this silly news video on Yahoo today [vid no longer there– about "the psychology of shoes"], and it just sprouted this little stream of consciousness. Enjoy.
A vintage shoe archive?! Such a thing exists?! I love this logo:
"'The Red Shoes' […]Here is a Magyar-Germanic version my Aunt Tereza used to tell us when we were children. In her version of the tale, she always began by saying, 'Look at your shoes, and be thankful they are plain … for one has to live very carefully if one's shoes are too red.' […]
"As we shall see, the loss of the handmade red shoes represents the loss of a woman's self-designed life and passionate vitality, and the taking on of a too-tame life. This eventually leads to loss of accurate perception, which leads to excess, which leads to loss of the feet, the platform on which we stand, our basis, a deep part of our instinctual nature that supports our freedom. 'The Red Shoes' shows us how a deterioration begins and what state we come to if we make no intervention in our own wildish behalf. […] "In the tale we see that the child loses the red shoes she has fashioned for herself, those that made her feel rich in her own special way. […] She had progressed from having no shoes to having shoes that gave her a sense of soul in spite of the difficulties of her outer life. The handmade shoes are marks of her rising out of a mean psychic existence into a passionate life of her own design. […] Socially, shoes send a signal, a way of recognizing one type of person from another. […] Shoes can tell something about what we are like, sometimes even who we are aspiring to be, the persona we are trying out. The archetypal symbolism of the shoe goes back to ancient times, when shoes were a mark of authority: rulers had them, slaves didn't. Even today, much of the modern world is taught to make immoderate judgments about a person's intelligence and abilities based on whether he or she wears shoes or not, as well as whether those who wear shoes are 'well-heeled'or not. […]
"The symbol of shoes can be understood as a psychological metaphor; they protect and defend what we stand on– our feet. In archetypal symbolism, feet represent mobility and freedom. In that sense to have shoes to cover the feet is to have the conviction of our beliefs and the wherewithal to act on them. Without psychic shoes a woman is unable to negotiate inner or outer environs that require acuity, sense, caution, and toughness. "The fact that the shoes are red indicates that the process is going to be one of vibrant life, which includes sacrifice. This is right and proper. The fact that these shoes are handmade and pieced from scraps point to the child symbolizing the creative spirit, who, being motherless and untaught for whatever reasons, has pieced this all together for herself using native perception. And brava! what a fine and soulful accomplishment."
Quotes from Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Ballantine Books, 1992), pp. 215-223.
And another story, from my Grandma, to which I will ascribe absolutely no psychological analysis whatsoever:
... She saved up her money to buy high heeled alligator shoes and a matching handbag …
Coincidentally, this week I also ordered the shoes for my wedding…