I am large. My feet are large. I’ve come to terms with it.
The footwear world has not.
It’s neat how modern science can develop a vaccine in less than a year to tame and aim to snuff out a worldwide pandemic, but women cobblers can’t figure out how to add an inch or two to a shoe. And if they did crack beyond that age-old quandary, they’ll slap on an extra $130 for accommodating “odd sizes.”
I’ll give you an odd size.
It’s so hard for me to find a damn pair of women’s size 12 shoes that aren’t stripper heels, old lady compression shoes, patent leather knee-high go-go boots, bistro clogs or Velcro nurse shoes.
Sure, shoemakers have made tiny leaps — like one size 12 leap — in the past 20 years. I’ve been lucky to collect a closet full of cute shoes that I’ve accrued, mainly when I was working as Al Bundy at Nordstrom decades back and I could ransack the five new pairs of 12s that rolled off the truck.
But growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s with monster feet was a bitch.
I played basketball back then and I always had to order men’s shoes while the rest of the team were twinsies, rockin’ their women’s white Nike hightops that never went past size 10.
I didn’t give a tiny shit that I had to wear men’s shoes — my basketball shoes were always way cooler. (Obviously. Sports, hating women since 776 BCE.) Pre-game, I’d roll out of the locker room behind everyone (shortest to tallest), blasting out in some sweet ass black-and-red Air Jordans like a three-peating Horace Grant on fire. I’d crack some skulls, horde some baskets and box out some broads on the court, then I’d limp home to ice my shins and dress my wounds.
That’s when I started to give a tiny shit that I had to wear men’s shoes. They don’t fit women’s feet properly. The arch would start at the ball of my foot and painfully slice into my flat feet. During the season I’d have a second skin of Band-Aids lining my arches. And I got shin splints. Real bad. It was horrible. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to piercing pain, clutching my shins and sobbing as my mom would rush me aspirin.
I was awarded a couple scholarships to play basketball in college, but I didn’t take them. Mainly because I was more interested in drunken orgies and chain-smoking coeds — but the battering my body took from poorly fitted shoes was definitely a top reason.
Since sophomore year in high school in the ‘90s, Docs and Birkenstocks have claimed their stake in my closets. Those assholes over at Steve Madden and all the other chunky shoe companies tapped out at size 10.
There are some sites that have cute shoes for big feet, but they come at a price. I still search, though, hoping that one day I can buy a cute pair of shoes and pay the same price you size 8 pals pay. What’s an extra inch or two? Just the tip, obviously, but also, some love for us tall broads who don’t want to wear drag queen heels or old lady pumps with compression socks.
Google, find cute heels size 12.
“The Drag Queen Closet.”
Goddammit, Google, find a pair of simple ballet flats, size 12.
“Fetish Stripper Mens High Heels size 12-13.”
Google. Find funky low-heeled shoes, women’s, size 12.
“Sky high heels and platform shoes in sizes 12 and up.”
Goooooooogle. Please find me any women’s shoes in size 12.
“Crossdresser heels for big feet.”
Do Birks go with formalwear? They do now.