If the shoe fits, wear it — but don’t get too comfortable.
“Changing your shoe will help you live more truly.” That’s the advice of life coach Kathy Kelada. The former personal shopper for L.A.’s A-list has been dispensing motivational therapy and guidance to her clients for the past 16 years through shoes — using footwear, both literally and metaphorically, to push for personal development.
In her new coffee table book, called “Be the Shoe” (available on betheshoes.com), she channels her years of experience by breaking down 14 personality types, each matched to a different shoe silhouette, and she reveals how someone can make significant life changes by changing shoes. Think of it as the zodiac of footwear.
“If you have been living in a running shoe because that is what your life has required of you — taking care of others, running from thing to thing — it is your shoe in life, but may not be who you want to be,” Kelada explained. “Try on a wedge or flip-flop and see what life is like in that shoe.”
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The book reflects much of how she runs her practice, first by helping the reader identify with a shoe type, and then explaining how to transition to another style. It’s an introspective breakthrough — a step outside of one’s comfort zone and an opportunity to try on an entirely new look (and outlook).
“I’ve been using it for years because it’s a language that women easily understand, and a metaphor that really seems to work, especially to put a personality with each shoe style,” Kelada said. “It’s not about what shoe you are, it’s about owning what shoe you are. For instance, if you’re a pump — what shoe do you really want to be? How can you transition?”
The profiles of each shoe type identifies a reader’s personality based on the footwear’s utility; it has little to do with trends or the way the shoe itself looks.
“I’ll have people say, ‘I hope I’m not a clog,’ but I say, ‘The clog is very kind, comforting and concerned about others — we all need a clog.’ We don’t need to be every shoe, but we need to have every shoe in our lives,” explained Kelada. “I was talking to a group of young women, and I had someone say to me, ‘I’ve always wanted to be a strappy sandal and I’m almost there.’ For younger women, a shoe can show them who it is they want to become, and [the book] gives you tips on how to be that woman.”
The book launch was held, fittingly, at a shoe store: the Jimmy Choo boutique in Beverly Hills. Kelada had women try on different styles from the label, though she emphasizes that her lifestyle-therapy technique is not about any particular brand.
“[Jimmy Choo has] all 14 shoes and even what could be considered a work boot,” Kelada said. “It was fun to say, ‘Here they are — try them on.’ It’s important to try them on and find out who you are. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re experimenting and having fun.”
Kelada outlined the top three shoe-personality types that can help empower someone in the workplace.
The pump: “The power shoe is the leader who takes the initiative in the workplace. She is the one who gets the team rolling.”
The flat: “Flats are viable and important in the workplace. They reflect the ‘detail’ people who get the job done. They are the doers.”
The strappy sandal: “This is the big-picture and big-idea person. They see the potential and how good they could be.”
When it comes to relationships, Kelada added that all of the shoes have strengths. “The clog is loving and nurturing,” she said. “The loafer is detail-driven, and the running shoe is goal-oriented. But all of them are relatable.”
For more information, visit betheshoes.com.