What Is the Shoe?

Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s internet friends has asked the Manolo the most important philosophical question.

Dear Manolo,

After reading a very interesting article about the average number of pairs of shoes owned by the shoe obsessive Australian women , my husband and I have had much debate about what defines “the shoe”… he insists that the flip flop and slipper should be defined as a shoe as they cover the feet. Naturally, I disagree. Can you help moderate this discussion? It does give me a great deal of solace to know that I am not the complete shoe tragic and that I form part of a very important bell curve!

Cat – lover of the Marc Jacobs.

To some of the extent, this arguement between the Cat and her husband, it is similar in tone to the great arguments of the medivel ages, during which the Scholastics would debate endlessly about the theological arcana and minutiae.

However, despite the seeming pettiness of this question it is still worthy of consideration by the Manolo.

Sadly for the Cat, her husband is mostly correct: the slipper is the type of the shoe, as is the flip-flop.

However, after having said that, the Manolo would not include items such as the houseshoe and the cheap flip-flop in any accounting of his or anyone else’s shoe collection.

It would be as if the dedicated philatelist counted the roll of recent stamps in his desk drawer when tallying the breadth of his collection. Yes, they are stamps, and they are in his possession, but they are inconsequential and not worthy of mention.

Likewise, the slippers and the plastic flip-flops are not worthy of counting, as they are semi-desposible items intended for current use. (The Manolo would make the exception for the opulent slippers, such as the special monogrammed velvet houseshoes. )

Now that he has settled this question, the Manolo will soon address some of the thornier Thomistic shoe questions.