This is day number three for me in New York City, but if you asked my feet, they’d say we’ve been here at least a few months.

When heading to NY, I consistently make the mistake – or perhaps choose to maintain the fantasy – that women stroll around looking as if they just walked out of a fashion magazine: the trendy shoes, the flawlessly fitted skirts, the dresses blowing in the Manhattan breeze. I imagine they’ve put some serious thought into their wardrobe choices – and they most certainly don’t sweat, or have Band-Aids covering the blisters on their dainty feet inside of their Manolo Blahniks.

When readying for an adventure here, I pack accordingly – which means one thing: my cowboy boots. Of course then I arrive and after one day of strolling up and down city streets and pounding pavement, I’m nearly reduced to tears from the pain of wearing inappropriate footwear. I’m clearly being punished for my vanity, because the truth is, you cannot walk 127 blocks in cowboy boots. Actual cowboys never walked that far; they rode horses most of the time.

Now, my cowboy boots are a cherished possession, and they never fail to make me feel fashionable and at least slightly hip. Of course, using the word “hip” clearly makes me unhip, but please try to work with me here.

On my 30th birthday, Drew gave me a pair of very cool black boots (of the cowboy variety) from a store in Boston. He’d been shooting a commercial downtown, stumbled upon a boot shop and thought they would be the perfect gift. Upon receiving said boots, I immediately ascertained that my husband knew not one iota about my taste or what would constitute a good birthday gift for the woman he’d known for over a decade.

I pretended to like them, but deep down I thought he was somewhat of an idiot and couldn’t believe he hadn’t just bought me a simple piece of jewelry. Something I could wear every day and show off to my girlfriends. Being age thirty and childless meant that I was obviously still immature and completely out of my mind.

Of course, years later, I wore those boots enough to break them in and they became my most prized possession. And I marveled that Drew could have known that a girl from New Jersey had an inner cowgirl longing to wear boots with her pearls, and just hadn’t tapped into that part of herself yet. He had bought for me what turned out to be not merely a gift, but a life transforming one.

Two years after his death, when the boots were about 13 years old and had gone through numerous re-solings, I finally had to break down and buy another pair. The exact same ones. And now those are getting up there in age, as well.

My point is, they are my comfy, broken-in footwear of choice. And they make me feel fashionable and have become one of my trademarks of sorts, and so I generally wear them in situations that might, perhaps, find other women – possibly smarter, more practical women – wearing sneakers. Or orthopedically correct shoes from Sweden. Or something designed by “Dr. Scholl.”

But not me. So here I am in New York, and I think I may have logged more miles in three days than I’ve logged on my walks on the beaches of Maine in the past three years. And each day I’ve had to come home around 2 p.m. and give my feet the chance to recuperate. Yesterday, I walked so much that I acquired blisters in places I didn’t know you could get them. Band-Aids are my friend.

And the funny part is, I’ve realized that all of those glamorously attired women don’t actually walk anywhere. They take cabs. And go the gym to get their exercise. Duh.

Today I saw an ad for a pair of white, high-top, comfy sneakers with a hot pink high-heeled pump printed on the side. Apparently, I’m not the only one here who wants to have her cake and eat it too.

I think I may have found my next birthday present.

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No Sugar Added is Cape Elizabeth resident Sandi Amorello’s biweekly take on life, love, death, dating and single parenting. Get more of Sandi at or contact her at [email protected]