My toes are always the first to come and the last to go.

As the seasons change, and the weather warms in the spring, I can’t wait to get rid of my real shoes in exchange for sandals. Weeks before the warm weather actually arrives, I polish my toes in anticipation of the big event.

The opposite occurs in the fall. I wait until the very last minute, when the winds are chilly and frost-heavy leaves cover the ground. It is only then — when snow is imminent and Mother Nature snuffs out any inkling of summer — that I pull socks out of the drawer and put on shoes that will house my toes and keep them jailed for the long winter. I always do so with great remorse.

Toes aren’t meant to be kept inside, locked up. They get sweaty. They get cramped. Shoes that house toes cause all sorts of ugly things like corns, athlete’s foot, toe jam and blisters. Blisters hurt.

But, for most of us, jailing our toes during the winter months is inevitable. The temperature dips, our toes get cold and we are practical people. Cold toes can cause the shivers, cracked skin and even frostbite. Nobody likes frostbite, so we pack ‘em up and put ‘em in.

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And there they sit — quiet, cramped, and sweating — in the dark, waiting for spring.

There is nothing like the freedom of fresh-air shoes. I own more sandals than regular jail-shoes and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. They may not provide arch support or protection from the elements, but they are fun. They come in all sorts of impractical colors like pink, orange, and lime green. They flip and flop and sometimes have that little thingy that goes between your toes. What they lack in comfort and sensibility they make up for in style, style, style.

There is much to be said for the benefits and joys of sandal ownership. Quite simply, sandals provide options and opportunities not available to sock-clothed feet. Take toe rings, for example. They’re cute. They’re trendy, but just try to wear one under your socks. Ouch. Ankle bracelets are another chic item fashioned exclusively for the open-toed crowd.

And, of course, there’s the most important accessory of all: toenail polish. Polish shows off your toes to their best advantage. It makes a statement. A fresh coat of polish shines upward and gleams in the sun. Depending on the shade, it sets the mood, from classic, to hip, to cutting edge.

My toes are currently prepping for this year’s coming out party. It has been a long winter, and we are ready for some open-air fun. I’ve fished ankle bracelets and toe rings out of winter storage. My sandals wait eagerly in the closet for the go-ahead signal. As for me, I contemplate the bottles of nail polish sitting patiently on the shelf.

Which will it be? Pale pink? Magnificent magenta? Outrageous orange? Brazenly bronze? I reach in and select a shade of bright crimson. Always a classic way to make an entrance, it’s a good choice to start the season. Besides, it will go great with my new lime-green flip-flops.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.