Why I change my shoes 12 times every day

12 Dec

On any given day in Korea, I change my shoes 12 times! And I’m not addicted to shoes.

As soon as I’m out of bed in the morning, I put on my inside house shoes. These are like soft slippers which keep my feet warm in winter and clean in summer. I walk 3 metres to the bathroom where I change into my bathroom shoes. This is because, in Asia, most bathrooms don’t have a separate shower. Instead there’s a nozzel attached to the wall so during a shower everything gets wet. The bathroom shoes keep my feet dry.

When I leave the house, I change into my outside shoes. For most Koreans these are either high heels (even in the snow), boots or, in my case, sneakers. When I arrive at school, I change into my inside school shoe. This is a comfortable informal slipper and it looks quite bizarre on my principal who wears a suit and tie every day with his fluffy slippers.

When I leave school, I change back into my outside shoes, leaving my slippers at school. If I visit a restaurant, some one’s house or a private academy, I will have to change out of my outside shoes into their inside shoes. Some places provide a comfortable, open toe slipper while others expect you to walk around in your socks, and leave your shoes in a huge pile at the door. Once, after a teacher’s dinner, I heard a coworker gasp loudly as he realised that he was wearing one of his shoes and one of someone elses.

When I go to my dance aerobic class, I now have to carry with me an inside pair of training shoes. So I arrive at the studio, wearing my outside sneakers and then I change into my inside sneakers for the class. Then when I leave the class, I change back into my outside sneakers.

Upon arriving home, I wear my inside shoes and then my bathroom shoes before stumbling into bed exhausted. But, strangely, since I only need 4½ pair of shoes (we share the bathroom pair), I probably own less shoes than you. And the best part is, I never have to ask: what shoes should I wear today?




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