With One Pair of Shoes

At this time of year, a midst the mosquitoes and other wildlife, people everywhere take off with their coolers packed, their tent rolled, and most times, kids in tow. The outdoors family does not let anything stand in their way of the weekend family camping trip. Although I have never really seen the enamored attraction of pitching a tent and sleeping on the ground, I seem to be the minority among a lot of my friends.

Okay, I tried it. Once.  A small tent, two people, a dog and the rain. I was a good sport about the adventure at first. I was even a little bit excited at the thought of “roughing it” for a weekend. I packed with all the requirements for a weekend getaway. I brought along my hair dryer, my straightener and of course the makeup. Everything was loaded into the car. The cooler, the tent, just the bare necessities of clothing, my salon essentials, the dog and one pair of shoes. I was on my way to enjoy a weekend that would be remembered for years to come.

Upon arrival, things weren’t looking so badly. After all, most of my friends were already pitched and ready and sitting beside a large campfire seemingly having a great time. This is when the work began, which seemed to be an oversight in disclosure by my weekend camping partner. I thought we would pull up a chair by the fire and join the conversation, but, no. Apparently the tent is the first objective to be addressed. It was a small tent, how long could that take? Let me tell you, a while. I was so worn out from the fun I was having that I feel asleep in front of the campfire and left to stumble through uncharted land in the dark to a tent. Remember, I said one pair of shoes. If I hadn’t known that I was wearing tennis shoes, I would have sworn they were duck shoes because they managed to find every puddle between the campfire and the tent.

The next morning, I woke up feeling a little braver and a lot stiffer. It was now time for the float trip. Another first for me, a canoe. Again, how hard could it be?  Let me tell you, hard. Two people, a cooler and a dog. Oh, and my one pair of shoes, already wet and muddy from the trek the night before. The day went much as expected. In the middle of a river, in the middle of Missouri, in the middle of a canoe, I sat.  In the rain. But not just rain. A thunderstorm.  At least the mud was coming off of my one pair of shoes. You would think that the serenity of my surroundings would bring me closer to God, but in fact the closeness resulted from sitting in an aluminum canoe with lightening all around. I am not sure who was shaking worse, the dog or me.

Later that evening, we made it back to the campsite. I managed to get sunburn from the half hour of sun before the storm, covered in bug bites, and sand in my one pair of shoes. Camping at that point began to take on a whole new meaning to me. Where was this fun I heard so much about? So far my experience was blisters, bites, burns and stiff muscles. Walking up the hill with my shoes in hand, I heard laughter. All of my friends were once again circled around the fire seemingly having a great time. Sitting down, I decided to find out where this joy in camping had been hiding. And I found it. It was right there, around that campfire. The joy of togetherness, camaraderie. The feeling that we each had been through something terrible, but had conquered it as a whole. The feeling of friendship.  Holding my shoes, I started to look around. Every pair of feet I looked at had shoes on quite different than mine. Why hadn’t I been let in on this secret? At first I felt left out and rejected. But, then it occurred to me. I had the secret. I was able to find the secret with the help of my one pair of shoes.

So, here is my secret. Before anything else, make sure that you have a good pair of shoes for camping before you go. There are many name brands suitable for camping and water. You don’t have to find out the way I did. HouserShoes.com carries shoes for the entire family in brands you know and trust. Teva, Keen and Chaco are only a few of the brands you can find at HouserShoes.com that will hold up to any family camping trip.

When thinking about that camping trip today, I remind myself of a few things. I voluntarily put myself there. I wasn’t threatened. I wasn’t dragged. I went by my own free will. I can say today that I went camping. With one pair of shoes.

Shoes from A-Z

I wear shoes. Most everyone I know wears shoes. Like many women, I hold a certain fondness for shoes. I have even bought shoes before that I loved so much I threatened to sleep in them. Most think that men wear shoes out of necessity, but I have known men that have the same appreciation and love for nicely made shoes bordering on the verge of obsession.

But, how much do you really know about what you are putting on your feet? Have you ever seen a pair of shoes that someone was wearing and loved them? So, you set out on a quest to find that pair of shoes. Sure, you knew the color and the basic style, but other than that you were clueless. When trying to describe these shoes to a salesperson, you can only come up with terms like the color, the heel size and maybe the material from which the shoe was made.

Well, your shoe terminology is about to exceed that of some that work in the shoe industry. Each week, I will be posting a shoe term glossary that will help you describe that long sought after pair of shoes. In each post, I will cover a letter of the alphabet in a glossary format including terms used throughout the shoe industry. This post will consist of terms starting with the letter A. So, let’s get started in improving our shoe IQ.


Aglet – The plastic covering or sheath at the end of shoe laces, making it easier to lace shoes and prevent the string from unraveling. Historically, aglets were much more decorative in the past than today where the aglet serves as only a functional component.

Algonquin Toe – A term used to describe two pieces of leather joined together at the shoes front center part of the shoe (Vamp) and the strip of leather between the upper and the sole (Welt). Named after the Algonquin Indian Tribe, who in the Eighteenth Century is responsible for this design. Also referred to as a Split Toe.

Alligator Leather – A reptile hide either natural or man-made with a wide boxed print.

Alum Tanning – A process which is not actually a tanning process because it doesn’t use tannic acids.  Uses aluminum salts and a variety protein binders such as egg yolk. The leather processed this way will revert back to raw leather if the material is soaked in water long enough to remove the alum salts. This process produces very light leather but is not as supple as vegetable tanned leathers.

Aniline Leather – Process of taking a very high quality of leather and using aniline dyes that retains the texture and blemishes of the original leather.

Ankle Strap – A strap with and adjustable buckle or elastic attached at the rear of a shoe encircling the ankle.

Ankle Wrap – Straps that are long enough and meant to be tied around the ankle creating a stylish accent.

APMA – American Podiatric Medical Association includes top physicians in the study of feet and ankles. The APMA seal is used to educate both physicians and consumers on shoes that promote safety, effectiveness and quality in the areas of normal foot functioning and overall good health.

Apron Toe – A large material overlay that covers the toe of a shoe with a visible edge or stitching.

Arch – Large curved area of the foot between the ball of the foot and heel. Also, the part of the shoe referring the raised area of the insole that provides comfort and support.

Next week, I will be posting the glossary as it relates to terms starting with the letter B. I hope you find some of the terms useful and the next time you shop for shoes you can make a more informed decision on which shoes to purchase. When looking at shoes online at HouserShoes.com, you are sure to find name brand shoes with the elements mentioned in this glossary. If you have any questions about shoes you are considering from HouserShoes.com or any part of those shoes, the Customer Service Reps with HouserShoes.com are very well versed in shoes and the terminology, and will be happy to answer your questions.

So, stay tuned for next week when I cover all terms related to shoes and the letter B. If you have any terms that you would like to add or any that I may have left out, please let me know!


If the Shoe Fits!

In recent weeks, a lot of talk has surrounded the celebrations of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The underlying reason for the celebration of these days is the joy that it brings to children in honoring their parents. Young and old, children love to give back to their parents. Young children especially seem to take pride in presenting a handmade construction paper card written in crayon or possibly a glued on macaroni family. Children give such unconditional love and the trust they possess in their parents is indisputable and unwavering.

The younger the child is, the more trust that is placed in the parent. A toddler is not capable of making decisions that will affect them, so it is trusted that the parent makes those decisions. An important decision for parents, that in my opinion, is not taken as seriously as it sometimes should be, is deciding on what type of shoes for a toddler or young child.

Children don’t normally complain about an improper fitting shoe, so it is up to the parent to know what to look for when it is time to buy new shoes and if the shoes they are buying are the right fit for their child. A child’s developing foot can be manipulated by the type of shoes they wear due to their foot molding to the particular shoe they wear. Therefore, if a bad fitting shoe is worn, the foot will mold to the shape of the shoe causing foot problems later in life. This is the reason that hand me down shoes are not a good idea for kids. The former kid’s footprint will be molded to the shoes not allowing the proper fit for the next child in line. Just like an adult, the best time to shop for shoes is late in the afternoon to compensate for the foot swelling slightly. Children’s shoes should have rounded toes with enough space that the toes can freely wiggle, a semi flexible sole, but still rigid enough to add support, and wide enough that the shoe fits comfortably without adding pressure on the sides of the feet. Ventilation is important, so the shoe should be made out of a breathable material or a style that allows airflow.

Shopping for shoes is usually not as fun for a child as going to the park, so to make it easier on yourself and the sales people. Make sure that your child is well rested, isn’t hungry (bringing along a snack can be a great help, non-messy of course), and give your child the freedom to actually try the shoe, not just try on the shoe. I always let my children run in the shoes they were trying. My son was always amazed at how fast his new shoes ran. This way, you can look to see if there may be potential problems, plus it makes the child feel like they are part of the buying process. Another tip, since children don’t complain about their feet hurting unless something obvious is wrong; take a minute after removing their shoes to hold their feet in your hands. While rubbing them gently, squeeze while feeling the entire length of the foot. If something hurts, you will know.

HouserShoes.com carries many different lines of children’s shoes that are made with children in mind. Keen is a brand that makes a great children’s shoe. Keen shoes have a rounded bumper toe which is wide enough to allow for the wiggle room, has a non- slip supportive sole and plenty of ventilation. Chooze are great shoes for little girls. The left shoe never matched the right, which the company Chooze does to allow for an individual style. Chooze also promotes programs to empower women and girls. For example, Chooze uses their profits to make loans to women in order to give them a chance to overcome and succeed. HouserShoes.com also carries many other name brands that excel in kids shoes. Skechers, Keds, Stride Rite and B.O.C by Born are only a few.

You can order all of the above brands and more from HouserShoes.com. If you are unsure about the size, there are online tools you can use. These sites that offer a free downloadable paper measuring scale. Any search engine can lead you to these.  You can also order measuring devices from other retailers starting at about $7 for a plastic version. Whether you are buying in one of the many store locations or online, HouserShoes.com offers the same large selection of name brands, quality and service for children as they are known for offering in adult selections.

Trendy Shoes at What Price? Affordable

Like many women, I love shoes. I have managed to acquire quite a selection of shoes over the years. I am never really worried about the latest fashion trends. Although, to a certain degree, I try to be trendy in the way I dress. I believe history repeats itself, and in that belief, fashion history repeats also. The same Sperry Topsiders that I wore in high school remain popular today, maybe even more so than 30 years ago. There are classic brands and styles that endure the ever changing trends and remain on the forefront of shoe fashion. For these reasons, I retain brands and styles in my wardrobe that may not be considered by some as a trendy style for the times. But, more times than not, the trends change and styles that have been hiding in the back of my closet are given a rebirth. I take them out, dust them off, and once again, I am engaging in the latest shoe fashions.

I can remember clogs, wedges and Wallabys being very popular when I was in the third grade. In recent years, these are also styles that have made an ever increasing come back due to their classic and versatile styling. I love wedge shoes and hope to add a few more pairs to my wardrobe for this summer. They make ideal shoes for the summer season due to the flexibility of style and the ability to wear them with a multitude of outfits. A nice pair of wedged shoes can go from the beach to a nice restaurant to a movie and enhance any outfit from a pair of shorts to a summer cocktail dress. With the increasing popularity of wedges, finding the style and color is an easier process than it was when I was in the third grade.

HouserShoes.com carries many name brands that offer wedge shoes in many style and colors. One of my favorites is B.O.C. by Born in the Dianna style. With a name like Born, the quality is unsurpassed and the affordable price offered by HouserShoes.com makes this shoe an ideal summer candidate. The Dianna Red Floral Wedge Heel is a very attractive shoe with a red upper and a floral wedge heel. This is soon to be a classic go to shoe for my collection. B.O.C by Born also has other wedge style shoes. The Brygida comes in black and champagne and both feature a cork wedge heel, a very classic look in this type of shoe.

Volatile is another brand carried by HouserShoes.com that features a thong type shoe with a wedged heel, giving the traditional flip flop shoe an enhanced and classy look. Two of my favorite styles by Volatile are the Presto Silver and Dragon Brown. Both are thong sandals with a matching pattern upper and wedge heel. These sandals are perfect for shorts, sundresses or jeans and can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion.

Another similar, trendy brand carried by HouserShoes.com is John Fashion. John Fashion offers many styles including a cork wedge thong. With a wedged heel measuring approximately three inches, this shoe is another perfect choice for any summer occasion. This particular wedged sandal comes in three different colors; blue, black and pearl and features a jewel embellished upper.

Including the three brands mentioned above, HouserShoes.com carries many brands and styles of summer shoes appropriate for any outing or adventure you may encounter throughout your summer. Fashion does not have to be expensive to be trendy. HouserShoes.com carries name brand shoes at affordable prices for everyone. Pierre Dumas is a brand with many styles and colors of summer shoes and sandals with the majority starting at $19.97! With so many brands to choose from and prices that match any wallet, HouserShoes.com is your go to closet for all of your classic summer shoes!

GB Shoes is Houser Shoes

I am writing this blog article to clear up any confusion that any of our readers may have when it comes to HouserShoes.com and  GB Shoes. To start off, I will just say that they are one and the same. The reason I feel this is necessary is because the internet can be a very cut throat place when it comes to a company and its brand placing high within the search engine results. Even for an established company, the placement in search engines is not a guarantee. It takes work on someone’s part to maintain those placements on a continual basis in order to guarantee exposure in this ever-changing and high stakes game of internet retail.

There are companies that try and take a short cut in this process. There have been some large corporations that have hired SEO (Search Engine Optimization) firms to handle how they appear in search engines and page rankings. The ways these placements were achieved were less than reputable and resulted in the companies involved being called out and removed from the particular search engines where the violations occurred.

Why am I telling this? Well, it seems that a company managed to obtain a URL that directly affects HouserShoes.com and they are pulling their results from loyal customers of HouserShoes.com placing them above the true company in search results. There is nothing illegal about this practice, they obtained an available URL through the same means anyone does. The problem with the URL they obtained is that it happens to be GBshoes-dot-com(I have written the URL in this way in order to not provide a link for this company). Do you see the problem? Anyone that knows that HouserShoes.com and GB Shoes are the same company may not be fooled, but, if you aren’t privy to the knowledge that HouserShoes.com and GB Shoes or GB Shoe Warehouse are the same company, you could very easily be ordering your shoes from a company based in China with questionable quality and service. The quality and service you have become to know and respect from the true company of HouserShoes.com and GB Shoes; The quality and service that the founder, Gary Houser, has maintained since the company’s inception in 1976.

Along with their online presence, HouserShoes.com and GB Shoes retain their successful brick and mortar stores which preserve the philosophy and the same foundation Mr. Houser first conceived when building his brand of stores, “Customers are the most important people in any business”. Mr. Houser remains consistent in the nurturing and wisdom in his online store, the same as he felt from opening his first brick and mortar location.

Don’t be fooled by imitations, there are 10 GB Shoe Stores in the southeast, but in cyberspace there is only one GB Shoes, and that GB Shoes is HouserShoes.com!

If you are in an area where there is a Houser Shoes or GB Shoes, please stop by! We would love to meet you. If not, you can expect the same quality and personal service online as you would in person. You can find a complete list of store locations on HouserShoes.com.