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Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

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The Price of Comfort

The older I get and the older my body parts get—in this case, my feet—the more I gravitate toward shoes manufactured in Italy.

No wonder the country is shaped like a boot.

There's something about shoes made in Italy. It's uncanny, really. As soon as I slip them on it's a perfect fit. As soon as I take that first step—and the second and the third—there's no pain. And then, I look down and I like—no, love—what I see: style and comfort, a truly rare combination. Made in Italy.


I'm lucky enough not to have too many foot problems related to old feet, like bunions, hammertoes, calluses, corns, bone spurs … shall I go on? And yet, my feet are not perfect.

I will confess to a neuroma, an inflamed nerve that sends me into fits of wincing pain and feels like I'm walking on rocks if I happen to wear the wrong type of shoe. I'm to blame. It's caused by wearing the wrong shoes for too many years: too narrow, too high, too tight—all in the name of looking good.

And then there's this reality check: I'm 5-foot-9. Do I REALLY need heels so high? (Don't answer that.)

I'm hardly asking for pity here. But one thing I want you to know is this: I wore high heels once, and I want to wear them again, dammit. I'm not ready to give up that privilege. What I am willing to give up is the pain that comes with wearing said heels. Is that asking for too much?

That's why I found camaraderie and hilarity in reading Joyce Wadler's recent article in the New York Times, "The $1,000 Shoes."

Desperately in need of comfortable shoes after coming to her senses when a pair of Naturalizer pumps (you know those—the ones that are supposed to be "built for comfort and style") failed her feet, she thought had no choice but to make a big investment in a pair of kinder, gentler shoes.

How many times have you felt so desperate and disheartened when something that's supposed to be sensible and comfortable is anything but?

That's when Joyce took action: She went to a shop to have shoes made just for her. Custom shoes. Crazy expensive shoes—to the tune of almost $1,000.

In her head, she heard an outraged reader insult her decision, and to make it worse, she had to listen to her father screaming from his grave.

She tells it better than I ever could.

The question used to be, "What Price Beauty?" (Actually, that is the title of a silent film from the 1920s, featuring Myrna Loy. I wonder if she was wearing sexy high heels in it.)

But in this case, it's better to ask, "What Price Comfort?"

What are comfortable feet worth to you? Share your favorite shoe and foot comfort tips below.

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