Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Big shoes to fill...shoes to fill...

Not me, but might as well be.
OK, how many times have you switched on Oprah or Dr Phil in the last month and then switched them off again because it was one of those shows about weight loss/carbohydrate addicts/obesity? Assuming you didn't turn her off for other reasons. Or even turn her on at all. Turning Oprah on? Let's keep going...

Extensive research by me shows at least one in three Oprah shows* are dedicated to weight - gaining weight, juggling weight, losing weight down the back of the couch and finding it again three months later. The world is seemingly obssessed with weight problems! But this is not another sob story about why fashion magazines should be banned and supermodels burned at the stake. Ok, correction: this IS a sob story. But it's not about weight. It's about feet. My BIG feet and how much I hate them.

I am a tall girl, 5'11", and lovingly referred to as "in proportion" by my mother. This means that I am a) not as slim as I could be and b) in possession of rather long limbs and appendages. By appendages I mean hands and feet. Let's not get all Miriam here... My feet are size 11 Australian (42 European), which roughly translates to REALLY FREAKING BIG everywhere else. And frankly, I'm sick of looking second-rate in the footwear department.

Oprah's so obssessed with fat cells - what about foot sizes?? Have you ever seen Oprah shedding a tear for all the poor unfortunates who can't find their size at Betts and Betts? How am I supposed to remember my spirit when my shoes are so ill-fitting I can't even remember my own name? You see, gentle reader, no one is prepared to dedicate themselves to the cause of the plus-sized foot.

UNTIL NOW.

Girls (and I know you're out there), you are not alone. I know what it's like to act my shoe size and come off more mature for it. I understand the heartache of owning a pair of boots that may very well be a snug fit but that could probably double as a spare room with en suite if the occasion arose. I can appreciate the embarrassment of being able to snorkel rather well sans flippers. And yes, I admit it - I can comfortably wear my boyfriend's shoes. That is, at those times when I actually have a boyfriend. (Foot fetishists need not apply)

Anyway all this is good and well (except maybe the bit about the en suite), but what really gets my goat is that chicks like me with size 10+ feet are COMPLETELY UNRECOGNISED BY SHOE RETAILERS!

If you are a female and happen to have feet larger than size 10 you better get used to men's sneakers because unless you're prepared to shop dawn till dusk and fight tooth and nail to find something else that's pretty much all you're going to get in my city. And forgive me for being cynical but black nubuck cross trainers are not my idea of evening wear.

For those of you lucky enough to have feet somewhere in the 6-10 size range, this is a typical conversation between me and a shoe salesgirl:

ME: Hello. I'm looking for a nice, stylish shoe in a size 11 please.
SALESGIRL: Oooh I don't think we have anything like that. We only go up to size 10, and we only get about 2 of those in anyway. It's amazing how many people ask for larger sizes!
ME: So..do you just tell them all to sod off then?
SALESGIRL: Yes well we do try our hardest to cater for the freaks, that's why we have one size 11 in these big old fawn coloured sandals that not even your grandma would wear. They'll be in the back storeroom covered with cobwebs from two seasons ago. Would you like to try those?
ME impales SALESGIRL with a shoehorn and sticks a bottle of Waproo down her throat.


Get this - when I asked for a size 11 knee high boot at a shop in the city recently the only shoe the girl could offer me was a sandal. In winter. Now, call me a troublemaker but if you can only provide one whole section of the market with a summer shoe at the beginning of winter you're hardly on top of things in the world of footwear are you?

And you can forget about those 'specialist' shoe shops for 'hard to fit feet' unless you're only in the market for a nice pair of hush puppies or gold slippers.

I AM AT MY WITS' END, GENTLE READER!!

Suggestions for ginormous-lady-foot-shodding are welcome.

*statistics may be made up



4 comments :

  1. In regards to the comments made about "tall girls with big feet" by the journalist in Australia: I am also a journalist from Wisconsin, USA. I am 5'11" and wear a size 11 shoe.
    I know EXACTLY where you are coming from. Even though models are WORSHIPED in USA, heaven forbid that you ever find clothes that fit someone over 5'8". And cute shoes in an 11? Forget it! Either you are humilated by the salesperson, or you lie about your size so you can get the cute shoes, and then regret it later. Does anyone out there know the solution to this problem???
    -Amy

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  2. My name is Antoinette and I'm from New Orleans, LA. When I read this story it hit to close to home. I'm such a typical girl cute skirts, low cut tops, jeans that hug your hips just right and off the shoulder tops. But, oh Lord when it comes to finding the right pair of shoes its like trying to find Bin Laden. I wear a size 11 and even cute flip flops are out of the question. Then when I finally do find a size 11 (that actually look like something} I need a wide because they are to narrow. I wish they were a store that had cute shoes for big feet. Sometimes my friends complain about not finding the right shade of heels to go with their outfit, if they only knew what I have to go through to find a cute shoe period. If anyone knows of a store or website that sell cute shoes for big feet PLEASE EMAIL ME at antoinette86@msn.com

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  3. My name is Antoinette and I'm from New Orleans, LA. When I read this story it hit to close to home. I'm such a typical girl cute skirts, low cut tops, jeans that hug your hips just right and off the shoulder tops. But, oh Lord when it comes to finding the right pair of shoes its like trying to find Bin Laden. I wear a size 11 and even cute flip flops are out of the question. Then when I finally do find a size 11 (that actually look like something} I need a wide because they are to narrow. I wish they were a store that had cute shoes for big feet. Sometimes my friends complain about not finding the right shade of heels to go with their outfit, if they only knew what I have to go through to find a cute shoe period. If anyone knows of a store or website that sell cute shoes for big feet PLEASE EMAIL ME at antoinette86@msn.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. What about those of us with wide feet? HUH?! Bah humbug.

    ReplyDelete