Shoetopia will be opening soon. Just two more days until the fashionistas of Second Life® can descend on shoe lover’s heaven, literally so as the build is itself heavenly. A brief bloggers preview run through tells me that folks will be thrilled with the variety, creativity and quality of shoes and that the most difficult aspect of Shoetopia will be deciding what to buy.
Some people love to make fun of people’s love of shoes, as though it is somehow decadent to enthuse over that fusion of art and engineering, but while shoes can be and often are extravagant indulgences for some, they are also the most important article of clothing there is.
Most of us are lucky enough to have shoes for many functions, daywear for work, formal dress shoes for special occasions, work shoes to protect us from harm while gardening or chopping wood, boots and galoshes for cold and rain, and even specialized athletic shoes for different activities. Not all people are so lucky. In a working class family, they may buy one pair of new shoes for the school year – and hope no one grows too quickly. I grew up in a such a family and know very well the dilemma of choosing one pair that must be strong and hardy enough for the year. Those shoes are never delicate and dainty. Loafers, saddleshoes, oxfords, those last a year. Mary Janes? Not so much.
My parents never encouraged me to go barefoot to save on shoes in the summer. A good thing, since many kids get hookworm from walking around barefoot. On top of the risk of broken glass, sharp objects and hot burning tar on the road, parasites are a serious health hazard for those who go barefoot. Soles4Souls is a charity aimed at making sure people have the shoes they need to protect them and help them lead a healthier, safer life. Kids cannot go to school without shoes – so they are also important to reducing poverty. This is a critical, and often neglected, charitable need and Shoetopia aims to raise funds to donate to Soles4Souls efforts.