If the shoe fits

Some women are footwear fanatics

Misty Schultze was 8 years old when she found her first pair of must-have shoes.

A pair of white wooden clogs caught her eye, and she knew she had to have them. She begged her grandmother, who convinced Schultze's mother to let her have them.

"I finally won my grandma over and got them," she said.

Schultze said she thinks her passion for finding fashionable footwear came from her grandmother.

"It must be genetic," Schultze said.

Wherever her shopping hobby originated, Schultze's interest has turned into a closet-changing experience.

As she and her husband, Mason, prepared to move to a new home, Schultze made sure the master bedroom had a closet large enough to store, or rather, display, 60 pairs of shoes.

"That's the selling point of this house," she said. "It has a huge walk-in closet."

Can't get enough

Schultze isn't alone in her love of fine footwear.

Diana Cook's 90 pairs of shoes fit in her full-size closet, barely.

Her son, Cameron, 10, thinks his mom's passion for shopping and wearing shoes is a bit silly.

"She only has two feet," he said.

He has just six pairs of shoes, and only three still fit.

But Cook's shoes all fit, even the Dr. Scholl's pair she's owned since 1974. Those, along with others, have been a part of her wardrobe so long they have returned to fashion.

But she still can't seem to have enough.

"Anytime I'm anywhere shopping, shoes are on the list," Cook said. "Sometimes you buy shoes, then you have to buy an outfit to go with them."

Heels, sandals and boots are the most fun part of an ensemble, Cook said.

"Shoes you enjoy over and over," she said. "Groceries, you eat them, and then you can't fit into your clothes."

He doesn't understand

Cook said shopping for clothes is sometimes discouraging, particularly with her petite stature.

"But with shoes, you find your size, and generally, it works," she said. "So you feel that sense of success with a pair of shoes."

That feeling of accomplishment comes at a price. With 90 pairs of shoes, at a conservative $30-a-pair estimate, Cook's collection comes in at about $2,700.

Schultze is more comfortable breaking down her shoe expenses in yearly terms.

"I'm guessing in a year, I could easily spend $600 on shoes," she said.

Her husband isn't too happy with the expensive habit, she said.

"He's disgusted," Schultze said. "Some of our more heated arguments have come over shoes. He really is a nice, laid-back guy, but he just doesn't understand."

Style over comfort

Ruth Greenwood, a stylist and co-owner of Tranzformations Salon, said she understands shoe addictions but doesn't have one.

"I'm on my feet all day. I just look for the most comfortable, well-padded shoes I can find," Greenwood said. "I have to wear comfortable shoes, so I can't get into those fun, funky shoes."

Cook concedes that not all her shoes are practical. The first winter after she moved here from Texas, Cook wore heels, tripped on a walkway and fell down.

But although shoes may not always be built for comfort, style is what's important, she said.

"It's just a different expression of my personality," she said.

Finding such fashion statements is no easy task in Craig, Schultze said.

"It was a sad day when Payless closed," she said.

No stopping her

Now the only options are Kmart and Maurice's.

Maurice's co-manager Jenny Otis said shoes are a popular item at the store. The retailer mostly carries women's shoes. The store offers men's flip-flops in the warmer months.

"People do come in here and make that comment, that there's nowhere else to buy shoes," Otis said.

Schultze travels to Grand Junction and Denver to get her fix. She also shops online. When she finds a pair she can't resist, there's no stopping her, she said.

"So many of (my pairs) look the same, but I just keep buying them," she said. "You just feel good when you're in a new pair of shoes."

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