Weighty Matters

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A Really Big Shew (Shoe)

on March 25, 2014

When people imitated the late, great Ed Sullivan, they always emphasized the way that he said “Show” as if he pronounced it “Shew”, as in shoe.

Me, I know about really big shoes. I needz them. I wear a 10 EE. I think I have since I was quite young. Let me tell you, that was pure torture when I was younger because nobody made cute wide-width shoes for kids or teens back then. Other than sneakers or flip flops or absolute basics, shoe styles were hideous — or at least designed for much, much, much older people with foot problems. I so hated back-to-school shoe shopping in late summer. Not only were my feet long, but I spent most of the summer months running around barefoot, going to the beach, etc. I’m sure that this contributed to the growing width of my feet.

This is probably why I never developed that feminine fixation on great, sexy, high design shoes. I vaguely remember circa 1980 owning a cute pair of Candy slides in a light plum suede, but that’s it for me in the cute shoe department

Thankfully, designers caught on over the years and began to create more stylish footwear for the wide-width market, but that didn’t make them easy to find in small town, NJ. In the 80s, I wrote radio copy for a wide-width shoe specialty store. The owner was an obnoxious man and I hated shopping there when he was in the store. His wife was much nicer. I could occasionally find shoes that didn’t make me feel humiliated when I wore them there at the rare other establishment, thank goodness, but it’s always been an uncomfortable area for me.

The Internet and some catalog really opened up the opportunities, but that’s really when my weight interfered. In addition to my feet flattening over the years from my obesity, I have a higher instep. Plus, let’s face it, one can gain weight in one’s feet which only adds to the size challenge. (It’s also possible to wear a 10 EE and not be fat.) So, by the time that I could more easily find stylish shoes, I wasn’t physically comfortable wearing most of them. If something didn’t cut across the top, then the angle of heels hurt my knees or my feet looked like they were hanging over the sides.

It always killed me that drag queens always managed to find and wear hot shoes — even if they had a football player-type body packed inside their outfits. Oprah wears a size 10 and she has great shoes.

*indulging in a temporary, suffering, whine-sigh*

Moving to Florida and working for a marine mammal facility was a boon. Flip flops are normal. Crocs rubber flip flops are particularly popular with their range of colors and styles. Yes, yes, you fashionistas, I can hear you decrying Crocs as style and design disasters. A friend who is a fashion and style maven recently declared in her newspaper column that friends shouldn’t let friends wear them. She calls it Croc-blocking. We serve together on a Board. The day of the last meeting I warned her in the afternoon not to look at my feet later on, lest she be horrified. My sister-in-law loathes Crocs, too, but I think her antipathy might focus more on the closed toe-clogs with the holes in them.

I listen not to the naysayers. I believe I currently have six pairs of Crocs flip flops in white, bright blue, black with pink footbeds, charcoal gray, navy, black.

However, even I know that there are many occasions where these flip flops are not appropriate foot attire. I own some nicer leather sandals. I also have nice black leather slingbacks with closed toes, some pumps, and a cute pair of black peau de soie evening sandals with bling on them and kitten heels. Very comfortable.

Remember when I bought the dresses last week? I could wear the nice sandals with either one of them, but when I was at checkout, the woman next to me looked at the fun, flirty, gray-pink-black dress and proclaimed that I needed pink shoes.

The thought kindled a new, alien feeling of shoe lust. I knew from a year ago that I’d lost weight in my feet. Maybe, just maybe, I would now be able to find truly stylish shoes that I could also comfortably wear. I might even be able to try, dare I hope, something more than the shortest heel. Was it possible? I had to look.

I hit my favorite go-to online store that very night — Zappos.com. Not only does Zappos have a gazillion shoe styles in a huge range of sizes but they also offer free shipping both ways! I first searched for pink shoes in my size. I found a couple, but didn’t like any of them enough to add to my shopping cart. I plan to wear that flirty dress one night in New Orleans when we’re doing a walking party evening. I needed cute, stylish and also comfortable. Not wanting to fall back on black, I began searching out silver and gray. Before long, I found some pewter, peep toe slingbacks in sort of a mock-woven leather pattern with a wedge heel. Click! I added them to my Shopping Cart.

Next up, I searched through navy dress shoes and soon found an elegant pair in either peau de soie or brushed satin — also peep toe slingbacks, but with three lovely bedazzle jewels on the top of each. Click! I bought those as well.

The shoes arrived today. I couldn’t wait to try them on. The pewter shoes slid on like butter. I walked around on the carpet in them for awhile and imagined being on my feet for an hour or more, strolling Bourbon Street. They’re perfect! I was more concerned about the navy, although my heart sort of smiled when I took them out of the box because they’re elegant and pretty. The heel on this pair is definitely higher than I’ve worn in many, many years. Not stiletto, skyscraper high, but an extra inch of height is an adjustment for me.

My left foot is a little bigger than my right, so I always try that shoe on first. The leather that crosses over the top of my foot was definitely a little tighter than on my right foot. I walked around in the pair for a while longer to see if it would start to hurt. It didn’t. I know that our feet swell during the day, but I didn’t try these on until after 5 p.m. I believe I’m going to be okay!

Trust me, I would not risk wearing them the first time out on a walking tour. These are heels that I still need to get used to, after all. The event where they’ll make their debut on my feet is a cocktail hour/dinner event which means I’ll have ample opportunity to sit if I need to. I predict that need won’t happen often. I know I’ll want to mix and mingle with my friends and colleagues. After all, not only will it give me a chance to socialize, but I’ll also get to show off my awesome new shoes!

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