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This is my life in footwear.

Derby, running, CrossFit, work
The idiomatic expression, "to wear many hats," refers to the different roles/responsibilities we take on in life, but for me, I think it's more accurate to refer to my footwear.

I put my feet through a lot, every day. I mean it, they SERIOUSLY take a beating, and never EVER from being forced into tight, strappy heels either. (If I'm going to torture my feet, I'm going to make it worthwhile.) My feet would be considered by most to be ugly and unfeminine - I do not have smooth, dainty feet with toenails painted seashell pink. My feet are large (my running shoes are a men's 2E width!) and calloused (I've never needed to buy sandpaper), and at the end of a long day, the veins bulge a little bit. Lovely, right?

But they are at the crux of everything I do in my life that is worthwhile, and for this reason, they could never be considered truly ugly. My feet help me maneuver around the track. My feet carry me for miles and miles down trails. My feet are my base of support when I'm lifting a heavy barbell in the air. My feet take me around to each and every student in my classroom. (My legs help too, but they're generally clad in the same thing - workout pants or jeans.)

And equally as important are my shoes. (And skates.) It's a societal joke how much girls love their footwear, and I guess you could say that I do too, but it's never been about having perfect, cute shoes to match my outfit. My shoes are as equally beat up as my feet (except maybe my Converse shoes above, which I only recently bought for CrossFit after realizing that I could squat better in flat shoes than cushiony running shoes). I've had my skates about two years now, and they've been with me through virtually every stage of growth as a skater; my running shoes get replaced every year, but I've worn the same brand/model for a couple of years, and this year especially has had the most wear-and-tear because of all the races and training; and my flats with the bows on them are my most practical shoes for work, since we have such a large, spread-out campus that requires a lot of walking to get around. Plus, I don't like to fiddle with laces or straps when I'm trying to get out the door really quickly in the morning.

I do have many, many, many, many other pairs of shoes, including heels, but these are the four that I wear the most. These are the ones I'd save in a fire. (And maybe also my two pairs of knee-high Steve Madden boots =P) These are the ones that I cannot live without, because if I didn't have them, I would not be able to do all the things that I love to do. And if I could not do those things, I would not be me. These shoes are me. They are my life, in quite a literal way.

Left to right in the photo: Riedell Wicked skates (265 boot/Dynapro plates) with Atom Wheels; ASICS GT-2170; Converse All-Star low-tops; Born ballet flats