6 Celebs and Fashion Editors on the One Pair of Shoes They Couldn't Live Without

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Courtesy of Our Shoes, Our Selves

For some, shoes are an accessory: a stylish embellishment to elevate the rest of your look. For others, they're more of a tool: a practical necessity to allow you to travel from point A to point B. The best shoes are a little bit of both.

Regardless of style or comfort, almost all of us have at least one pair of shoes that holds emotional meaning much greater than any other pair. Because our shoes quite literally carry us throughout life, sometimes we find ourselves with a pair that holds a special place in our journey—a pair that we can't stand to part with no matter how broken or out of style it might be.

These are exactly the stories told in the brand-new book Our Shoes, Our Selves by model, actress, and activist Bridget Moynahan (aka Natasha on Sex and the City). This chic and inspiring coffee table book compiles photos and essays from 40 famous women (including Katie Couric, Cecile Richards, Rupi Kaur, Padma Lakshmi, and more) about the one pair of shoes in their closet that means the most to them.

Preview some of the stories in the book below, as well as a few shared by us Who What Wear editors. Then feel free to DM us the story of your most meaningful pair of shoes on IG @whowhatwear.

Rupi Kaur's Punjabi Juttia

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Melanie Dunea

“I’m not sure when I first put them on. I wouldn’t really know, either. They originally came from my mother. My father was far gone in a search for a land to call his own, because the land he’d grown up in now no longer had a need for him. So it was up to my mother, in the first few years of her marriage, to conjure ways for her daughter to look beautiful.

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Melanie Dunea

“They are Punjabi Juttia—boldly colored leather-crafted shoes that easily become the highlight of any festive function. Since the old days, they’ve become a staple of my outfits, in rural Punjab, basement bedrooms, college dorms, and eventually houses. I wear them on tour, at parties and weddings, on casual strolls at home, or on my travels. I’ve even begun to see them refashioned and reshaped for Western wear by those brands that always take the most culturally relevant elements of a people and re-create them for Western wallets.”

Rupi Kaur, poet and artist

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Chloe Bailey's Nikes and Halle Bailey's Rainbow Heels

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Melanie Dunea

“We first got to know Nike at a women’s event back in Los Angeles when I was sixteen and Halle was fourteen. We had just signed with Beyoncé, but we hadn’t announced it to the world.

“Then Nike asked us to do a half marathon. We trained for about three months, and I remember being scared out of my mind. … It’s the only half marathon I’ve done, but every time I go running, I use this shoe. I have so many other Nikes, but I always end up with these because they remind me of that time of my life.

I got to customize my Nike Flyknit Lunars myself—I picked all the colors on the app, and they even have '1998' on them, for my birth year. … I feel that life is more fun when you’re uncomfortable and when you feel nervous about something. That’s when you know you’re doing it right, because if you always feel safe, you don’t really grow.”

Chloe Bailey, R&B artist

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Melanie Dunea

“The first video we made was 'Drop.' I was fifteen and Chloe was seventeen. We had spent the previous few years in the process of finding ourselves and experimenting with sounds and discovering what we wanted to sound like. … We love eclectic, beautiful, dreamy visuals, and our music goes very well with those angelic kinds of looks.

This amazing stylist named Armena picked out these cool shoes for me. They’re multicolored with a sandal heel. They were so comfortable and stylish. I saw them and they took my breath away. I couldn’t believe I got to wear them.  I have these shoes with me everywhere I go. Whenever I get dressed up to go to a nice event or if I want to feel cute and be comfortable at the same time, I’m always wearing them.”

Halle Bailey, R&B artist

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Bridget Moynahan's Badass Moto Boots

PHOTO:

Melanie Dunea

“I was a single mom living in L.A. The year before, I had gone through a very public breakup with my boyfriend of three years, who happened to be a well-known professional athlete. His new girlfriend was a very successful model. As a result, between the three of us, the gossip mags were having a field day.

“From the moment I announced I was pregnant to well after my son was born, the paparazzi relentlessly scrutinized me, documenting every pound gained, every trip to the doctor. … Having a baby should have been the most joyous time of my life, but instead I felt assaulted. It’s unnerving to be followed and stalked like that, especially during such an emotionally vulnerable time. … I became reclusive for a bit, and I barely left my house. I became wildly private. I shared little and only with a select few.

It was late summer/early fall, which tends to be the best time to shop for a New England girl living in L.A. I was on a mission for the little man and had no intention of buying something for myself. I was off to the Grove to pick something up at the Baby Gap. I must have been naive to think that I could actually get there without a tail. Maybe I did, and I was just unfortunate to run into one of the many paparazzi that hang out at the mall to capture celebrities minding their own business. Who knows, but I saw him and I tried to lose myself in the crowd. I went down one of the mall alleyways and found myself in a Barneys Co-op. I hid in there to kill some time before I abandoned my Baby Gap mission and could get back to my car. Being followed made me want to go back to the safety of my home immediately!”

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Melanie Dunea

“I wandered around the small shoe department, and that’s when I saw them. I was staring at a pair of black leather Miu Miu motorcycle boots. They came to the knee and had leather and silver hardware wrapped around the ankles. They were strong. They were solid. They were badass and I needed them. I decided that these boots would give me back some of the confidence and strength that I had lost—lost from a very public breakup; lost from having a baby on my own; lost from two surgeries to correct hernias from having my baby; lost from not losing baby weight because the two surgeries kept me from recovering; lost from feeling incessantly violated by the paparazzi. I bought those boots and walked out of there feeling slightly closer to getting back to myself.”

 — Bridget Moynahan, model and actor

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Erin Fitzpatrick's First Designer Heels

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@fitzpatrickerin

"I love these Aquazzura heels because they were my first adult designer purchase (a Coach mini bag I got in high school doesn't count!). I got them on major sale, but they were still more than I usually spend. To this day, I own very few items I've spent more than $300 on. They're not everyday shoes per se, but I actually think they're super practical because the busy embroidered print doesn't show dirt or scuffs."

— Erin Fitzpatrick, fashion editor

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Allyson Payer's "Non-Wedding" Wedding Shoes

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Allyson Payer

"I know this isn't the most original answer, but the shoes I hold most dearly are definitely the ones I got married in last year. They're gold glitter Manolo Blahnik slingbacks that I partly decided upon because I knew I could wear them again. (They don't really scream wedding shoes.) In spite of that, it's been over a year, and I haven't worn them again. I'm hoping I get over wanting to keep them pristine because I've worn countless outfits since then that they'd complement perfectly. I honestly haven't even gotten the box down and almost worn them. They just sit on my closet shelf when I could be wearing them regularly and thinking happy thoughts every time I look at them. Actually, I just convinced myself to start wearing them. (Thanks, Amanda!) At the very least, I will get the box down from the shelf so that they taunt me for awhile."

— Allyson Payer, fashion editor

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Amanda Montell's Vintage Docs

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Amanda Montell

"I bought these vintage navy-blue Doc Martens on a trip to Paris when I was 20. I was there for a program through NYU writing poetry all summer. Probably the most romantic summer of my life. I picked these up in a secondhand store on my first week there and wore them to the bone until they were quite literally falling apart. I remember trying to communicate 'shoe glue' to an employee at a French hardware store one day when the sole completely fell apart on a walk through Père Lachaise Cemetery. Though these shoes remain utterly dilapidated and unwearable (a shame since Docs are back), I still have them buried in my closet, unable to part with them. 

Vintage docs from Paris are unbelievably cool to have, but these shoes mean more to me than that: They represent the first summer of my life when I felt like a confident, independent adult. I was away from my family for the longest time ever in my life until that point, in this incredibly beautiful place, with all these interesting people, studying what I wanted and dressing how I wanted. These shoes were a glimmer of what the rest of my 20s would be—sometimes a total mess and falling apart but so much cooler and weirder and more exciting than adolescence was for me.”

— Amanda Montell, features and beauty editor

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Next up: 9 Reasons This 2000s Shoe Trend Is Back From the Dead



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