“Do you think you can fix a pair of leather sandals?” I asked the repair man over the phone.

“Sure! I’ve been in the business for years.”

I brought my sandals to his shop and set them on the counter in front of us. Silence filled the room. I watched him struggle to remain composed, professional.

“I’ve never seen shoes so worn in my life….I can’t fix your sandals. I’m sorry.”

I’m a shoe murderer. When I buy a new pair, I often flip them over, hold them in my hands, feeling the need to apologize to the sole. This is going to be brutal. I’m sorry. You’re about to be strapped to special need’s feet.

And then the pounding begins. Step after step my shoes hit the pavement until I wear a hole in the bottom, every time, just under my left toe. Some people keep shoes for years; I’m lucky if they last the better half of nine months. I own several pairs of shoes and most hit the trash faster than I’d like, but here’s what I’ve learned in all my years of murdering shoes, one sole at a time:

1. When I have the choice, I always choose comfort over style. I like looking cute as much as the next girl, but there’s nothing fashionable about tripping over shoes that don’t fit or won’t stay on your feet.

2. Find shoes that hug your feet. The more snug the better. If you can find sandals with straps, buy them!

3. Rotate your shoes often. I usually wear one pair to work and another out and about if I have evening plans. I also usually never wear the same pair to work two days in a row. Rotating noticeably cuts down on foot pain.

4. I have three favorite brands: Reebok when wearing inserts and my AFO because they are wider tennis shoes, Rockports because they offer great support and some style, and Keens: I’ve never worn better sandals. They protect my toes and are so comfortable. They clean up well too!

5. When I find a shoe I like, I usually purchase it in multiple colors. It’s hard to find a flat shoe that can be worn with a dress, so when I find a pair, I like to purchase it in brown and black. The same is true for a nice pair of boots. If the shoe fits…wear it!

6. Invest in some Yak Trax: These handy little attachments strap to the bottom of your boot converting them into a snow shoe of sorts. Find a pair of walking sticks and you’re good to go!