A Pair of Shoes

red reeboksMay 26, 2014  Prompt #26

It’s Clothing Week here at The Writeous Sisters.  All the prompts will help you connect the physical with the abstract and delve into the story of objects everywhere.


Last year, the University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History hosted “To Feel The Earth,” an exhibit about the history and tradition of moccasins among the indigenous peoples of the American Southwest. I was moved to learn about the spiritual connection that comes from feeling  soil, rocks, and grasses through the soles of our shoes. Similarly, phrases like “walk a mile in another man’s shoes” and “boots on the ground” speak the the power and symbol of shoes.


  1. Choose a pair of shoes that you currently own or that you remember vividly.
  2. For five minutes, write down the facts of these shoes. Describe their style and color. Did you buy them new? Find them a thrift store? Did someone give them to you? When did you begin wearing them? Are they worn or still look like new?
  3. Next, write their (and your) story.  How did you feel wearing them? Athletic, stylish, sexy, competent, ashamed? Do you associate a particular person, place, or stage of your life with them?  Do you polish them? Have you thread in new laces? Did you ever get them repaired? Do you still own them? Did you outgrow them or give them away?

Further Writing

  • In poetry or micro fiction, write about strapping on or lacing up for a memorable outing in the shoes. Keep your descriptions and narrative tight.
  • As today is Memorial Day, write about a pair of Army boots.

Variations for Writing Groups

  1. Each member brings in two pairs of shoes (or photos of shoes).
  2. Each member writes descriptions of people written on separate index cards. (For instance, “Ten-year old girl, raised in Chicago, visiting New Hampshire for the first time.” “Middle-aged woman returning to an office job after 10 years working at home.”  “Wyoming car mechanic, getting ready for a date, two years after his wife has died.)
  3. Match up people with shoes. Write for 20 minutes.

See the following post “Twelve Black Shoes” for my shoe story.

What did you think of this writing prompt? Share your thoughts.

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