Thursday, 18 March 2010

A long story about shoes

Unlike most women, I do not like shopping for shoes. I have size 3 feet. Most women's ranges only start at size 4. Most children's ranges end at size 2.

To further complicate things, I have problem feet. I have very high arches and my feet don't pronate normally. I'll let the experts from here explain:

"Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and leave an imprint that has a flare but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a wide band. A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel, then rolls inward (pronates) slightly to absorb shock... High-arched feet leave an imprint showing a very narrow band connecting the forefoot and heel. A curved, high-arched or over-supinator foot does not roll inward (pronate) enough, so it is not an effective shock absorber."

See below - the footprint on the left is normal. The footprint on the right is what mine looks like.

Because of this, I am supposed to wear ridiculously expensive custom-made orthotic inserts in my shoes at all times to give my feet the proper support and stop me putting strain on my knees. My orthotist tells me that they can't "fix" my feet. I'll have to wear the inserts forever.

But I don't. The inserts only fit into closed shoes. And wearing closed shoes in South Africa in summer is not practical. Also, because my feet are a weird shape - wide in front and narrow at the back - I battle to find closed shoes to fit me in the first place, nevermind ones that fit my ugly pieces of plastic in them.

The long and short of this is that my feet are often in spasm and I have developed an intense dislike of shoe shopping.

When I find a pair of shoes that fits and doesn't hurt me, I wear them until they fall apart. I have about three pairs of work shoes and I alternate between them during the week. If I'm going out I wear a pair of my "pretty" shoes that give less support, but I can only walk in these for a few hours before my feet are killing me, which is a great pity, because although I loathe shoe shopping, I can appreciate the beauty of a pair of gorgeous heels.

I don't own many pairs of shoes and when I lose a pair for whatever reason it means that they have to be replaced, which is generally a nightmare.

I have had three pairs give up the ghost recently. Two died of sheer exhaustion and the other pair demonstrated that it was not trustworthy when it dumped me down a flight of stairs and landed me on my ass due to lack of traction (note to self: don't buy shoes without some sort of grip on the soles again).

Thankfully, as pair three died (a beautiful black pair of kitten heels my mom picked up in Dubai), I had in my possession a voucher for Green Cross from my folks (still from Christmas) that I had been planning to spend on a pair of silver sandals for summer. I love Green Cross shoes because they support my feet better than most and don't leave them aching at the end of the day.

Well, farewell dreams of silver sparkly pretty shoes. I am now the proud owner of this pair of work shoes:

I think they're quite pretty and I am very chuffed. I know it's sad, but it feels like such a triumph to have found a pair of good shoes with so little trouble.

Now I only have two more pairs to go. How I wish they could be something like these:


Hardspear said...

My footprint looks exactly like yours, so I also have to take care when I buy shoes. Luckily I wear a nr 9 or 10, so I do not find it that hard. What I do find hard is the price of proper shoes.

Anonymous said...

Woah I never knew how much I just took my feet for granted. To be honest though as cute as the guess shoes are to wear nothing beats walking around in slops (or slippers). I am mostly in slops and slippers... or pumps.

Cam said...


Thats some footprint. Better that Tam than an Impala hoof :D

Anonymous said...

My mom's also a size 3 and battles, but she finds lots of shoes in europe, Italy makes small sizes. My one friend wears a size two shoe, lol imagine that shoe-shopping nightmare. I so envy girls who wear high heels, I need lots of support and wear flat shoes all the time.

momcat said...

Lucky for you too that Green Cross is making shoes now for all ages and not just shoes that look like 'granny' shoes.

Po said...

Wow I need to send my sister a copy of this post. She has the same kind of feet as you and has back and kneee problems as a result. But she won't go see anyone. And she doesn't wear inserts.

My family is so ridiculous that way, will never go see anyone for any problem ever. Arrrgh! Frustrating.

Almost as frustrating as your shoe shopping experiences!

Jeanette said...

Sounds like me going shoe shopping, except my problem is I have narrow feet, so everything looks like boats!

Helen said...

I have big feet so it's really hard to find good shoes - I wear an 8 and most places stop at 7. On the plus side I'm almost 6 feet tall so I don't have to worry about heels :)

The shoes look pretty, I hope you find some really nice ones that don't hurt your feet!

angel said...

I am exceptionally lucky in that I can pick up almost any size 5 shoe and it fits like a dream.
I do like the ones you got though!