Walk a mile in someone’s shoes

This phrase gets thrown around a lot, in various forms. It’s usually used to induce empathy in other people. “What if you were the one who had to…”, “Think about how he/she will feel.”, etc.

What if we take the phrase literally?

Comfy shoes

With the right pair of shoes, you can go on for miles. Much longer than if you’r wearing something uncomfortable. Some shoes are so comfy you won’t mind wearing them forever, if they don’t fall apart first.

Small shoes

If you’ve ever worn shoes that are just a little too small for your feet, you’d find that they just can’t be ignored. You’ll be spending most of your time trying to stretch it into a size more comfortable for you or hoping that you’d go to a place where you can take your shoes off. This will probably make you look like you are hyperactive, or very irritable, or very distracted.

High heels

For those who are not used to it, you’ll have to be very careful with how you’re walking, especially if the heel wasn’t made with a very good balance. You cannot imagine how much effort goes into keeping upright, especially in places where the pointed end of the heel can potentially get stuck to the ground, like escalators. Then they are those who are used to wearing high heels. If you ask any frequent high heel wearers, you’ll find that once they take their heels off, walking on flat ground feels very weird. There’re also articles and reports that tell people that high heels shouldn’t be worn all the time, but many women still wear them. Why?

Because they look pretty.

And taller.

And because they’re used to them.

The list of reasons go on and on. Some valid, some not so valid.

Very high heels

If you don’t have any experience with them, one (or more) of a few things can happen: you trip, a few steps is enough to put your feet in immense pain, you walk funny, you need something to support you to walk, you prefer to sit than walk (which means that those heels are there just to look pretty). Either way, you’ll probably need to put more thought into how you walk when wearing really high heels than when wearing normal, comfy shoes.

So, like many phrases and idioms that float around in most cultures, there is a logical basis behind the phrase ‘to walk a mile in someone’s shoes’. (Although, a lot of people who have never worn high heels before probably wouldn’t be able to walk a full mile in very high heels.)


Posted on June 23, 2012, in Random. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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