New shoes, red and pink and blue shoes

Age shouldn’t affect you. It’s just like the size of your shoes – they don’t determine how you live your life! You’re either marvellous or you’re boring, regardless of your age.  Steven Morrissey, English singer and lyricist. 1959

When I read today’s post from Susan at Coming East I immediately was transported back in time to those far distant days when getting new summer sandals was a treat.


We had sandals rather than sneakers.  But we also had plimsolls.  These were canvas topped shoes on rubber soles and only came in white.  At our school, where the school colours were brown and yellow (really!) the plimsolls had to be dyed brown for PE.   I don’t remember how this feat was achieved, but I do know that Mother had to perform this miracle for all three of her daughters on a regular basis.

White plimsollIn addition to the brown plimsolls, we were required to have a white pair for tennis.  So six pairs of plimsolls were bought in our house on a fairly regular basis.

Plimsolls (or plimsoles) apparently were developed as beachwear in the 1830s by the Liverpool Rubber Company later to be known as Dunlop Rubber.

This then brought me to my party piece.  I have always had a penchant for performing (or showing off as my sisters used to say) and reciting poetry was my chosen form of showing off.  I also had the ability to remember long verses of poetry and many and often were our relatives bored (aka entranced and delighted) with my recitations.

So here now is my favourite, Choosing Shoes by Frida Wolfe :

Pink shoes

“New shoes, new shoes,
Red and pink and blue shoes.
Tell me, what would you choose,
If they’d let us buy?

ShoesBuckle shoes, bow shoes,
Pretty pointy-toe shoes,
Strappy, cappy low shoes;
Let’s have some to try.

Bright shoes, white shoes,
Dandy-dance-by-night shoes,
Perhaps-a-little-tight shoes,
Like some? So would I.

Processed by: Helicon Filter;

BUT Flat shoes, fat shoes,
Stump-along-like-that shoes,
Wipe-them-on-the-mat shoes,
That’s the sort they’ll buy.”

Of course, the more I performed the more I added movement and voice changes/modulation to this poem.  And I still can be called upon to recite it in the company of good friends, when we have all had a couple of drinks.

And “Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world” Bette Midler

Red Shoes

“Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world” Bette Midler


29 responses to “New shoes, red and pink and blue shoes

  1. I never heard of pinsholes before. We were allowed to get flip-flops with our Keds for the summer. They usually gave me blisters between my toes for the first week. For school physical ed class we needed Navy Keds. But my mother would spring for white Keds for summer when I was in high school.


    • I had never even seen flip flops, or jandals as they are called here, before coming to New Zealand and I have never been able to wear them although both my kids can. I


  2. I love plimsolls and I grew up enjoying wearing them… All white… I didn’t know they came in quite the color range as white was the color we grew up with…


  3. I was a shoe salesman for a time. You may like my post 8/3/10. Please delete my comment here after you check it out because I am not trying to promote myself on your blog – just sending a chuckle your way.


  4. How neat that my post triggered a post from you! And thanks so much for mentioning me and giving my post a link!


  5. I’ve never heard of plimsoles, either. I like the quote, “you’re either marvelous or boring.” Guess I’d better work on that! lol


  6. Hmmm…Plimsoles. I, like the others, have never heard the term. I love your shoe poem! It reminds me of a Dr. Seuss poem! 🙂


  7. The poem can be recited at the drop of a hat. Also many of the Dr Seuss rhymes can be recited from memory. :0


  8. Thanks Car – and you may invade my blog with your humour any time.


  9. Love the shoe poem. We had black slip on pllmsoles and white tennis shoes. I always remember the excitement of going out to buy my summer sandals – mum always wanted me to have brown, I always wanted red and I quite often won! I remember they had a strange yellow waffly plastic sole that made a really loud noise when you stamped your foot.
    And I’m still a shoe-aholic!


  10. I love this post, Judith!
    I was never able to get into a pair of plimsoles as a kid, but did you ever wear beach shoes? They were (probably still are) a sort of canvas with rubber soles to wear on the beach and in the water… only things was that when wet they were quite uncomfortable. I lost at least one half of a pair of them every time I went on holiday as there were small pockets of quicksand here and there when the tide was out and they got sucked into them!

    I remember the shoes you call sandals…. we called them summer shoes, and I remember wearing those – various colours, mostly various browns but sometimes cherry red – at school as ‘indoor’ shoes!

    I envy your ability to remember in such detail. I used to be able to but can’t anymore.


  11. Oh Val – I forgot those canvas beach shoes. Children today wouldn’t be seen dead in them

    The sandals were unchanged and my children when they were little, wore them too. They were called Start-Rite and we bought them in Dolcis or Lilley and Skinner.

    Look after yourself Val. 🙂


  12. This poem was recited by my husband at a junior school recital and won a gold certificate, he was so pleased with himself, sadly the certificate was lost after 50years, when our house was burnt down in January 2011. He still has the memories though! Thanks for refreshing his mind with the words.


    • Sorry about your house fire, Hope nobody was hurt. And thanks for the comment. As I said, this has been my party piece for many years. I have never met anybody else who had even heard the poem so thanks for the connection.


      • Hi Judith, I recited the first few lines of New Shoes, when my daughter was looking to buy a Nike pair of shoes. I saw so many bright neo colours – & then said it reminded me of a verse. The sales girl was quite amused too.


      • Thanks Lorraine. As I said it has been my party piece for many years. I love your story. 🙂


  13. Check this out. Using a pretty generic search phrase, I came up with 47 sites getting the title of “New shoes, red and pink and blue shoes I choose how I will spend the rest of my life”. The reason why I am here’s simply because had been right at the top of this list. It is a relatively normal search phrase so i suppose that’s pretty good, especially if you will be the owner of There are a few sites displayed, such as, that do not actually seem to be linked to that search term. I understand that isn’t highly interesting but I simply reckoned I might reveal it.


  14. This is years after yo u posted this. I have always been able to recite that poem since I was Little girl. I am from the time when all parents bought for little girls to go to school were oxford, lace up brown or black oxfords. How I yearned for some more attractive shoes.then one day I read this poem in a book. this was the days before tv and I would enjoy closing my bedroom door and reading poetry to myself aloud. This poem expressed all my many wants. We children of the depression did not have the many luxuries that children today have. Now 80 some years later I may be back to black oxfords but I still can recite that poem and remember how deliciously exotic the words were to the young me.


  15. Pingback: Avoiding Foot Problems: Shoes, Sneakers and Boots - Becoming Elli

  16. Brown and yellow – a favourite combo of Catholic girls schools…am I right, or am I right?


Let's talk

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.