fellow travelers can identify me with a glance at my feet (in case my lesbian scowl and chin throw doesn’t clue them in first).

  136. Tricia

    Twisty, I’m refreshing your page every hour or so to see if there’s an update on Zippy. My good thoughts are still headed in both of your direction.

  137. kathy a

    pointiste — i just haven’t seen wood-soled clogs in forever. they are cool and comfortable, and glad for the tip they are still made, sans sweatshop.

  138. alphabitch

    buggle — it mighta been me, here or somewhere else. I chose to stop dating men in my twenties, even though I liked them OK. I mean, some of my best friends, etc. And I was in a relationship with a woman for ten years or so, and perfectly happy to call myself a lesbian. I didn’t miss dating men in the least (or the sex part, either).

    But then I met one or two men in my thirties that I liked enough to date. Now in my forties I choose to only date people who a) don’t drive me nuts and/or b) aren’t “morning people.” I don’t care so much about the plumbing as long as the politics and the chemistry work out OK.

    I get seriously irked, though, when people try to use me as an example to prove that sexual orientation is a “choice” and that it’s an easy one to make. I get to make the choice precisely because I’m bisexual; it’s how I’m wired. I’m not choosing between men and women so much as I’m choosing between people I like and people I don’t like.

    I don’t recommend that straight women “choose” to be lesbians or vice-versa, but I do recommend that everyone choose to be in intimate relationships — if they want such a thing — that don’t piss them off or put them in danger or bore them silly.

    Happy to talk further with you about it: contact -dot- alphagal -at- gmail -dot- com

  139. mustelid

    First off, kisses and ear rubs to poor Zippy!
    On shoes: my feet refuse to be stuffed into anything that’s not a sneaker or hiking boot. The sides and tops get rubbed raw within minutes. Luckily, my current line of work is best done in sneakers or hiking boots. I go for fairly expensive hiking boots, and wear them daily for eight months of the year. For the past five years, I’ve shopped at EMS for the boots. The sneakers generally come from Target. Sneakers and boots are replaced when they begin to disintegrate.

  140. medrecgal

    My best to Zippy for a fast recovery…oddly enough, his name reminded me of a cat I once had, upon whom I bestowed the same name because she was a crazy animal with a propensity to suddenly start zipping around the house for no apparent reason.

    As for shoes…I refuse to wear anything uncomfortable for the sake of appeasing some fashion ideal I will never fit. (High heels and spikes…not in this lifetime!) Ruining my feet is not an option, either. Most of the time I’m stuck in sneakers, because I currently have a job where I must be on my feet all day, and nothing else cushions my feet enough. They must be Nikes, however; I’m hard on my shoes, and they are the most durable and comfortable of any sneaker I’ve ever worn. When I’m not working, I prefer flat or at best low heeled shoes that are flexible. Soft Spots, Mushrooms, and Easy Spirit are some of the more familiar brands I particularly enjoy. It can be tough sometimes to find comfortable shoes when you’re a size 11, though it’s easier than it was about 15 years ago.

    I can’t begin to imagine how many women have ruined their feet trying to live up to the demands of “fashion” and “style”, but I won’t be one of them because I know what the deal is. IBTP.

  141. Sasha

    Here in the northern hemisphere we’re hoping mightiy for summer, hence the sandal discussion. Perhaps Twisty will command us to talk about shoes again in October and you can get the boot discussion. I could use some help in the tall-boots-that-fit-over-my-not-excessively-slim-calves department.

  142. Burrow

    “Birkenstocks may be ugly, but as far as I know, they’re still made in Germany by non-slaves. There aren’t many other choices – mainly because people won’t spend the extra money so shoe companies can pay living wages.”

    Chaco’s are made in the US. Their factory is in CO and you can ship them there to get resoled or restrapped. Non-slave labour AND recycleable!

  143. Jezebella

    I visit for news of Zippy, but I stay for the opportunity to kvetch about shoes.

    Sasha, I feel your pain, sistah. I’m a big girl with large calves and my favorite pair of wide-calf Aerosole boots is wearing out. Come to find out, Aerosoles have stopped producing wide-calf sizes. Because, what? Suddenly all American women are thin?! Give me a break. Even thin athletic women have “wide” calves sometimes! I can’t bring myself to pay retail for shoes, but when fewer and fewer companies are making wide-calf boots, it’s hard as hell to find them in the discount stores. I made it through this winter without having to spend the nearly $200 it appears to cost to buy decent wide-calf boots, but I don’t think I can make it through another. I know who to blame.

  144. Orange

    firsttimeblamer, why not check out the websites of the various shoe brands mentioned here and see which ones offer dress shoes to your liking?

    I like freelancing because I never, ever am compelled to wear shoes that don’t make my feet happy.

  145. rainie

    My all time favorite pair of shoes ever were a pair of Thom McCann (sp?) knockoffs of the Earth Shoe. They fit like they had been made just for my feet and every step felt good through my whole body from the tip of my toes up through every muscle to the top of my head. Walking in them made me smile.

    Most of my childhood I had one pair of shoes at a time. Every time we bought shoes my mother would tell me about having shoe ration coupons when she was a kid and how she only got one pair but her sister got two.

    As an adult I have more than one pair. I have my everyday athletic shoes (whatever fit and was on sale at DSW). I have a more worn pair of athletic shoes that I use for lawn work. I have a pair of flat black Mary Jane style dress shoes. I used to also have sandals, but when they wore out, I couldn’t find a suitable replacement.

  146. kate

    I came here and wondered how a dog post could generate almost 150 comments, then I saw “shoes”, oh yeah. Let me bore you about my boots.

    I work construction and since I started my company, I find myself working in the field nearly seven days a week. So , my shoe choices have to follow the OSHA line and must be perfect for comfort and durability. I have three pairs of boots, two steel toed and one not.

    Chippewa thinsulate lined, vibram soled, water resistent
    Carolina unlined, vibram sole
    Nubuck colored thermal lined

    For the name brand boots, I pay nearly $200 a pair, but here’s the hitch: I haven’t bought a pair of boots since 2005 and those were the cheaper ‘nubuck’ ones, the other ones are five years old and four years old respectively. Ironically they also have heels, (someone please tell me why) angled cuban heel cut type of heels formed as part of the sole or nailed on I (not glued). I need to replace the Carolinas as the leather on the toe has worn off, exposing the steel cap. Just when the leather has perfectly formed around my ankles and calves so that wearing them is like wearing socks with a sole.

    I also have two pairs of doc marten oxfords, one I use for inside finish work and painting that I bought new in 1999, they stood up well until I wore them a couple of times working with concrete; concrete eats leather. The soles are so smooth that they can be hazardous to wear in bad weather.

    The other pair my daughter gave to me last year, I wear them off work or seeing clients.

    That’s my shoe summary, I haven’t bought heels in ten years and I think if I had to wear a suit or a dress again, I’d have to go out and get something dressy to match my suit or dress — of which I have more than I’ll ever need–as I have nothing. I used to play dress-up a lot when my work required it, keep my inventory just in case, minus the shoes as they were cheap and didn’t last.

  147. kate

    “of which I have more than I’ll ever need–as I have nothing.”

    That’s the worst of my bad writing in here. I meant I have the clothes, not the shoes. Sorry.

  148. legallyblondeez

    I agree that women’s shoes come in too narrow a range of sizes (in all senses of the word, since I have wide feet!), and probably more women than men have a tough time finding shoes.

    But since you asked, my husband and several of his friends have size 13 feet and spend a lot of time and money obtaining suitable footwear. My husband, especially, needs size 15 extra-narrow. He refuses to wear dress shoes since the small selection from custom catalogs doesn’t fit his preferences. Good thing the popularity of basketball players has made big tennies easier to find, or I don’t know what he’d do since barefoot is painful for his funky feet as well. IBT . . . genetics? His feet are kinda freaky big and skinny.

  149. legallyblondeez

    Oops. Apparently the “plus” sign won’t publish. So that’s “size 13-plus feet” above.

  150. rainie

    Oops. I forgot. I also have a pair of Doc Marten oxfords that I dearly love, but they are so heavy that some days it makes me tired to wear them.

    For years I had a pair of steel toe light brown leather work boots. They were purchased in 1978 in a K-mart for $12. I wore them literally for decades for hiking, yardword and any outdoorsy thing. In their declining years I sometimes told younger coworkers “I have shoes older than you.”

  151. Hawise

    I used to wear my uncle’s WW2 army boots after my mom passed them on to me. I hate that I outgrew them. My mom still has them somewhere, god they were comfortable. My uncle had really small feet for a man.

  152. hedonistic

    Vibram soles: Yeah baby! Love em! I wore out my Rockports loafers because of them.

  153. BubbasNightmare

    “I’m not choosing between men and women so much as I’m choosing between people I like and people I don’t like.”

    Thank you. Choice of gender isn’t nearly as important as choosing someone that’ll treat you like a human being, rub your feet when you need it, and doesn’t reheat fish in the microwave.

    An old friend of mine (whom identifies as straight) recently revealed that she had sexual feelings for everyone that she considered a good friend. It was so simple a statement, and so profound.

  154. Bird

    It’s spring and a young Canadian blamer’s thoughts turn to sandals? I’ve been stuffed into boots for too many months to find any of them terribly appealing. Well, except that my motorcycle boots are calling me too. They do have a blocky heel (a good thing in a bike boot because it holds on the peg), and they’re really not meant for walking in (designed for comfortable riding, though). They make my heart lift every time I look at them in the closet.

  155. EN

    Love and luck to Zippy!

  156. thebewilderness

    I could be wrong about this, but I suspect the boot heel and leg shaving business started out as a way to make it easier to scrape off the mud of the pre industralized world.

  157. dryxi

    A much belated additional $.02:

    First of all, I realized I sounded extremely cold in my above post. I want to echo the sympathies of other posters when I wish you and Zippy the very best. Bloat IS extremely scary, both of my dogs were Bassets, Freddy and Pluto, and as others have said, larger – chested dogs (Bassets, Great Danes, and barrel chested mutskies (?) like Zippy) are more prone to this condition. I have also heard/read that feeding aforementioned dogs several smaller meals a day instead of one large meal – my own hounds always just ate “breakfast” – decreases the chance of bloat, but that may merely be adoring “parents” desperately grasping for anything to ward off the evil that is stomach torsion.

    Bird, as a budding runner myself (off and on, doing the occasional 5k in the name of some damned charity or another with my mother, but pining after a marathon – gasp! Boston!), I appreciate your advice on the shoes. I have a very worn out pair of Nikes, which of course felt fine when I tried them on in the store, but have never quite fit right while running. I believe there is a FleetFeet in Tulsa, where my mother lives, I’ll give that a try when I’m up there next.

    Anti-sweatshop shopping can be quite the conundrum. I back the philosophy 100% – after all, how can one clamor for one’s own freedom while actively suppressing (men) women and children in third-world nations. The problem is, as Jezebella pointed out, most of us do not make enough money to actually pay for the anti-sweatshop goods. I’ve found this especially true in the running shoes market. The shoes are already expensive – a standard $80 pair of decent shoes is 15 hours of work for me, but when you seek out “fair trade” shoes, you are confronted with limited choices and very high prices. What is a blamer to do? Though I do understand some brands, such as New Balance, are less prone to exploitation of overseas workers than say, the aforementioned Nikes.

  158. dryxi

    Oh, what originally got me going was Jezebella’s comment on Chinese labor. (I’m not entirely sure how the coding for this sort of thing works, so bear with me.)

    “Personally I’ve decided to stop purchasing Chinese-made items whenever possible (if I can tell they were made there) because of the deplorable labor conditions and human rights abuses in that particular country.”

    While deplorable conditions seem rampant in may parts of Asia, as well as any other corner of the world where multinational corporations exploit the weak – South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, etc, China can indeed be a scary place. At my particular place of employment, the local laundromat – what fun! – I work with two Chinese nationals, two Taiwanese nationals, and a Colombian. While each thinks of her/his particular country of origin as home, and each has sentiments accordingly, speaking with these people has yielded some interesting and chilling information.

    The livelihood of the people in third world countries is vexing. On one hand, the human – rights abuses are numerous and atrocities are everyday occurrences; it is easy to point the finger of blame at those evil (Chinese, for example) who will do anything for a profit, including exploit and/or kill their own. (These are not the sentiments I gathered from Jezebella’s comment, by the way.) On the other hand, putting oneself in these people’s shoes (irony?) gives one an entirely different perspective. These people have to feed/clothe/shelter themselves and their families, and every day across the globe decisions have to be made: what appears black and white to many people lounging in the lap of luxury can become quite a gray matter if one is making the decision.

    At any rate, in the future I will try not to publish entire theses when commenting. Additionally, excuse my relative lack of intelligence in comparison to some of the regular commenters here – I am what some would call a “noob” blamer, and my thoughts tend to be disorganized.

  159. dryxi

    Erm, one more thing (Terribly Sorry!). lucizoe, gendered shoes are a P in the A, but some of the best damn shoes I ever owned were a pair of Vans I found in the little boy’s section! Teehee.

  160. Trout

    I’m sorry to hear about your dog. I hope it all turns out OK.


  161. Bird

    dryxi, my New Balance shoes declared proudly on the box that they were made in a union plant in the U.S.—my ideal would be ones made here in Canada, but at least I feel good about my much-loved 767s. I avoid Nike on principle: too many sweatshops, and their empowerful advertising gets right up my nose.

  162. kate

    I forgot to add that I have a pair of ‘cross training” shoes for walking on my treadmill and other hopeful activities. But I refuse to wear them for leisure as I’ve been so damn poor the last few years (since I started this business), that I am afraid to wear them out with regular use. They are Sagony, they’re well fitting and a little wider than other brands. I’d like to get a pair of New Balance in the future, but not the foreseeable future. And I avoid Nike as well when making a choice, they don’t need my money as much as I do.

  163. Catherine Martell

    Tried to post this yesterday, but there was obviously some sort of blockage in the series of tubes. That, or it’ll appear twice.

    Seconding Artemis’s point about sweatshops, and adding, particularly, that “Made In Italy” is absolutely no guarantee of sweatshop-free: quite the opposite, in fact.

    Clothes and shoes that claim to be made in Italy are usually cut and assembled in non-EU Eastern European countries, where wages are low and labour rights minimal. They are then shipped to Italy, where a production line of better-paid Italian workers literally just stick the label on them. The fact that this label-sticking is defined as a manufacturing process, and it occurs in Italy, legally entitles the company to describe the shoe/garment as “Made In Italy”.

    Even things that are fully made in Italy are generally made in the south, which is full of illegal-immigrant-staffed sweatshops, with a great deal of investment and much of the administration supplied by the Mafia and Triad gangs.

    Most first-world countries (US, UK, mainland Europe, Australia) have serious problems with under-the-radar immigrant labour, often staffed by human trafficking and indenture, in illegal sweatshops. (I understand that the problem is smaller, though by no means nonexistent, in geographically peripheral countries such as Canada, Scandinavia, NZ.) Felicity Lawrence’s recent book on supermarkets estimated that about 30% of the UK food industry depends on this sort of exploitation. I’m unsure of the precise stats for the clothing industry, but it’s certainly an enormous problem, especially in Italy and Spain. Stick “Italy sweatshops” into Google and you’ll see what I mean.

    Sorry to be lining up with another bucket of cold water to chuck over the shoe party. But, if you’re paying a higher price for Italian or Spanish goods on the grounds that you assume the difference is going to the workers, you should know that it most definitely is not. Sweatshop-free shoes are actually quite hard to come by, unless you’re prepared to shop on the internet (always a problem with shoes, because trying them on is so important), or you live in a very large city like London, Paris, NY etc that actually has bespoke shoemakers and fairtrade shops.

    Obviously, IBTP for making shoe-buying both an ethical and a physical discomfort.

  164. B. Dagger Lee

    Zippy running bears a resemblance to an old dog of mine, Douglas Funbody, aka “the Bullet Pig,” for his running style. He went into the big mysterious void at the age of eight, not long after Sept. 11.

    The Animal Medical Center is a veterinary teaching hospital here in NYC, open 24/7 and just a frantic, 2AM cab-ride away. It’s a miserable glorious place where on the same night I saw four people in a rugby scrum rush a pug with an oxygen mask on through the waiting room (apparently there is an animal ambulance service here), and a Jordin Sparks-like giantess (but not as giant as me) pull a ferret out of her bosom and stand weeping and cradling the long scrap of panting fur.

    It’s traditional to speed up on the ring roads around Manhattan so as to keep people terrified of driving into Manhattan and many’s the time I’ve been hurtling down the FDR Drive at a terrific pace and turned my head to see into the very exam room at the Animal Medical Center where Doug died.

    As I’ve been saying to Miss Patsy for the last three years as her ancient poodle tramps over us all night long and pees on his feet: After 12 years, every day is frosting and gravy my dear, frosting and gravy.

    Congratulations on more frosting and gravy.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  165. SusanM


    And before youall start telling me about all these great new medications that will cure my toenail fungus, read the fine print. That stuff is hell on your liver

    I, too, have been using the hold-it-at-bay method as I wait for BigPharma to solve this problem in a non-liver damaging way. Per the L.A. Times, there’s hope; they say: New, deep-reaching topical treatments are being tested: Small molecules in one lacquer, right now known only as AN2690, slip more easily through tough nail layers and deliver fungicide to the skin beneath. Clinical trials are ongoing; preliminary results found that about half of nails treated daily for six months ended up growing fungus-free. So, I guess there’s about 50% worth of hope.

  166. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Pets break our hearts. It’s so worth it though, these highs and lows.

    Catherine: Oh, ratzin fratzin I can’t even buy Italian anymore? I guess it’s back to secondhand for me (Ebay, thrift stores). I know it sounds gross, but secondhand doesn’t have to be yukky. I have about 10 pair of business pumps and loafers (barely worn) that I found at my local Goodwill.

    That, and find a good cobbler if you can. Repair, don’t replace! There’s a Russian dude one town over from me who’s been reconstructing my shoes and boots for almost 20 years. I actually have shoes/boots that are almost 30 years old.

    I don’t know what to say about the athletic shoes. Secondhand sneakers really would be gross, though I did find a cool pair of (designer!) yoga shoes at the Goodwill, probably dropped off by a woman who planned to work out but never got around to it. I deal with my athletic-shoe shortage by working out barefoot (jogging on my trampoline at home, jogging on the beach, whatevah) whenever I can, and saving my 10 year old sneaks for gymwear only. I hate spending money on athletic footwear; the sweatshop issue always gives me agita.

  167. Bird

    Catherine, in Canada we’ve been seeing it happen with sex workers. Women from poor Central European countries are told that they are coming here to work as waitresses, typists, or in other jobs. The people who apply for their work visas actually list them as strippers. The women come here and find out that they’re required to strip (and usually are forced to work as prostitutes besides).

    The people who bring them in tell the women that if they go to the authorities, they will be deported. Most of them have nothing to return to, and they’ve spent any money they might have had to get to Canada. So they’re trapped. There are also threats of violence to keep them even more in line.

    Most human trafficking into Canada is for the purposes of sexual exploitation. We don’t have nearly as many illegal sweatshop workers as we have women working in “massage parlours” and other places as prostitutes against their will (a lot of these women—and children—are smuggled in from Asia).

    We do have sweatshops too, don’t get me wrong. In places like Vancouver and Toronto, some garment plants and other manufacturing facilities operate in questionable conditions, and, of course, there’s the sweatshop-like practice of “piece work.” But our biggest abuse of underground, illegal workers is in the sex trade.

  168. Spinning Liz

    After 18 years of playing around on the internets, it still remains a complete mystery to me how I can love Zippy and Miss Patsy’s poodle every bit as much as I love my own dogs.

  169. Helen

    Zippy update?

  170. Uggboot

    I like your blog and have bookmarked it accordingly.

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