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Senior Correspondent

Shoes, shoes and more shoes — I recently cleaned out various parts of my wardrobe and discovered shoes I didn’t know I had.

They were tucked away in the attic, some still in the original boxes, as well as in every nook and cranny of several closets. I seemed to have a penchant for buying the same style in every color available.

My husband and I decided this Lenten season to put at least one item a day in a bag to donate rather than giving something up as in past years. It really worked well as our closets have become leaner and lighter. This cleansing made me realize how I had not purged my shoe possessions for quite some time.

But back to the shoes. I know some of them I kept for sentimental reasons — heels that I can no longer wear and colors I would never be seen in ever again. What feeds this obsession to seek out the perfect addition to a wardrobe or to update something I have?

Research reveals that shoes are definitely an obsession for men and women and are a talking point that doesn’t become a sexist remark. You can tell someone you like his or her shoes without appearing to notice any taboo part of the body.

In addition, shoes seem to give the buyers a rush of adrenaline that propels them into a cloud of bliss. I know I have felt something similar to this but mainly when I find a great sale — 50 percent or less off the original price. The mark-up on shoes must be over the top as the final price can be nowhere near the asking.

The ultimate shoe story that changed a life is of course the Cinderella fairy tale that thrust her out of the cinders into the castle of her prince charming. That glass slipper may be behind the love and compulsion that many of us have for shoes.

As I took inventory during my recent shoe decluttering, I found I also have an intense attraction to boots — short, tall, practical or totally useless styles. I couldn’t part with any of them at this time but maybe next year.

I did not dare count the pairs of footwear that I own. I know I could not handle it, and my family and friends would use it against me if I ever revealed my total. It has to be in the hundreds, but I did reduce it some with this spring’s purging.

As I have matured, my shoe buying has progressed somewhat into a realm of comfort. I used to buy a size close to the one my feet measure — if the store was out of my size, I would try a smaller or larger size. Not a good idea. One dear friend of mine remarked at a particularly good sale that it “doesn’t matter if it fits if it is a good price!” That type of logic is probably why so many of us now have troubled feet.

A modern convenience has made it even easier to buy shoes: the Internet. If I see a pair of shoes I can’t live without and my size is not available, I immediately Google it and most of the time I can find it. Often I will look for coupons or discounts to make it a little easier to justify.

While a great deal of research and time have gone into the world of shoes — determining personality traits by the type of shoes, as well as special exhibits, calendars, books, and other publications that try to understand a woman’s (and sometimes a man’s) shoe obsession — I can only speak for myself as I sort by color and style … I really like shoes!

As a notepad given to me by a dear friend exclaims: “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy shoes!”

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